The Bush Stank

From Holden:

Careful not to get any on you.

When President Bush arrives in the Baltimore area this evening to raise campaign money for Maryland Republicans, one potential beneficiary won’t be there to greet him.

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, whose Senate bid stands to gain from the $1 million-plus that Bush’s appearance is expected to draw, will be at a Las Vegas, Nev., fundraiser, instead.

Steele joins a growing list of Republican candidates who are declining a chance to be seen with the president in this election year, even as they rely on the hefty amounts of campaign cash that Bush attracts as his party’s biggest draw.

This month, two Republican House members stood Bush up at fundraisers in their backyards. Virginia Rep. Thelma Drake’s office said she had to cast a vote in Congress during the president’s stop at a fundraiser in Hampton Roads, Va., while Pennsylvania Rep. Curt Weldon skipped Bush’s Philadelphia fundraiser last week, telling The Wall Street Journal that Bush was doing so poorly in his state that he wouldn’t rely on his help.


Steele’s no-show at the Bush event comes as he has been working to distance himself from the president. This month, when Bush refused to extend the May 15 deadline for seniors to enroll in the Medicare prescription drug program, Steele broke with the president to call for a reprieve, saying that refusing to give seniors more time suggests the kind of “inside-the-Beltway mentality” he would change if elected.