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Bush Raises $2 Million for Re-election Campaign at Florida Rally


U.S. President George W. Bush is in Florida, where he will raise more than $2 million for his re-election campaign.

From an afternoon rally at a sports stadium to an evening fundraiser at the beach resort of Ft. Lauderdale, the president's fundraising should push his campaign total above $60 million.

Mr. Bush is on pace to top his own fundraising record of $100 million from the last election. This time, his campaign expects to raise at least $170 million for party primaries where the president faces no Republican challenger.

Florida is a crucial state in any presidential election, all the more so for Mr. Bush as it is the state that gave him the electoral votes needed to secure his victory in 2000.

This is the 16th time he has visited Florida since that election. These events are expected to raise more than $2.5 million for the Bush/Cheney campaign, with each contributor limited to giving $2,000 apiece. At both events it was the president's brother, and Florida governor, Jeb Bush who handled the introductions.

"Imagine what the world would be like had my brother not gotten elected three years ago," said the governor, "and imagine what the world could be like with his continued leadership for the next four years."

President Bush has still not officially announced he is running for re-election and tries to deflect questions about the campaign or his Democratic challengers by insisting he is too busy being president.

"I am getting ready. The truth of the matter is the political season will come in its own time," he told his supporters. "Because I have got a job to do. I have got to do the people's work, the people's business."

During his fundraising trip, Mr. Bush spoke at an elementary school in the city of Jacksonville to announce a new way for parents to use data on the Internet to compare schools within their state.

The president's appearance at the school allows the White House to bill U.S. taxpayers for half the cost of the Florida trip. It is a long-standing cost-sharing arrangement used by all presidential incumbents whose campaign need only pay for half of a fundraising trip so long as the president conducts some sort of official business during his stay.

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