Governor Granholm Leads Walkers Across Mackinac Bridge

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Gov. Jennifer Granholm crossed the Mackinac Bridge to the cheers of supporters Monday and promised to wage a reelection campaign that would expose the "vast differences" between her and Republican Dick DeVos.

"People don't know who he is," Granholm said of her challenger after leading the 49th annual bridge walk on a mild, overcast Labor Day morning. "He's been on the airwaves with beautiful commercials, but they haven't even indicated that he's a Republican, much less that he's even more conservative than George Bush."

With Republicans already controlling the Legislature, the Supreme Court and the offices of attorney general and secretary of state, electing a right-wing Republican as governor would completely flip the character of this state," Granholm said in an interview, her face flushed after the five-mile trek. "I don't think the people of Michigan want to do that. This is a balanced state."

As she made the crossing, a plane circled overhead trailing a "Republicans for Granholm" banner.

DeVos was campaigning in southeastern Michigan. His spokesman, John Truscott, said the GOP nominee stayed away from the bridge walk because "it is a great Michigan tradition. It is not appropriate to make that political."

Granholm's depiction of DeVos as too conservative is an effort to shift attention from Michigan's economic woes, Truscott added.

"The bottom line is, she just isn't getting the job done," he said.

Granholm, who previously has run across the bridge quickly enough to set the record for governors, took things a bit slower this time. She accompanied a group of participants in the state youth mentors program who jogged part way but also walked.

Also among the thousands trekking across the span linking Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas was a group of peace activists who wore black T-shirts calling for an end to the war in Iraq. A separate group, including members wearing orange jumpsuits and black hoods, held placards demanding the ouster of President Bush.