Returning to campaign mode, President Bush on Monday began his fundraising drive to help Republicans regain the power they lost less than four months ago.
“My political agenda is this: more Republican governors, take back control of the House and the Senate and make sure we keep the White House in 2008,” Bush told cheering donors at a private reception for the Republican Governors Association.
The annual event raised a record $10.4 million for GOP gubernatorial candidates.
Bush said Republicans belong to “the party of ideas” and predicted voters would come back if they see results. “That’s how we got the majority, and that’s what it’s going to take to get the majority back Ã¢â‚¬â€ standing on principle,” Bush said.
Voters last November put Democrats in control of the House and Senate, weakening Bush’s ability to push through legislation. The 2006 election also saw Republican governors lose the majority of governorships they had held since 1994.
Bush, despite sagging popularity, still raised more than $193 million at about 90 events in the last election season. His final fundraising chapter as president continues Friday with an event in Kentucky for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
In his 25-minute speech at the cavernous National Building Museum, Bush energetically defended his agenda. “I’m proud of our foreign policy,” Bush said. “And for the next two years, I will conduct it with all my soul, with all my might, because I believe it’s in the best interests of the United States of America.”
The president again warned Congress not to try to cut off funding for troops in Iraq or limit his military options.
The House has already passed a nonbinding measure to oppose Bush’s buildup of troops in Iraq, although Senate Republicans recently thwarted two Democratic attempts to pass such a resolution in that chamber.
“Our men and women in uniform risk their lives to carry out our plan to support this new democracy and to secure Baghdad,” Bush said. “And wherever members may stand on my decision, we have a solemn responsibility to give our troops the resources and the flexibility they need to prevail.”
Republican governors have mostly been supportive of Bush, who was once part of their ranks. But some have acknowledged concern about the war’s impact. And most have joined with Democrats to complain about potential Bush budget cuts on Medicaid, education and homeland security, as well as a reliance on the National Guard.
Copyright Ã‚Â© 2007 The Associated Press