Washington Prowler

Money Masters

The real reason Clinton can't stand Bush. Plus: Homeland Security standby.

By 5.22.03

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A BUSH LEAGUE OF HIS OWN
Over the next month President Bush may raise, for both his presidential campaign and the Republican Party, more than $60 million. That includes a fundraiser held last night at the new Washington Convention Center for Republican House and Senate campaign committees and at least three large fundraisers coming up in Washington, New York, and Florida for his re-election campaign.

Bush's upcoming Washington event, tentatively scheduled for June 23, may pull in as much as $10 million, if not more. "The expectation is he and Vice President Cheney will shatter every fundraising record known to man," says a Republican National Committee fundraiser. "When we're finished, Democrats are going to look and wonder just where they're going to find anything for their own coffers."

That kind of fundraising prowess apparently has former President Bill Clinton a bit out of sorts. Recall that Clinton used to enjoy the title King of Fundraisers. Word out of Little Rock is that Clinton would like to throw a mega fundraiser of his own in honor of his birthday in August. The money raised will be used to underwrite the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, his presidential library, and perhaps a slush fund or two.

The money is most critically needed for the library, which is due to be opened sometime next year. "Things appear on schedule, but the folks in Little Rock and in Arkansas are really banking on the library to draw tourists," says a Clinton foundation staffer. "If we don't meet our deadlines, it's going to create a lot of problems for a lot of people."

Clinton is said by some former associates to be irked at Bush's ability to pull in the dollars and would like to show that he remains just as influential on the money trail.

FLYING PEANUT GALLERY
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is probably wondering what he did to irk the president. This, after Ridge was relegated to the press plane for the flight to New London, Connecticut, and back on Wednesday for the president's speech at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

The Coast Guard , which now falls under the control of the Homeland Security Department, was the second locale for a Bush commencement address this graduation season, and Ridge had to go along to this one.

For reasons of airport size and security, the Air Force flew Bush up on a smaller jet and not the usual 747. With less room for Bush's entourage, those of lesser rank had to travel on a second press plane. This included Ridge, who apparently didn't take it well. Indeed, his mood must have been foul, because he refused to come back to speak to reporters flying to the speech.

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