Bush Continues Quiet Fundraising
By Michael Abramowitz
BUCYRUS, Kan. -- President Bush is finishing up a week of intensive fundraising this week for Republican candidates, collecting money Thursday afternoon for GOP congressional hopeful Nick Jordan at the private home of a wealthy landscaper in this rural area south of Kansas City.
Most of the $435,000 Bush is expected to raise will go to Jordan, who is trying to unseat Democratic incumbent Dennis Moore. Moore has represented this northeast Kansas district since 1998 and is considered the favorite, but White House political aides see a potential GOP pick-up here in what is otherwise looking like a fairly bleak landscape for congressional Republicans this fall.
As has been the case all week, Bush has been fundraising in secret: Today's event is the fifth the White House has closed to the press, in keeping with its long-standing policy regarding fundraisers in private homes. Two events Bush has earlier this week for the presidential campaign of John McCain were originally supposed to be open, but were moved at the last minute to private residences, according to local press reports.
Bush spent Wednesday night in Park City after another closed fundraiser, this one at a vacation home of onetime GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney. Couples paid $70,000 for the privilege of listening to Bush: The traveling pool was kept at least a mile away, free of any risk of a chance observation of Bush and Romney, the pool report noted.
Before this week's swing, Bush had done 19 political fundraisers this year, all but two of which were closed to the press, according to Mark Knoller, the CBS Radio White House reporter who keeps the best statistics on presidential travel. The president has raised about $37 million for GOP candidates and the Republican Party. (Since taking office, Knoller reports, Bush has done 310 fundraisers, collecting a total of $767 million for his own campaigns and other GOP efforts.)
Talking with reporters on Air Force One this morning, White House press secretary Dana Perino described the private speeches Bush has been making as fairly standard fare, focused on issues like keeping taxes low and his efforts to combat terrorism. Bush likes to trot out familiar (as least to the press) stories, like how ironic it is that he, the son of a World War II veteran, has forged a close relationship with onetime Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi.
"People are interested about what it's like to be president," Perino said. "Oftentimes he'll give sort of a visual tour of the Oval Office, describe that. Sometimes he talks about significant moments in his presidency."
The Deseret News reports that Bush reminisced for another fundraising audience in Salt Lake City on Wednesday about his two terms in office, joking that he doesn't have to wait in traffic jams. One guest quoted him as saying, "You definitely live in a bubble. But it's a pretty comfortable bubble."
Posted at 4:54 PM ET on May 29, 2008
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