President Starts Fund-raising Tour

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and wife Lynne Cheney are fanning out in four states to raise campaign cash for Republicans seeking House seats.

Bush travels Monday to Dearborn, Mich., to collect money for state Sen. Thaddeus McCotter, the GOP nominee for a new congressional seat.

Democrats need to gain just seven House seats to capture a majority, and the president is determined to thwart them.

Bush's first planned stop, however, is an airport rally with Michigan Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus, the Republican nominee for governor.

The vice president, meanwhile, heads to Phoenix to raise cash for Republican Rick Renzi, a Flagstaff developer locked in a tight race for Arizona's new 1st District seat. Cheney later headlines an event in Roswell, N.M., for House candidate Steve Pearce.

Mrs. Cheney was traveling to Glen Burnie, Md., near Baltimore, to bring in money for Helen Bentley, who served five terms in Congress before giving up the seat for an unsuccessful bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 1994.

Even as the administration prepares for possible war with Iraq, Bush's record-breaking fund-raising campaign continues to hum along.

Monday will be the president's 64th fund-raiser, Cheney's 68th and 69th and Mrs. Cheney's sixth.

Bush alone has raked in more than $136 million, compared with the $50 million President Clinton collected in the midterm election year of 1994. Cheney has raised $29 million.

The trip is Bush's seventh as president to Michigan, a state rich in electoral votes -- and one he lost to Al Gore in 2000. The White House said the GOP will foot the bill.