MANCHESTER, N.H. -- With Republican turnout viewed as the key to stop massive Democratic gains here, First Lady Laura Bush headlined a rally aimed at recruiting GOP volunteers.
In what might have been a scary foreshadowing of the evening before halloween, the state party was unable to convene 500 volunteers that the White House wanted for the trip and scaled back to a more reasonable 300.
In the end, the party had to drop a requirement that volunteers had to have worked beforehand to receive tickets to the rally.
The final count of 231 hardly filled an already modest room.
Mrs. Bush's themes were similar to those of her husband's in his recent travels in Georgia and Texas: that Republicans are for winning in Iraq and cutting taxes.
The decision to have Laura Bush campaign in the Granite State instead of her husband makes some sense here where the president's approval rating is below 40 percent.
The trip was largely seen as an attempt to boost incumbent Republican Congressman Charlie Bass who has seen his lead over Democrat Paul Hodes dominish in recent weeks.