President Bush got an earful of opposition yesterday to his willingness to raise taxes from a group of Republicans challenging incumbent House Democrats, and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) made sure the folks back home heard all about it.

The candidates each got a minute or two with Bush, time for a photo and a few words. Virtually all of them used the time to tell Bush they were unhappy with his call for higher taxes.

"My message was that the president's original pledge was very popular in my district, and I was hoping he would stand by that," said Scott Shore, who is running in Florida's 14th Congressional District. "It's important for the two parties to stand for very different approaches to government and not to blur the distinctions."

"It's very disturbing to me," Audrie Zettick Schaller, a candidate from Pennsylvania, said of Bush's decision on taxes. "The president should know that while Democrats may not be on his side for no new taxes, the voters in America are."

Their messages delivered to the president, the candidates then trooped out to the White House lawn to deliver the same message to the voters -- via satellite. The NRCC set up a camera on the lawn, provided an interviewer from its press office, conducted professional-looking one-minute interviews with 26 of the challengers and beamed the words and images back to the candidates' home districts.

With the White House as the backdrop, each candidate could explain what he or she told the president: Read my lips. No new taxes.

But on Capitol Hill, Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato (R-N.Y.) urged his 44 fellow GOP senators to support the president. "Whatever reservations we may have, I believe President Bush has earned the benefit of the doubt," D'Amato wrote in a "Dear Republican Colleague" letter. "If he believes {spending cuts} alone will not allow us to get the deficit under control, we should support his judgment."