Your Thursday Morning Republican Juggernaut Update

Oh, now this should be fun. Chimpy will be making a fundraising swing through Florida today and his handlers have reversed course and decided not tostiff-arm Katherine Harris.

President Bush will sweep through Orlando today in the powerful role of fundraiser-in-chief for Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and the state GOP, kick-starting the party on its drive to raise a record $30 million for the November election.


Crist said he is not looking to take the money and duck out of camera range when standing by the president.

“I’m not concerned about being linked with him at all,” Crist said. “I’m proud of my president.”

The Republicans might face more awkward choreography with controversial U.S. Senate nominee Katherine Harris expected at the presidential event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Harris has been shunned by the state’s Republican leaders, who actively sought to push her out of the race against Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.

Harris originally wasn’t scheduled to be at the fundraiser, but now she says she will attend.

“She’s been invited, and we’ll be happy to have her there,” said Jeff Sadosky, a Florida Republican spokesman.

Florida Democrats are pleased, too, because they hope to tarnish Crist by tying him to Bush and Harris.

“We’re clearly going to do everything we can to put Crist and the president and Harris together,” said Luis Navarro, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party. “These guys are trying to show [that] the party’s united. But they already are dealing with the embarrassment of Harris and the president’s slumping poll numbers.”