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Bush Campaigns, Raises Money for Republicans - 2002-03-29

President Bush is in Texas campaigning for a Republican Senate candidate. Mr. Bush also met with local rescue workers where he called for more money for homeland security.

On his way to an Easter vacation at his Texas ranch, Mr. Bush continued to raise money for Republican Senate candidates. At events in South Carolina and Georgia Wednesday, the president raised more than $2 million.

In Texas Thursday, he filmed a television commerical for the state's attorney general who is running for the seat of retiring Republican Senator Phil Gramm. Republicans are just one seat short of a majority in the U.S. Senate. The president's drive to get that majority in November elections starts with holding-on to the seats the party already controls.

During the campaign swing, Mr. Bush visited a fire and rescue training center in the city of Dallas where he greeted hundreds of rescue workers, some of whom were involved in rescue efforts at the Pentagon following the terrorist attacks of September 11.

The president used the event to champion his request for more than $3 billion for local police and fire departments to better prepare for domestic terrorist attacks. He urged Congress to approve spending for Homeland Security, saying out of the terror of September 11 has come a renewed sense of American responsibility to both work toward peace and take care of each other. "We have got the determination, the will, and the strength to have a more peaceful world. I know we have got the heart and compassion to show the world the true definition of our nation," he said. "And it is happening. It's the gathering momentum of millions of acts of kindness and compassion."

The president said more Americans should reach-out to those less fortunate at home as a way of defeating terrorism by refusing to let it break the nation's spirit. "Telling your own child you love them every single day, going to a church or a synagogue or a mosque and developing a progam to help feed the hungry or clothe those who need clothing and help that is all part of not only defining our nation but fighting against evil," he said.

President Bush began this round of campaigning after signing a law changing the way politicians will raise money in the future. The new rules increase the amount of money individuals can give candidates while strengthening rules governing the disclosure of who is giving how much to political campaigns. It also stops unions and corporations from making unregulated, or so-called "soft money" contributions to political parties.

The president signed the law despite objections to some of the new rules which he says will likely be decided in court. For example, Mr. Bush opposes limits on contributions to political parties for federal elections. He also objects to a broad ban on issue advertising, where special interest groups run commercials for or against candidates who support or oppose their position.