Bush Raises Money for Kansas Senator

The Associated Press
Friday, June 15, 2007; 4:59 PM

WICHITA, Kan. -- President Bush's job approval rating is at an all-time low, yet supporters are still willing to shell out $4,600 to get a photo with him.

Bush posed for pictures Friday at a $500-a-person fundraiser for Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. The photos cost extra. The event, closed to the press, was held at the home of Dave Murfin, president of Murfin Drilling Co., and his wife Janet.

Only 32 percent of Americans say they approve of how Bush is handling his job, according to the most recent AP-Ipsos poll. That's the same low point the poll recorded in January, and a drop of 3 percentage points since May.

Friday's event drew more than 550 attendees and raised more than $650,000 for Roberts with a small percentage of the proceeds going to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Bush still wins approval from seven in 10 Republicans, though that is near his historic low for GOP support of 67 percent in January. His slumping popularity is not helping Republican presidential and congressional candidates who face voters next year.

The GOP is not expected to have trouble holding on to Roberts' seat, but his re-election campaign could use the money to battle Democrats, who last year won the Kansas governor's office, attorney general's race and a congressional seat.

Kansas Democrats criticize Roberts for his loyalty to Bush.

"While he chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2002 to 2007, Roberts stonewalled attempts to investigate everything from the manipulation of intelligence in the rush to war in Iraq, President Bush's warrantless wiretaps, and even allegations of the use of torture by the CIA," said Mike Gaughan, director of the Kansas Democratic Party. "After carrying President Bush's water for so many years, Senator Roberts is calling in the IOU."

About 100 demonstrators protesting the war joined Bush supporters who waved at the presidential motorcade. One carried a sign that said "Mission Accomplished? You morons. 3,500-plus dead."

Before the fundraiser, Bush stopped at a new Boys and Girls Club to highlight its programs for mentoring at-risk youths. The stop also helps defray the cost of getting the president to Wichita to campaign for Roberts.

"It's a place where dreams are fostered," Bush said after touring the center and watching children jump rope, play foosball, basketball and air hockey and beat drums and play xylophones.

When he landed at McConnell Air Force Base, Air Force One rolled over to Boeing Integrated Defense Systems where a companion Boeing 747 is being modified and upgraded.

"I can't tell you what an honor it is to fly overseas in Air Force One and have that big bird park, have people around the world see the great majesty of our country reflected in this airplane," he told several hundred employees and others who greeted him on the tarmac.

Before taking off for a weekend at his Texas ranch, Bush visited in his office aboard Air Force One with the relatives of a fallen member of the military from the area.

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