Warner Courts the World's Elites
What does a recently unemployed politician with an eye on the 2008 presidential race do with his free time? Head to Switzerland, of course.
Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) is slated to attend the World Economic Forum at Davos from Jan. 26-29 and sit on panel (topic not yet specified) at the event. He will be joined on the panel by two other 2008 hopefuls -- Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden (D). (Davos, Fix readers will recall, is where '08 hopeful/Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist had a strange encounter with actress Sharon Stone.)
The trip to Davos is a nice start at bolstering Warner's foreign policy credentials -- his most obvious weak spot in the 2008 Democratic field. Warner will need to convince primary voters and (he hopes) general election voters that just four years of political experience equipped him to take over a nation still likely to be heavily committed to Iraq and in the midst of the overall war on terror.
"If you are going to run for president, there is a threshold of competence you have to reach on foreign policy," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategists and the former deputy campaign manager for John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid. "You have to talk about it and sound like you know what you are talking about."
After returning from Switzerland, Warner's February schedule is packed with a stop in a key early primary state and several campaign fundraising meccas.
He'll be in New York City on Jan. 31-Feb.1 and then head to Raleigh, N.C., on Feb. 7 where he'll attend an innovation forum at the invitation of former Gov. Jim Hunt (D).
Warner will headline the New Hampshire Democratic Party's 100 Club dinner on Feb. 10 and will go from there to the west coast -- Los Angeles from Feb. 13-15 for a education speech and San Diego from Feb. 16-17 to attend a health care conference. He'll be in Texas on Feb. 23-24 and close out the month in Boston (Feb. 28-Mar.1).
Each stop -- with the exception of New Hampshire -- has a fundraising component for his Forward Together PAC. Warner raised nearly $3 million at an event late last year for the PAC and could well have the largest grossing leadership PAC of the 2008 Democratic hopefuls when 2005 year-end reports are filed with the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 31.
Warner's term as governor officially expires Saturday when Gov.-elect Tim Kaine (D) takes the oath of office. Warner gave his final state of the commonwealth address last night, losing the votes of hundreds of Georgetown University men's basketball fans in the process by preempting the broadcast of the Hoyas' game against No. 16 West Virginia (the Mountaineers won...).
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