Video: Russert analysis

updated 9/17/2004 3:02:15 PM ET 2004-09-17T19:02:15

President Bush is dusting off his fund-raiser-in-chief hat and resuming the task of collecting campaign cash for himself and other Republican candidates.

He was raising money Friday in Washington and North Carolina and, while down south, was holding an event designed to boost his standing among women voters.

Bush also rolled out a TV ad that contrasts his economic plan with Kerry’s, arguing that “liberals in Congress and Kerry’s plan” would raise taxes on small businesses, which would “hurt jobs, hurt small business and hurt our economy.”

A new radio spot features Jay Moccia, a law enforcement officer from Kerry’s home state of Massachusetts who claims that Kerry “and his liberal buddies in Congress want to make all the decisions for you, and then stick you with the bill.”

Bush last appeared at a fund-raiser Aug. 13 in Seattle, and has spent far less time raising money in recent months than campaigning.

Both he and Democratic challenger John Kerry have accepted $75 million in taxpayer money for the general campaign, but the GOP and Democratic parties will spend tens of millions more and the candidates continue to help raise that cash. The parties can spend roughly $16 million each in coordination with their presidential nominees, and unlimited amounts independent of them.

Bush was to attend a Republican Party fund-raiser at a Washington hotel before another at the Charlotte, N.C., home of C.D. Spangler Jr., a retired banker and former president of the University of North Carolina system. The Charlotte fund-raiser also will benefit the campaign of GOP Rep. Richard Burr, who is running for an open Senate seat against Democrat Erskine Bowles, a former chief of staff to President Clinton.

Talking comp time
In between, Bush was to talk up the benefits to women of his policies on comp time, job training, welfare-to-work, medical malpractice lawsuits and other issues.

The event has Bush campaigning in the home state of Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, a senator from North Carolina. The Kerry-Edwards ticket has been campaigning aggressively there in hopes of putting the state’s 15 electoral votes in play, though it was last carried by a Democrat in 1976 and Bush easily won there in 2000.

Polls last month showed Bush with a narrow lead in the state.

Bush, who aims to put North Carolina out of contention before Kerry boosts his advertising spending there, was last in the state in July, for another fund-raiser.

From North Carolina, Bush was traveling to his family’s compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, where he was spending the weekend. He leaves Sunday to visit hurricane-ravaged Alabama and Florida before returning to Washington.

The hastily arranged Gulf Coast visit forced aides to shelve plans for Bush to attend a NASCAR race and campaign event in New Hampshire on Sunday. The campaign event in Derry, N.H., is now scheduled for Monday.

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