The Colombia effort is being keyed by White House strategist in chief Barry Jackson and deputy chief of staff for policy Joel Kaplan, according to White House officials. They and other senior Bush advisers including U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and top officials from a variety of agencies continue to meet regularly to mull strategy.
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, whom Bush views as the hero of Colombian democracy, will be in town later this month to press Congress for the deal, according to a senior administration official.
A kind of kickoff for the final lobbying blitz will be staged this morning when dozens of lobbyists and Colombian officials gather for a rally on Capitol Hill, to be followed by a day of door knocking and collar grabbing.
The rally will feature Colombias trade and industry minister and its ambassador to the United States, as well as the ambassadors from South Korea and Panama.
Also scheduled to attend are Schwab, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and at least three Democrats Reps. Jim Moran (Va.), Henry Cuellar (Texas) and Melissa Bean (Ill.).