- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 30, 2005

BALTIMORE (AP) — President Bush made a brief stop in Baltimore yesterday to promote Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate and, more importantly, help him raise money to finance the campaign.

Those who showed up for a lunchtime event at the M&T; Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, paid either $125 or $500 for a lunch of pizza and hot dogs. The higher-priced ticket earned donors a spot in a VIP section in front of the rostrum where Mr. Steele and Mr. Bush spoke.

Leonardo Alcivar, a spokesman for the Steele campaign, said about 800 people attended, and ticket sales totaled about $500,000 before expenses.

“We were very happy with the number of supporters who turned out today,” he said. “It was midweek during the day, when people have to leave their work to come to an event.”

Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley attracted much larger crowds to two events in the same room, including a June nighttime fundraiser that his aides said took in more than $2 million.

Asked about ticket sales for the president’s visit, Derek Davis, spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party, said, “I wouldn’t even think they’ve broken even on the negative cost of having an unpopular, out-of-touch president come to the state.”

Herb Smith, professor of political science at McDaniel College in Westminster, said ticket sales were “good, but not a great showing” for a fundraiser with the president. Noting Mr. Bush’s low approval ratings in Maryland, he said, “You are seeing perhaps a little fallout there.”

In remarks that lasted just 16 minutes, Mr. Bush appealed to Mr. Steele’s supporters to do more than just contribute money.

“It’s also important that you contribute by talking to your neighbors, and when the time comes, to pick up the telephone and encourage people to vote,” the president said.

“You see, people in this country want there to be honest government,” Mr. Bush said. “No matter what party they’re from, they want a decent, honorable man to represent them. And in Michael Steele, you’ve got such a person.”

Mr. Bush referred to the lieutenant governor as “Senator Steele” several times, each time drawing an outburst of cheers and applause from the crowd.

The president came to Baltimore from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he delivered an address defending his handling of the war in Iraq.

He also talked about the war during his speech at the fundraiser, saying he needs people like Mr. Steele in the Senate to help him as he lays the groundwork for peace in the Mideast.

Mr. Steele spoke very briefly in introducing Mr. Bush, sounding a major theme of his campaign — the need to build bridges to cross lines “that for too long have divided us by party, class and race.”

Outside the stadium in a small nearby park, about 50 people gathered at a protest organized by Progressive Maryland, a liberal lobbying group. The protesters carried signs with slogans such as “Taking Bush money will cost you in Maryland” and “Just say no to Bush’s money.”

Stephanie Goodwin, member of the Service Employees International Union, said Mr. Steele “tries to tell the public he’s a moderate, but he’s taking money from one of the most right-wing presidents we’ve had.”

Republicans hope that Mr. Steele, seeking to become Maryland’s first black U.S. senator, will be able to cut into the huge margins that black voters usually give to Democratic candidates.

Victor Clark, a longtime black Republican activist from Baltimore, said he thinks Mr. Steele will get a lot of the black vote with his emphasis on education and creating what he calls legacy wealth that black Marylanders can accumulate and pass on to their children.

“The new mind-set of young African-American professionals is about all the things he’s about,” he said.

Allan Lichtman, one of the Democratic Senate candidates, said at the protest rally that Mr. Steele “is the Bush candidate in Maryland.”

“When Bush is trying to cut programs, Steele has not said anything,” he said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide