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Pres Bush In Demand To Raise Money

red states rule

Senior Member
May 30, 2006
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It seems Pres Bush can still raise money for Republicans

Bush in demand to fill war chests
By Joseph Curl

President Bush may be unpopular inside the Beltway, but to Republicans nationwide, he remains the fundraiser extraordinaire, and he is expected to pull in more than $200 million for Republican candidates by Election Day 2008.
Although his approval rating hovers in the 30s, between 70 percent and 80 percent of Republicans support his policies, including the "surge" of troops to secure Baghdad. Even though the next elections are 20 months away, the growing partisanship and polarization makes the president an even bigger draw for campaign cash.
"The higher level of partisanship, particularly on foreign affairs, has helped inspire and energize Republicans in terms of being more supportive of Bush," Republican fundraiser Wayne Berman said. "It has strengthened his appeal among partisan Republicans."
Mr. Bush "remains interested in helping the party, interested in helping candidates," said Sara Taylor, White House political director. "I anticipate that he would be on par or ahead of where he was in the last off-year. He very likely will be ahead of it."
Frank J. Donatelli, a White House political director under President Reagan, said Mr. Bush "still has intensity among his supporters."
"As long as he maintains the allegiance of three-quarters of the Republicans in the country, even though his overall approval rating is low, he can still be effective," he said. "His general pitch will be for supporters to continue to support a lot of the policies that he's championed."
Although the president has said he will stay out of the endorsement business and his vice president will not seek office, Mr. Bush has the ability to draw millions of dollars for candidates nationwide and phones in the presidential scheduling office are busy.
"There's absolutely an appetite around the country," said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.
The president has gotten an early start. He was the main draw last month at the Republican Governors Association gathering in Washington, which raked in $10.4 million -- a record amount and $2 million more than last year. Also last month, Mr. Bush helped Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) pull in $2.1 million. At a Washington event for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), he helped draw $6.1 million.
This month, he headed into unusual territory: the ritzy west Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood, which is in the home district of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, a vehement Bush opponent who is initiating numerous investigations into the administration. At a private fundraiser at the mansion of longtime friend Brad Freeman, Mr. Bush collected $2.1 million for Republicans nationwide.
The heated rhetoric could translate into big money for congressional incumbents and challengers, especially with Mr. Bush leading the way.
"He'll be more important to the party fundraising and to individual House and Senate candidates as well as gubernatorial candidates this year and next year than he was in the past because he is the living symbol of the partisan divide that has gotten Republicans so fired up," Mr. Berman said.

Despite unhappiness among some conservatives, Mr. Bush has always fired up the base. In 2001 and 2002, the president raked in $192 million for Republican candidates, according to the RNC. In the two-year run up to the 2006 midterm elections, Mr. Bush pulled in $194 million.
Republicans may also benefit from having lost both chambers of Congress in November because true-blue party members might be spurred to dig deeper into their wallets.
But so far, Republicans face an uphill battle. The NRSC had raised just $3.3 million by the end of February; the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has hauled in $4.9 million. The situation for the Republican House committee is a bit better: The NRCC had collected $9.4 million, compared with $7 million for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Nationally, the RNC is well ahead of the Democratic National Committee -- $17.7 million compared with $10.3 million, as of the end of February.
While Mr. Berman said the president is "the single most powerful attraction for fundraising events in the Republican Party," he still takes a back seat to another prominent Republican.
"The only person that anybody would rather have helping them raise money for their campaign other than President Bush or Vice President Cheney is Laura Bush," he said with a laugh.


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