- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2002

President Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney have raised more than $67 million for Republican congressional candidates, who finally have a big fund-raising draw after eight years of Bill Clinton in the White House.
In his first congressional election cycle as president, Mr. Bush alone has raised more than $59 million, according to Republican Party officials. And later this month he and Mr. Cheney will appear at a Republican Party fund-raiser that is expected to take in more than $20 million.
"He definitely has not shied away from the role of fund-raiser in chief," said Steven Weiss, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. "Bush has done a prodigious amount of fund raising."
The fund-raising totals by Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are nine times higher than the amount raised this year by Mr. Clinton for Democratic candidates, according to an analysis by the Associated Press.
"We've got a strong president with a good message," said Mindy Tucker, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. "[Democrats] are having to struggle a little bit more to figure out who is their party leader and what is their message. They don't really have anyone else who's moved into that position. Instead what they've got is a bunch of people who are saying different things."
While Republicans now enjoy a surefire fund-raising draw in Mr. Bush, they are still approaching November's midterm elections with the knowledge that the party in control of the White House usually loses seats in Congress. And in the Senate, where Democrats hold a one-seat advantage, six of the top 10 fund-raisers this year are Democrats.
"We're keeping in mind that we were actually outraised last cycle by the Senate Democrats," said Dan Allen, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "And now they're in the majority, so we're not taking anything for granted. The president and vice president help us stay competitive with them, and we're continuing to push that."
Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney have attended 32 fund-raisers for Republican House candidates in this election cycle, with five more on their schedules so far.
Mr. Bush will attend events on June 24 for Rep. Mike Ferguson of New Jersey and on June 28 for Rep. Constance A. Morella of Maryland.
Mr. Cheney is scheduled to attend events on July 1 for Rep. Henry Bonilla in Texas, on July 15 for Rep. Nancy L. Johnson of Connecticut and on July 18 for Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa.
"We've got a president who is carrying an agenda and a message that Americans support," Miss Tucker said. "It's fighting the war against terrorism, protecting the homeland and stimulating the economy. People give money when they are excited about something, when they believe in something. And people are excited about what's going on in the Republican Party right now."
Among the biggest individual events by Mr. Bush was a fund-raiser on March 4 in Minneapolis that netted about $2 million for Republican Senate candidate Norm Coleman. He is challenging Sen. Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat, who has raised well over $5 million for his re-election.

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