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Mixed Results for White House Midterm Effort

POSTED: 07:07 AM ET, 10/16/2008 by Derek Kravitz

During the 2006 mid-term elections, the White House used its political affairs office to coordinate visits by high-level administration officials for Republican candidates.

The use of government staffers to arrange such meet-and-greets is nothing new. Every presidential administration since the early 1980s has used the office to schedule similar events.

So while the draft report (PDF) released yesterday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was not a surprise (White House spokesman Scott Stanzel it was little more than an effort "to score political points" three weeks before Election Day), it did show how successful, or unsuccessful, the Bush administration was in courting voters during the '06 races.

The top beneficiary of some 326 visits by Bush administration officials was former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who scored 20 get-togethers with department chiefs during his 2006 re-election bid. It didn't help. Santorum lost handily to Bob Casey Jr., a former state treasurer and the son of a former popular governor.

The impact on the other top recipients was mixed. Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico narrowly won her re-election bid by a few hundred votes, and Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio squeaked out a victory. But former Indiana Rep. Mike Sodrel, after serving only one term, lost to Baron Hill in a tight race.

Maybe it was the company they were keeping. Big names like Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales only attended two events a piece. Meanwhile, less-recognizable officials like Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez led the way with 59 events, followed by former Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns with 38 and Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao with 25.

By Derek Kravitz |  October 16, 2008; 7:07 AM ET
Previous: Exclusive: Verizon and AT&T Provided Cell Towers for McCain Ranch | Next: Financial Crisis, Stevens Trial, White House Politics

Comments

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Wouldn't that be "Michael Chertoff and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales only attended two events apiece?"

Posted by: jrob235 | October 16, 2008 8:20 AM

The scandals and corruption in this administration are endless. We The People are sick of it. Bush should have been impeached long ago. Now we just want W and his minions to go away so that we can forget this traumatic nightmare of the last 8 years.

Posted by: ProudLiberal | October 16, 2008 9:47 AM

Ok. Starting now. I want smart people running my country.

Posted by: Hilary Smith | October 16, 2008 10:15 AM

Considering Obama lied last night about McCains ads and the "killer" threat was to be expected. The gotcha was the plumber and Obama's attempt to smooth the redistribution of wealth number. Obama (worse than lied) did not disclose to the public about his true tenure with Acorn. He was on the defensive for sure. What may be the nail in the coffin is that federal lawsuit pending now requiring that Obama to prove his citizenship. The certificate on his web site has been found to be a forgery.

Posted by: Campbell | October 16, 2008 10:19 AM

"Proud Liberal" Is just another way of saying "Uneducated Voter"

Posted by: James | October 16, 2008 11:28 AM

Hey Hilary Smith, Obama's certificate is very clearly legitimate and real news sites have proven it. That's really sad that you believe that lie. Shows your own lack of intelligence. As for this report, it shows the extremes the Bush crony's would go to in order to get a win. When people like MIke Johanns should have been focusing on getting a Farm Bill together, he was instead running around the country campaigning on the tax payer dime. It's offensive and it's time for a change in Washington.

Posted by: Voter | October 16, 2008 12:15 PM

Sorry that last should have been directed to Campbell not Hilary.

Posted by: Voter | October 16, 2008 12:16 PM

Not only did the Bush Crime family use taxpayer money to send political appointees around to push for Republican candidates, they botched it! Corrupt AND incompetent. Heckuva job.

Posted by: thebob.bob | October 16, 2008 12:17 PM

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