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Bush headlines fund-raiser for Barbour

By Staff
from staff and wire reports
Sept. 12, 2003
JACKSON President Bush jumps into Mississippi state politics today when he headlines a $1,000-a-ticket fund-raiser luncheon for Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour.
Bush has scheduled a stop in Jackson while on a three-state swing. The fund-raiser, set for the Mississippi Coliseum near downtown Jackson, could raise about $1.2 million for Barbour.
Barbour, the former Republican National Committee chairman, meets incumbent Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and three third-party candidates in the Nov. 4 general election.
At stake is the state's highest elected office, a job that pays $122,160 a year.
Barbour, a longtime Washington lobbyist, has been friends with Bush for several years. Barbour headed the RNC when Bush ran for governor of Texas; Barbour also was a key adviser to Bush's father.
Back in the 1980s, when Bush had a Washington office across the hall from Barbour's partner, Barbour said he and Bush would talk politics, prop up our feet, walk over somewhere and get lunch.''
The candidate said his professional experience at the White House has given him insight into how the federal government works, and that knowledge could be valuable to Mississippi.
Put it this way: How much federal money do you think we have gotten because of Trent and Thad and Roger Wicker and Chip Pickering the last few years? A lot,'' Barbour said, referring to the state's Republican congressional delegation of U.S. Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran and U.S. Reps. Roger Wicker and Chip Pickering.
He said that as governor, he would had his political clout to the mix, and we would get more.''
Musgrove has questioned whether Barbour could do more than what is already being done.
The governor said the National Governors Association has been working to increase states' spending authority with federal funds. States have seen federally funded services, such as special education and homeland security, come through only partially covered.
The National Governors Association has worked hard and will continue to work hard for increased flexibility, but also for Washington not to send us unfunded mandates,'' Musgrove said.
Brian Anderson, a Mississippi University for Women political scientist, said that while Bush's appearance today likely will go a long way with some voters, it could alienate others.
He is taking a risk because the Bush administration now has really gotten themselves mired in terms of foreign policy and even in terms of domestic policy,'' Anderson said.
Bush will be under increased pressure as Democratic presidential candidates continue questioning Bush's belief that tax cuts will jump-start the economy and eventually create jobs, Anderson said.
But overall, Anderson said, It's not a bad thing that he knows the president.''