Dumbya goes cheerleading to help another one of his corporate criminal buddies take over California

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Questions on Calif. Candidate Dog Bush

Fri Aug 23, 3:46 PM ET

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) - President Bush ( news - web sites) began a two-day California crisscross in search of cash for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon's ailing campaign by complimenting the candidate's business experience, unswayed by questions about how a fraud verdict against Simon's investment firm squares with Bush's tough talk on corporate crooks.

At a fund-raiser at an airport hangar here transformed with plants, draperies and formal china into an elegant luncheon venue Bush called Simon "the next governor" and "a breath of fresh air" that California desperately needs.

"It's your money and you better have somebody who understands that, that concept, and somebody who will watch the budget," Bush said. "Bill Simon is a proven businessman who can get that done."

Speculation had run high in this politically important state that Bush wanted no public side-by-side viewing of the pair after William E. Simon & Sons, controlled by Simon's family, was slapped with a $78 million civil penalty last month.

But Simon led the receiving line when Bush stepped off Air Force One in Stockton. Although Simon was traveling on Bush's plane southward, he did not join the presidential motorcade to nor was he mentioned during an earlier public campaign-style welcome rally at the historic Stockton Memorial Civil Auditorium.

After the lunch, Bush headed to Orange County in Southern California to harvest more much-needed political money for Simon at a private evening reception. Saturday morning would find the president again hitting up Republican donors over breakfast in Los Angeles.

The White House was calculating that canceling the private events, which had been scheduled before the verdict, would be worse for Bush in a state he is hoping to cultivate.

Indeed, Bush's top political strategist suggested the president's time in California had as much, if not more to do, with Bush's own prospects in 2004 as Simon's in November because of the grass-roots organizing that presidential attention can mobilize.

"It's a state that if you ignore, you get what you play for nothing," said Karl Rove. "This is a big state and a big important race."

Simon was not named in the suit and says he thinks the verdict, which is being appealed, will be overturned.

Bush said a day earlier he believes him. "Bill Simon assures us that when the courts look at this case he'll be innocent, and I take the man for his word," Bush said Thursday while in Oregon on another fund-raising swing.

And the president wasted no time before reprising his oft-repeated zero-tolerance of boardroom fraud.

"Like you all, I took a look out there and saw a problem and the problem is we had some folks who were trying to fudge the numbers. We had some people who decided they weren't going to tell the truth when it came to their assets and liabilities," Bush said. "It's an American idea to hold people accountable who betray the public's trust and that's what we're going to do."

Bush has recently ramped up an already record-shattering fund-raising effort on behalf of GOP politicians. Over the course of three days, he has helped raise more than $5.3 million.

The flurry of activity benefiting Simon had Democrats hardly able to contain themselves. The man Simon is trying to unseat, Democratic Gov. Gray Davis ( news - web sites), scheduled a bill-signing for Friday on three measures toughening the state's corporate accountability laws.

Back in Washington, Democratic National Committee ( news - web sites) spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said "Bush's hypocrisy is galling" as he raises money for Simon while championing corporate responsibility at every opportunity.

-- (corporate scumbags @ taking. over government), August 23, 2002

Answers

Davis is also set to sign into law a bill granting California driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

-- Carlos (riffraff@cybertime.net), August 23, 2002.

Good idea. That way when they smash into your car with no insurance at least the government will be able to track them and make them abide by the system.

-- (better than letting them run amok @ without. any responsibility), August 23, 2002.

They can also vote provided they only vote for the Democratic candidate.

-- dr. pibb (drpibb@new.formula), August 24, 2002.

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