Cheney Visits Indianapolis to Raise Money for Republicans

Vice President Dick Cheney made a brief visit to the city Friday, speaking to about 100 people at a private luncheon to raise money for the Republican National Committee.

The event at the Columbia Club on Monument Circle was closed to the public and media, and he entered the building through the back, away from a handful of protesters and some people who hoped to get his picture.

Robert Grand, who led fundraising efforts in Indiana for President Bush's re-election campaign in 2004, said earlier Friday that about 100 people were to attend and he expected about $100,000 to be raised.

Gov. Mitch Daniels, who served as Bush's first budget director, attended a round-table discussion with Cheney and about a dozen others and then introduced Cheney for a luncheon speech. Daniels said Cheney gave a "very informative talk" that touched on the economy and the war on terror.

"He was interrupted very often by applause and was very well received by the crowd," Daniels told reporters afterward.

He was asked if Cheney's visit hurt Indiana candidates, since the money he raised for the national party might have ended up in their pockets instead.

"It's a good question. I mean, you know, the pond is only so deep," Daniels said. "But on the other hand, in fairness, the RNC, I think, will probably invest more in Indiana this year than they have in the past. You have competitive congressional races, so I do believe it's fair to say that a lot of the money donated will come back."

President Bush made two recent fundraising trips to Indiana, one to benefit 9th District Republican Rep. Mike Sodrel and another to raise money for 2nd District Rep. Chris Chocola. Many political observers believe Sodrel and 8th District Rep. John Hostettler will face tough re-election campaigns and that Chocola also could be vulnerable.

Daniels said he introduced Cheney by saying that he was chosen as Bush's running mate for his judgment and wisdom, not for political balance, and that America faced enemies who were trying to discourage freedom and cause the U.S. to withdraw from the world.

"But I said as long as our democracy produces people like Dick Cheney, that won't work," Daniels said.

Although security was tight and police cordoned off parts of downtown from traffic, a handful of protesters were allowed to stand near the entrance of the Columbia Club.

Bob Baldwin of Indianapolis held a sign that said, "The veep is a creep."

"He was part of the group that was involved in the policy decision to get us into the war in Iraq," Baldwin said. "I believe he lied to get us into the war."

Another protester, Carl Rising-Moore, of Indianapolis, said he was with a national group called Veterans for Peace. He yelled several times, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, shotgun Cheney's got to go!"

During a Feb. 11 hunting trip in Texas, Cheney accidentally peppered a lawyer and hunting mate in the torso, neck and face with shotgun pellets. The shooting was not fatal and was ruled an accident.

Rising-Moore said he travels the country often, protesting at events involving President Bush and Cheney. He said they are warmongers and that all U.S. troops overseas should be brought home.

In 2003, a jury acquitted Rising-Moore of battery with injury and resisting law enforcement. The charges stemmed from a protest against President Bush, who was visiting Indianapolis to promote his tax-cut plan.

One man poked fun at Cheney's visit by walking around in an orange hunting vest with a target imprinted on the back. He also wore an orange hunting cap with two fake, plastic quail attached to it.

Tickets for the luncheon and to have a photo taken with Cheney were $1,000 a person and tickets for only the luncheon were $250 each.