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State makes last-minute plans for Bush visit

By By William F. West / community editor
Aug. 7, 2002
Residents and leaders in the suburban Jackson city of Madison spent Tuesday making last-minute preparations for President Bush's visit to one of the county's three high schools.
Bush, in Mississippi to headline a campaign fund-raiser for Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, also is expected to talk about national caps on medical malpractice lawsuits.
Bush was expected to arrive in Jackson early this morning before heading to Madison Central High School.
There, the president was set to hold a 30-minute private forum on economic issues before speaking to an invitation-only crowd in the school gymnasium.
Luncheon fund-raiser
Bush was to attend a $1,000-a-person luncheon for Pickering at the at the Hilton in Jackson. Pickering faces Democrat Ronnie Shows in the Nov. 5 election for the state's 3rd Congressional District U.S. House seat.
At some point Wednesday, the president also was to attend a $25,000-a-ticket fund-raiser gathering for the Mississippi Republican Party. Details on that event were sketchy.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Pickering's campaign manager, Henry Barbour, was walking into Madison Central High and praised the preparations for the president's visit.
Also on Tuesday, Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole was preparing a statement encouraging his fellow party members to show respect for Bush.
Cole raises concern
Cole said he was concerned with the state Republican Party's $25,000 a-ticket fund-raiser with Bush at an undisclosed location while the president is in the Jackson area.
Barbour countered by saying that Shows illegally took $85,000 in contributions and had to pay a $25,000 fine. Barbour also defended the private, high-priced GOP fund-raiser.
If Democrats "stood on the right side of the issues, they could share some of this success," he said.