Bush makes rare public campaign fundraising appearance
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush, despite record low job approval ratings, made a rare public appearance on Wednesday to help Michigan Republicans raise money for the November campaign and he used it to mock the campaign themes of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
Bush never mentioned Obama’s name but used the Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s name 11 times throughout his 22 minutes of remarks to about 300 supporters in Livonia, Mich.
Obama has repeatedly used the words “hope” and “change” as themes of his campaign and to bash the Bush administration in his bid capture the White House in November. But Bush tried to turn the tables on Obama using his own words against him.
“The other side talks a lot about ‘hope,’ and that sums up their Iraq policy pretty well: They want to retreat from Iraq and hope nothing bad happens,” Bush said. “But wishful thinking is no way to fight a war and to protect the American people.”
On change, Bush said Democrats once favored lower taxes, believed in “common sense American values” and that “America should pay any price and bear any burden in the defense of liberty — but they have changed.”
“This isn’t the kind of change the American people want,” Bush said. Americans want change that make their lives better, their country safer. That requires changing the party control of the Congress.”
Republicans face an uphill battle retaking control of the House of Representatives because numerous lawmakers are retiring or seeking another office, while in the Senate they must defend 23 seats and Democrats have only 12 seats to guard.
Bush has made numerous appearances on the campaign trail to help Republican candidates raise money, but almost all of them in the last few months have been behind closed doors (the White House says their policy is to keep fundraisers at private residences closed to the press). Last week Bush made a public appearance in Washington to help the Republican congressional and Senate campaign committees raise some $21.5 million.
– Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Livonia, Mich.
– Photo credit: Jim Young (Bush speaking to supporters at a fundraiser in Michigan.)