The Web's Best Political News Summary: Feb. 6: Money for Nothing But For Mitch It's Not Free

Hardly A4 today, President Bush lends a face to our twin leads — the ongoing budget fights, punctuated by the expected death of stimulus package today; and the looming campaign finance reform vote in the House next week — as he travels to economically hurting New York to headline two fundraisers.

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News Summary

Also, former President Ronald Reagan turns 91 today, making him the oldest living former president in U.S. history. Before taking off for New York, President Bush will sign Reagan's boyhood home into the ranks of national historic sites, and commemorate a proud supply-sider.

Talk about editorial pages on the warpath: with the House now scheduled to debate and vote on Shays-Meehan, the House version of McCain-Feingold, next Tuesday and Wednesday, both Bush and Vice President Cheney are embarking today on previously planned, separate fund-raising efforts that have been billed as the kickoff of their promised big push to help the GOP in the midterm elections.

Both of Bush's appearances in Manhattan tonight will be on behalf of New York's Republican Gov. George Pataki; the first, being held at the Mayor's Residence, is closed to the press, while the second, lower-dollar event at a hotel is open.

The practice over the years of presidents attending fund-raisers closed to the guardians of the public interest (that would be us, the media) has switched back and forth and now back, without much of a public, or even press debate. We, for three, would argue that openness is in the public interest. Of course, having been to some closed fund-raisers, we generally find that the politicians don't say anything much more interesting than they do at open events.

And keep in mind, of course, that Pataki is not a candidate for federal office, so the rules governing the big money that he's raising wouldn't be affected directly by the measure being considered on the House floor next week.

"On Monday, [Bush] attends a Milwaukee fundraiser for Wisconsin Gov. Scott McCallum," USA Today adds. ( http://www.usatoday.com/news/attack/2002/02/06/usat-bush.htm )

Mr. Cheney, meanwhile, will set off on a fund-raising tour for endangered House Republicans, raising money tonight in Evansville, Ind., for Rep. John Hostettler, and tomorrow in Louisville, Ky., for Rep. Anne Northup. We ask plaintively: is ANY national news organization efforting (as we say in TV) to cover these Cheney trips?

The Washington Post 's Edsall writes the counterpunch for Democrats: that their candidates in many of these same key races are financially better positioned heading into 2002. ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29451-2002Feb5.html )

As we expect the New York Times to do most each and every day between now and Wednesday, the Washington Post editorial page rails against the overall grand tour, "Mr. Bush is said to have agreed to 40 [fundraising] events, most to be held later in the season. That's a substantial commitment for leaders who still have a war to run. It underscores yet again the corrosive grip of the money chase on national politics." ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29868-2002Feb5.html )

As far as the second of our twin leads goes, New York is a city the White House hasn't exactly shown a lot of love toward lately, nor gotten a lot of love from, as far as economic assistance and politics go.

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