Bush Still a Draw
On Fundraising Circuit
President Bush may be among the least popular presidents in history right now, but that hasn't stopped some of the most endangered GOP incumbents from accepting his fundraising magic. Late yesterday, Bush dropped by the tony Seattle suburb of Bellevue to raise some $500,000 for the re-election campaign of Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and the Washington Republican Party.
Reichert beat Democrat Darcy Burner by less than 8,000 votes last November, and Burner is aiming for him again, making little secret of her plan to tie him to the war-time president. But the former sheriff, now in his second term, seemed happy to have Bush at his side yesterday, hailing the president effusively to a crowd of some 300 GOP stalwarts. Joining him were Seattle Seahawk players Matt Hasselbeck and Mack Strong, who presented Bush a Seahawk Jersy, fittingly emblazoned with the number 43.
"This is a man who has heart, who has compasison, who has a dedication the to this country," Reichert crowed. "You can feel it when he speaks."
Outside the Hyatt Regency, where hundreds of protestors chanted and held signs like "Shoot, Loot, Pollute," the assessment was a little more subdued. "I think he's the worst thing that ever happened to the world," said Donna Cross, a 57-year-old interior designer from Seattle, carrying an "Impeach Bush" sign.
For his part, Bush delivered a stump speech full of familiar rhetoric about keeping taxes low and defeating the terrorists in Iraq so as they don't follow us to the homeland. "We will not be intimidated by thugs and murderers," Bush said. "The United States will stand strong."
A more surprising moment came before Bush arrived in the ballroom, when the master of ceremonies--John Carlson, a Seattle-area radio talk show host--asked the crowd who they supported for president, asking for applause as he mentioned the names of various GOP nominees. Fred Thompson , Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney each received polite applause--but only one person clapped for Sen. John McCain.
"John McCain needs to visit a little more often," joked Carlson.
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