President Bush Raises Half a Million Dollars for Bilirakis

President Bush
TAMPA -

An estimated 300 supporters paid $1,000 each to hear President Bush speak and even more for a photograph with him.

The beneficiary was Congressional candidate Gus Bilirarkis.

BILIRAKIS: I m proud to stand on this stage with the president just as my father stood with the president s father in 1982 during his first run for Congress.

President Bush acknowledged that Gus Bilirakis is running for the same seat that his father has occupied for 24 years.

BUSH: There s nothing wrong with a son following in his father s footsteps.

Less than a mile away - in a symbolic gesture - the Democratic Congressional candidate for District 9, Phyllis Busansky, bought lunch for about 30 citizens whose home insurance has increased more than $1,000 a year.

President Bush opened his remarks by citing a few things he and Bilirakis have in common - such as as strong mother. The president then looked into the standing audience and addressed Mrs. Bilirakis directly.

BUSH: When I ran into Mrs. Bilirakis earlier, she said to me - this is in Washington - she says, 'My boy's running, and you get down there as quickly as you can and help him.' Isn't that right? I'm proud to be with you. Thanks for serving. You married a good man and he served his district well, as will his son. And I'm proud to be here with Congresswoman Katherine Harris, running for the United States Senate.

That one sentence appears to have mended the rift between Harris and GOP leaders, who for months tried to find another candidate to run against the incumbent, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

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