The Republican Party is following up record fund raising for President Bush's re-election effort by asking donors to finance its efforts to get Bush's message "past the liberal media filter" to the public.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman (search) sent a fund-raising e-mail Wednesday telling supporters donations are needed to help Bush advance his second-term agenda.

"The president has great goals for our country: a growing economy, strong homeland and national defense, tort and Social Security reform and affordable health care. But we need your help to get the president's message past the liberal media filter and directly to the American people," wrote Mehlman, Bush's 2004 campaign manager. Mehlman asked donors to give $25 or more.

The RNC (search) raised a party record $385 million to help Bush win re-election. However, its fund raising finished second to the Democratic National Committee, which collected about $402 million in the 2003-04 election cycle.

Mehlman's fund-raising pitch came as Bush barred Cabinet secretaries from hiring columnists to promote administration policies. Bush's order came after disclosure that the Health and Human Services Department and Education Department each used taxpayer money to hire columnists to promote agency programs.

Bush said there "needs to be a nice independent relationship between the White House and the press, the administration and the press."