“I Have to Wash My Hair, Mr. President”

Illustration by: Steve Wacksman

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[See a PDF of this chart from the magazine]

There’s no bigger boon to a political campaign than a fundraising visit from the president—except when that president has an approval rating in the mid-30s. Then it takes footwork worthy of Dancing With the Stars to avoid sharing the stage with him. Not all Republicans have been as candid as Illinois gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka, who stood by
as an aide explained why they did not want President Bush to campaign with Topinka: “We just want him to raise money. Late at night. In an undisclosed location.”

CANDIDATE

EVENT

EXCUSE

REP. THELMA DRAKE
(R-Va.)

Bush-headlined $500,000 fundraiser for Drake in Virginia Beach on May 19

Had to be in Washington to vote on an appropriations bill—which passed 395-0

SENATOR MIKE DEWINE
(R-Ohio)

Bush speech to Cleveland’s
City Club on March 20

Had to accompany his dad to watch spring training in Florida

Maryland LT. GOVERNOR MICHAEL STEELE, running for Senate

Bush-headlined Maryland GOP fundraiser on May 31

Had another fundraiser, 2,400 miles away in Las Vegas

MIKE MCGAVICK, running for Senate in Washington

Bush speech at Seattle fundraiser on June 16

Attending his son’s high school graduation in Pennsylvania—the previous day

THOMAS KEAN JR., running for Senate in New Jersey

Cheney speech praising Kean at a $400,000 fundraiser in Newark on March 20

Stuck in traffic (Kean took perennially clogged Route 1 instead of the faster New Jersey Turnpike)

THE END...

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