Bush raises nearly $1 million for two House members facing tough races
FLORENCE, Ky. – President Bush on Friday raised nearly $1 million for Virginia and Kentucky lawmakers who welcomed the president’s help, despite his limp approval ratings, to win tough elections in November.”There’s a lot of anger in Washington right now, but anger is not a philosophy. Anger is not a set a principles,” Bush said at a fundraiser for Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis, who is in a tight race against former Rep. Ken Lucas, a conservative Democrat.”You can’t win elections by being angry,” the president said. “You win elections by being optimistic and hopeful and lead. That’s how you win elections, and we’re in the lead.”Bush also claimed that if the Democrats gain control on Congress, Americans can expect tax increases.”The best way to balance the budget is to keep pro-growth economic policies in place, which generate more revenue for the federal treasury and hold down federal spending,” Bush said, playing to conservatives upset about government spending. “And that’s why I need allies like Geoff Davis who are fiscally responsible with the people’s money.”The event, held in a hotel ballroom where guests sipped drinks, raised an estimated $450,000 for Davis, according to the Republican National Committee.”David really – he really wanted Laura,” Bush said in reference to first lady Laura Bush’s popularity, which exceeds his. “He said, ‘You stay home.”‘To counter the president’s visits, the Democratic Party was running $100,000 worth of radio ads on Christian and conservative stations in media markets including Cincinnati, Louisville and Lexington, Ky., and Norfolk, Va.Before traveling to Kentucky, Bush attended a $5,000-a-plate fundraiser in Virginia Beach, Va., for Drake, but she did not appear at the event. Her campaign manager, Tim Murtaugh, dismissed the suggestion that Drake was avoiding being seen with Bush and said that Drake, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, had remained in Washington to support a military appropriations bill. Congress passed the measure 395-0.Murtaugh said Bush apologized for Drake’s absence and then joked, “I know a lot of you are disappointed because you came out to see Thelma.”Drake is being challenged by Philip J. Kellam, commissioner of revenue in Virginia Beach, a conservative city that Democratic Gov. Timothy R. Kaine narrowly won in last year’s gubernatorial race. Kellam says Bush’s presence shows she follows the GOP line.”Thelma has grafted herself to the president,” Kellam said. “I think she has forgone the 2nd District to simply act in the interest of this president and her leadership in Congress. It’s as if they say ‘Jump,’ she says, ‘How high?”‘The congresswoman, who reaped $200,000 from a February fundraiser in Norfolk attended by Vice President Dick Cheney, won the congressional seat in 2004 with 55 percent of the vote in the Republican-leaning district with a heavy military presence. Bush carried the district with 58 percent during his re-election.Friday’s event was held at the home of developer Bob Stanton, in the Bayville Golf Club. It was closed to the public and media, but two groups of protesters standing at the entrance to the club waved signs and yelled at the president’s motorcade. One group had signs that said “We love our president” and the other held ones that said “War isn’t working” and “Stop Torture.”In between the events, Bush visited Northern Kentucky University, where he warned against shielding the U.S. economy from global competition. To stay competitive, Bush said, the United States needs to keep taxes low, encourage entrepreneurship, secure the future solvency of Medicare and Social Security, reduce reliance on foreign oil and support free trade.”I can understand people’s concerns about imports coming in from China and imports coming in from India, but I don’t think we ought to allow those concerns to close down markets,” Bush said.The audience gave Bush two standing ovations – one when he entered the auditorium and another when he talked about supporting U.S. troops. Outside the event, a group of protesters shouted “Deport Bush,” a reference to his push for changes in immigration law.—Associated Press Writer Sonja Barisic in Virginia Beach, Va., contributed to this report.Vail, Colorado
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