Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, attracting more than 1,000 well-heeled Republicans to the biggest fund-raising event so far in his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, raised more than $1 million in Los Angeles Thursday night.
Dole, in the first campaign event after his admittedly restrained performance during a nationally televised debate with four other Republican presidential candidates Wednesday night, said he was buoyed by the success of the event.
'87 Goal Is $14 Million
The Senate minority leader predicted that the dinner, held at the Century Plaza, would help him meet his goal of raising $14 million by the end of the year.
Dole flew to Los Angeles for the dinner from Washington D.C., where he spent most of the day in talks with other congressional leaders on a federal budget deficit reduction package being put together in the wake of the stock market collapse.
Before the dinner, he told reporters that the federal budget deficit "is public enemy No. 1 in this country."
Although Dole said that "a bold move" was necessary to cut deeply into the deficit, he declined to spell out specific proposals that he would make.
Among the options that he said he would consider are closing tax loopholes, increasing user fees and selling federal land, such as the Elk Hills oil preserve in Kern County.
As for the debate in Houston, Dole said he had "a mission," explaining that he wanted to avoid the sharp exchanges with the other Republican candidates.
Avoids Attack in Debate
"Everybody was waiting for me to attack somebody," he said, seeming satisfied with himself that he had not.
The senator was expected to attend a rally Thursday morning at San Diego State University and a noon fund-raising luncheon in downtown San Diego. But he missed both, choosing instead to spend the day in Washington.
His wife, Elizabeth Hanford Dole, the former secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, filled in for him. The luncheon raised about $125,000, campaign officials said.