- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 19, 2006

President Bush and former President Bill Clinton, rallying party faithful at swanky fundraisers yesterday, told Virginia voters their choice in next month’s U.S. Senate election is crucial.

The Nov. 7 election is about “which party will take the steps necessary to protect the American people and win the war on terror and which party is going to keep your taxes low and keep this economy growing,” Mr. Bush said while standing beside Republican Sen. George Allen and his wife, Susan, at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond.

“We just have a different point of view, a different look at the world,” Mr. Bush said of Democrats and Republicans.

Mr. Clinton, who endorsed Democrat James H. Webb Jr. in the Senate race, agreed the two parties have clear opposing philosophies.

“We’ve got a chance to win a victory for America,” Mr. Clinton said, casting the upcoming election as a historic opportunity for Democrats.

Before hosting a private fundraiser in McLean for Mr. Webb last night, Mr. Clinton appeared in Maryland where he stumped for Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, and Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, the Democratic candidate for governor.

The Republicans have been taken over, Mr. Clinton said at Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park in Baltimore, “by the most ideological, most extreme wing” of the party, prompting some conservatives to switch parties.

“We represent, now, both strains” of American politics, said Mr. Clinton, who later appeared at a fundraiser for Mr. O’Malley in Potomac. Mr. Clinton was expected to raise $500,000 for Mr. O’Malley.

At a brief stop in Arlington last night, Mr. Clinton told reporters that he admired Mr. Webb’s courage for running against Mr. Allen.

“I wanted to express my public support [for Mr. Webb] for some time,” Mr. Clinton said of the former Republican who several years ago called Mr. Clinton’s presidency “the most corrupt administration in modern memory.” Both men mended their relationship after September 11, 2001.

“This is a question of whether we’re going to be frozen in ideology that ignores evidence and arguments or whether we are going to look at evidence and arguments and do what’s best for our country,” Mr. Clinton said.

In Richmond, Mr. Bush told the estimated 300 people who turned out to show their support for Mr. Allen that the senator “has earned the confidence of the people of this state.”

“There’s no bigger issue than what we’re doing with people’s money,” Mr. Bush said. “The best thing Virginia citizens can do to make sure that taxes stay low is to send George Allen back to the United States Senate.”

Mr. Allen has said he wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent before they expire.

Mr. Bush did not mention Mr. Webb, Navy secretary under President Reagan, by name or criticize him. But he did criticize Democrats as the “party of cut and run.”

Mr. Clinton, while in Arlington, responded to Mr. Bush’s “party of cut and run” comment.

“They won two elections by their skins’ teeth, by scaring people,” Mr. Clinton said. “But you can only run a dog through the same path so many times before it doesn’t work anymore. And I just kind of think it’s a mangy old dog.”

Mr. Bush also insisted the U.S. must fight the terrorists in Iraq to keep Americans safe. “We will fight, we will stay and we will win in Iraq,” he said.

The rhetoric differs from Mr. Allen’s line on the war, which he recently has tempered as its unpopularity grows and its death toll increases.

“I’m not going to get here in an argument over the president’s words versus my words,” Mr. Allen told reporters after the event when asked whether he agreed with Mr. Bush’s statement.

Mr. Allen said he thinks the troops should come home “in victory, not defeat” and that Iraq can’t become a safe haven for terrorists.

In McLean, Mr. Clinton was expected to raise between $400,000 and $600,000 for Mr. Webb at the fundraiser held at the home of former Sen. Charles S. Robb, the Democrat Mr. Allen unseated in 2000.

Webb campaign spokeswoman Kristian Denny-Todd said about 375 people were expected to attend the sold-out event.

The White House said the Bush event was expected to raise nearly $600,000 for Mr. Allen, a former Virginia governor who is seeking re-election after one term in the Senate.

Hundreds of anti-war demonstrators lined the streets of downtown Richmond to greet Mr. Bush with handmade signs that said: “Torture is not a family value” and “Impeach Bush.”

Jon Ward contributed to this article from Baltimore. Mrs. Bellantoni reported from Richmond and Mr. McLaughlin reported from Arlington.

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