NEWPORT BEACH — White House Chief of Staff John Sununu met Friday morning with about 200 of Orange County's Republican faithful, bringing greetings to the local GOP from the global power-brokering going on behind closed doors in their neighborhood.
President Bush's two-day visit to Newport Beach for a summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu on Thursday was described as a nonpolitical trip that was underscored by the complete lack of involvement by the local Republican Party in preparing for the visit.
But Sununu's brief stop at the Inland Group offices in Newport Beach was intended to fire the Republican hearth in preparation for major campaign battles looming next year.
"These people are the heart and soul of the Republican Party in Orange County," Assemblyman John R. Lewis (R-Orange) said in welcoming Sununu. "These are the people who lick the envelopes, who walk the precincts, and get out the vote and make Orange County the powerhouse that it is today."