Republicans Running Away From Bush In Michigan

From Holden:

Them’s some smart Republikkkans.

Despite low approval ratings, President George W. Bush won’t be a drag on the fortunes of Republicans in Michigan this fall, the Republican National Committee Chairman said Thursday.

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Mehlman’s visit to Grand Rapids comes a day after Republican gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos chided President Bush for not meeting with the state’s struggling automakers.

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“We’re being ignored here in Michigan by the White House, and it has got to stop,” said DeVos, former head of Alticor, Inc., who with his wife, Betsy, has been a heavy contributor to Republican causes and to Bush. “I’m just calling on the president now, and the White House, to get it done and to hold this meeting.”

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Mehlman said the president’s failure to hold a meeting wasn’t a dismissal of Michigan. He placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

“The president cares tremendously about the industry,” Mehlman said. “If you look at the record, this is not an industry problem, it’s a Michigan problem, and the governor of Michigan wants to shun responsibility to somebody else.”

DeVos’ comments, nevertheless, put some distance between himself and the president as he tries to defeat Granholm.

“Fortunately, DeVos is a triathlete,” said Granholm spokesman Chris DeWitt, “because he is going to run, bike and swim as fast as he can away from President Bush.”

Other Republican candidates in Michigan — which in recent national elections has voted for Democrats — will probably keep a similar distance, said Bill Rustem of Public Sector Consultants. Bush will work from afar to raise money for candidates. But he likely won’t show up in person.

“Because his approval ratings are so low, I doubt candidates will want him to make personal appearances,” Rustem said.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, who is running against Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, said Thursday that he was unsure if Bush would appear at his campaign events.