HARRISBURG, Pa. – Vice President Dick Cheney (search) visited the Pennsylvania capital Monday to raise money for Arlen Specter (search)'s campaign for a fifth Senate term and tout the accomplishments of President Bush, who hopes to carry the state in his own re-election bid next year.
About 300 luncheon guests contributed at least $500 each for a light meal and a chance to hear Cheney speak, and some paid $2,000 to also pose for a photograph with the vice president. Specter's aides said the event was expected to add between $150,000 and $200,000 to his $8 million war chest.
Cheney praised Specter, a moderate who faces a primary challenge from conservative Rep. Patrick Toomey (search), as "one of the most experienced and devoted public servants in the country" and said leaders of the Republican Party are "absolutely united" behind Specter's re-election campaign.
But mostly, Cheney promoted Bush's record on the economy and the war against terrorism.
The vice president cited the newly signed tax-cut bill, which will benefit 136 million taxpayers, and said the Bush administration has responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by directing "two of the most successful military campaigns in history" to free Afghanistan and Iraq from oppressive regimes.
"Under the leadership of President Bush, America is winning the war on terror," said Cheney.
Cheney's visit to Harrisburg was the latest in a series of appearances on Specter's behalf by top administration officials, and the senator acknowledged he will be expected to reciprocate as Bush's re-election campaign gathers momentum in the months ahead. Bush plans to hold the first fund-raiser of his still-unannounced campaign on Tuesday.
The president is "anxious" to win the Republican-dominated suburban Philadelphia counties that were crucial to Democrat Al Gore's victory in the state in 2000, said Specter, a Philadelphia resident.
"The White House feels that I'll be a help to the ticket," he said.
Toomey, who had raised just over $1 million for his campaign by the end of March, said in a statement that Specter needed help from the White House because of his liberal voting record.
Outside the hotel where the fund-raiser was held, a couple dozen demonstrators gathered to protest the Bush administration's energy plan that was developed by a task force headed by Cheney, who formerly headed the Halliburton oilfield-services company. Among the protest organizers was the Sierra Club (search), which has sought unsuccessfully to obtain information about industry contacts influenced that plan.
"The world is not your corporation," read one protester's placard.