President Bush Visits Charleston

By: Laurabree Austin, Jennifer Cottrill, Larry Shields
By: Laurabree Austin, Jennifer Cottrill, Larry Shields
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It was a very short visit to Charleston on Wednesday, but it was long enough to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. President George W. Bush was in Charleston today to support congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito.

Local republican leaders say about 275 people attend – each paying $2,100 apiece! President Bush arrived just after four this afternoon and just over two hours later he was gone. While there were plenty of protesters, those who support him enjoyed the opportunity to catch even just a quick glimpse.

As Air Force One touched down at Yeager Airport in Charleston a number of republican state legislators got a quick introduction and one very special citizen got more than that. Joe Dailey was given with the president's volunteer service award. “This is a guy, one of the most powerful men in world and he says thanks for volunteering that's pretty nice” said Mr. Dailey.

Security was tight at airport, the event, and the route between the two. The motorcade drove the wrong way down the Kanawha Boulevard at a very high rate of speed and even down one way streets to and from South Hills Even a U.S. Coast Guard boat sped along the Kanawha River with the president's motorcade as it traveled along Kanawha Boulevard. Jeff Hewitt stood along the motorcade route in South Hills he says “Wouldn't miss the president for anything. Would have gone tonight if I could have”.

It wasn't just supporters along the motorcade route. Protesters were also out today to greet the president. Members of the group "Patriots For Peace" lined the Southside bridge holding signs this afternoon. Those lining the bridge had their own message for the president. The group had their own dinner at Davis Park serving a bean dinner for $4.20.

The guests parked at George Washington High School and were all chauffeured on KRT buses back and forth to the Louden Heights Home. So with the big price tag did the people who paid it think it was worth it? Laura Lemmon from Charleston cut a check for tonight event she liked the event “It was incredible, quite an honor to see the president in West Virginia… I got to have my picture taken with him and Christmas cards are ready this year!”

One woman who attended the event was going to let us show some of the pictures she took inside -- until one of the organizers told her it was a private event and discouraged her from sharing them with us. Donnie Adkins drove from Beckley to see the president, she says “the president made a great speech it was a great time”.

President Bush stopped at a Lemonade stand set up along Louden Heights Road. He joked with the Press Corps traveling with him saying “anyone thirsty?” The kids working there didn't have to pay thousands of dollars for their photo op, it fact it cost the president fifty cents which they kids donated to the American Red Cross.

Once the president arrived back at the airport he gave a very quick wave to the cameras and within minutes Air Force One was back up in the air and headed back to Washington D.C.

Shelley Moore Capito wasn’t the only one raising money on Wednesday. Her democratic challenger Mike Callaghan had his own fundraiser dinner tonight. Supporters held a dinner pool side at a home on Virginia Street.

The price for his dinner much lower - $42.00 per couple instead of $4,200. Callaghan was in attendance tonight and he says this fundraiser is different than the one in South Hills. His dinner was open to the public. "This dinner is about the people of West Virginia... not the1% that showed up in South Hills tonight" said Callaghan.

Both dinners tonight will add to each candidate’s campaign accounts. When both candidates reported their totals last week - Capito had more than $1,000,000 on hand compared Callahan’s $26,000. All candidates are required to report campaign fund raising four times per year.

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