FAIRLAWN, Ohio - Vice President Dick Cheney told a paying crowd of about 300 last night in suburban Akron that that the war against terrorism will continue until “every enemy who plots against the American people is confronted and defeated.”
“The al-Qaeda terrorists and their supporters spent years plotting the attacks of Sept. 11,” said. “In the time since, they've begun to realize what a grave miscalculation it was making an enemy of this country and an enemy of this president,” he said.
“To date we have captured or killed nearly half of the al-Qaeda leadership,” he said. “Those still at large are living in fear and their fears are well founded, because we are on their trail.”
Mr. Cheney received his strongest reaction from the crowd when talking about the war, even as protestors outside the Fairlawn Hotel criticized the war on Iraq and Bush policies on education, energy, and the environment.
Last night's appearance in Ohio and an event yesterday morning in Grand Rapids, Mich., however, were as much about cash as policy. Mr. Cheney raised a total of about $1.1 million for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign in a matter of hours, contributing to an estimated $27 million to $30 million that the campaign was expected to announce it had raised during its first quarter.
He raised about $600,000 in Ohio from people who paid $1,000 for a reception and a 20-minute speech and $2,000 for the opportunity to be photographed with the vice president.
“There has never been so much money raised in our area in one event when the contribution level restrictions are considered,” Timkin Co. Chairman Tim Timkin, Ohio finance co-chairman for the Bush campaign.
In Grand Rapids, the vice president raised about $500,000 in a reception for those paying a flat $1,000 per person. He raised about $1.7 million in appearances in Richmond and Boston last week.
The midwest events have not garnered the national attention accorded his boss in events yesterday in Tampa and Miami, Fla., where President Bush raised an estimated $2 million, even as no clear frontrunner has emerged among the field of Democratic challengers. Mr. Bush will visit Ohio for the 10th time since becoming president on Friday, making an appearance in a Dayton celebration of the Wright Brothers.
“With 9/11, the War on Terrorism, the threats posed by Saddam Hussein - I don't know about you but I thank God every single night that George Bush is our president and not the other guy,” said Gov. Bob Taft, state chairman of the Bush campaign.
Mr. Bush carried Ohio by 4 percentage points over Al Gore in 2000 after the Gore campaign had written off the state as a lost cause. Mr. Cheney vowed that the GOP campaign would “run hard” in Ohio.