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Bush Set to Begin Campaign Funds Hunt

May 24, 2003|From Reuters

CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush will begin the money hunt for his 2004 reelection bid with a seven-stop tour across the country next month, the White House said Friday.

Bush is scheduled to begin his blitz in Washington on June 17. From there, he will go to Greensboro, Ga., on June 20, New York on June 23, San Francisco and Los Angeles on June 27, and Miami and Tampa on June 30.

"The president has a very busy schedule of official events, and he has a limited window in which he can participate in his own direct political affairs as he prepares for reelection," White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said at the Bush ranch.

With much less fanfare, Bush took the first step in his race for a second term a week ago by filing legal documents that will allow him to raise campaign money and organize his reelection bid.

Bush is expected to be a formidable candidate, as most Americans have supported his response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the war he waged on Iraq. Democrats hope to use the weak economy against him as they did against his father in 1992.

Fleischer said estimates that Bush would raise as much as $200 million for his reelection bid were too high, but many Republicans expect the figure to be at least $150 million to $170 million. Bush raked in a record $100 million for his 2000 presidential campaign.

"We are hopeful that the president's strong leadership and bold vision for the future will again attract strong support in the coming months," Fleischer said.

Bush has promoted his deputy political director, Matt Schlapp, to political director, replacing Ken Mehlman, who recently left the White House to manage the president's reelection campaign, Fleischer told reporters.

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