"Calling for a gesture of solidarity with the White House at the onset of the 2004 campaign, Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) on Wednesday cut a $1,000 check to President Bush's re-election campaign and urged all House Republicans to follow suit."
"'We want to show it's a two-way street,' Hastert spokesman John Feehery said after the meeting. 'The president did a lot for us in the last election, and [the pitch to Members] shows what kind of team we are.'"
"Even some close Bush allies were bewildered by Hastert's plea."
"Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), a Bush confidant, said he doesn't plan to contribute to Bush's campaign, preferring to direct his gifts to needy GOP Senate candidates and the National Republican Senatorial Committee."
"'The president's a pretty good fundraiser on his own,' Gregg said wryly."
"In fact, no similar pitch has been made to GOP Senators by their leadership. But Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) indicated Wednesday that he liked the idea and might ask his colleagues to make donations to the president."
The New York Times ' FOIA-wielding Randal C. Archibold reports that, thanks to New York City "millionaires and billionaires" (and Michael Bloomberg himself) the RNC already has raised $60 million. LINK Archibold mentions your David Rockefeller, your Jonathan Tisch , your Sanford Weill, along with Henry Paulson of Goldman Sachs and real estate magnate William Rudin, as among those who've tossed in millions from personal or company coffers.
According to host committee co-chair Lewis M. Eisenberg, the "financial commitments reflected both civic pride and deep support for the first-ever Republican convention in New York, where President Bush and Vice President Cheney will begin their drive to Election Day."
Eisenberg says donors won't be given favors in return, but are "'likely'" to receive some darned fine seats and invites.
Not all big donors are Republicans; Democrats have civic and national pride too (and the host committee is officially non-partisan).
Rudin says "'It is not about politics … It is about New York City and creating economic opportunities.'"); Mayor Bloomberg asserts his attempt to lure both conventions to mighty NYC: "'New York is a place where there is a lot people who have done very well and where there is a spirit of philanthropy, sometimes for museums, hospitals, and sometimes for political stuff … I tried to get both conventions to come to New York, and we could have raised the money for both of them in the same period very easily.'"
(Yes, yes. New York has lots and lots o' rich people, while some monkeys Google for a living.)
We get a break-down of expenses from the elegant to the base ($808,500 for fabric and décor coverings! $186,250 for portable restrooms!), and are informed about podium costs, car services, air conditioning and lighting concerns, hotel selections.
Archibold also raises an eyebrow at the stated plan to ensure the availability and rates of taxicabs for participants.
Yeah, good luck with that.
Dana Milbank of the Washington Post takes the paper's AmeriCorps baton and keeps running. LINK ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings has a closer look at the story tonight. Check local listings.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jo Mannies reports, "National Right to Life, the nation's largest anti-abortion group, will celebrate its 30th anniversary by holding its national convention in St. Louis over the July 4 holiday." LINK