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Bush's Money Machine: Presidential Fundraising
Aired June 17, 2003 - 20:17 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Politics and money. Down in Washington tonight, Republicans paid $2,000 apiece to eat hamburgers, hot dogs and nachos. You might get the food was not the main attraction of the get together. The real purpose was to raise money for President Bush's reelection campaign, and the president himself was the featured speaker. Take a look.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your support is laying the groundwork for a strong nationwide effort next year. Your support is going to help us achieve a strong nationwide victory.
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COOPER: Well, tonight's event was just the start of the presidents fundraising efforts. He's going to be traveling to 10 cities in the coming days and weeks. You can see the map right there. Tonight's events raised $3.5 million.
Our Jonathan Karl is watching the money roll in.
BUSH: Thank you all for coming.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Bush's fund-raising juggernaut is driven by a small army of well connected supporters who have promised to raise at least $200,000 each. People like Washington lobbyist Wayne Berman.
WAYNE BERMAN, BUSH FUND-RAISER: I think it's possible the president will raise more money in his first -- you can say a month really of fund-raising than the Democrats have been able to raise combined. All nine of them.
KARL: That's a staggering fact considering the days of unlimited million contributions are over. Under new campaign finance laws, no donor can give more than $2,000. Even so, the president expects to raise at least $170 million for his campaign. That's a lot of $2,000 checks.
(on camera): How hard is it to sell for you to get up and pony up the $2,000? BERMAN: It's not a hard sell at all. The most difficult thing is finding somebody who hasn't been called by someone else who's raising money.
KARL: So what do you do when You're making calls, you're asking people to contribute, what's your pitch?
BERMAN: Well, my pitch is, you know, pretty straight forward. The president has done a fantastic job of leading the country. He needs your support, and I would appreciate it if you would write a check and send it into the campaign. I hope you'll come to the event and listen to what the president has to say.
KARL: People like you raised $100,000 last time, $200,000. What do you get in return?
BERMAN: Last time, you got a chance to buy some good cufflinks. I -- didn't -- I should have worn them today to show them to you. You had to pay for them, but they were very attractive.
And don't know what the goody is this time. I'm sure it will be cufflinks or maybe, this time, we'll get -- maybe get a necktie or something. But you don't get anything. You get to participate in the process. And you get to feel as if you contributed to supporting somebody you believe in.
KARL: The Democrats concede Republicans will have a massive money advantage going into the next election, but they say whoever the eventual Democratic presidential nominee is will have enough money to stay competitive -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Jonathan Karl, thank very much for the report.
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