Bush Visits Southland Today
Roads in the area of the San Diego (405) Freeway and Sunset Boulevard To Be Closed From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
President Bush travels to the Southland to raise money for the GOP, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger, a fellow Republican, downplayed reports of his irritation over the visit.
With the president's staff apparently having disregarded a request by the governor to delay the California visit, Bush is scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport this afternoon at the start of a two-day visit.
Following his arrival, Bush will present the President's Volunteer Service Award to Dr. Raymond Goodman, thanking him for his work the past three years as volunteer medical director of the Medical Reserve Corps of Los Angeles, whose members are trained as auxiliary emergency responders, the White House announced.
Then, the president will go to a Beverly Hills-area home for a fund-raiser, attended by 100 couples, at which the Republican National Committee is expected to raise million.
The governor will not be at the event, nor is he scheduled to join Bush at any other stop.
Campaigning for his four initiatives on the Nov. 8 ballot, Schwarzenegger expressed regret over the timing of the president's visit, which stands to reduce the pool of cash available to the governor.
"We would have appreciated if he would have done his fundraising after the Nov. 8 election, because you know we need now all the money in the world," he said in Anaheim yesterday.
"We want to make sure that we win, that we can have our TV spots out there on television, which is very important."
In Thousand Oaks today, however, Schwarzenegger -- a moderate in the Republican party -- rejected suggestions the issue has created a rift between him and Bush.
"First of all, I think it's very important not to make a big deal out of it, because it's not," he said.
"President Bush is always welcome to California. I've made it very clear that I have a great working releationship. They've been very helpful since I've come into office with health care, education, with the border situation, with all kinds of issues. I've talked to him many times, and that's the end of that."
Asked by a reporter about if the president was "dismissive" of his request to delay the fund-raiser, Schwarzenegger laughed.
"I love the way you dramatize things. `They are very dismissive of that.' Look, if you try to create a fight between Bush and me, it won't happen. Because we're all on the same side."
But the governor turned down Bush's invitation to join him tomorrow morning to dedicate the new Air Force One exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. He said he could not attend because he and his staff were "very busy in our campaigning up and down the state."
Rob Stutzman, communications director in Schwarzenegger's campaign, added in remarks to the Los Angeles Times that the governor is scheduled to fulfill a "long-standing commitment" to attend tomorrow's board meeting in Los Angeles of After-School All-Stars, a youth program he founded.
White House spokesman Ken Lisaius declined to respond to Schwarzenegger's comments on fundraising but told The Times that Bush "looks forward to working with him on matters of mutual concern in the future."
"The president shares the governor's sentiment that the two enjoy a positive and good working relationship with one another," Lisaius said. For Schwarzenegger, Bush's refusal to delay his trip was particularly irksome because the governor had put himself out for Bush in the tight 2004 presidential contest, according to The Times.
Schwarzenegger spoke at the Republican National Convention in New York and campaigned for Bush again in the last days of the campaign in Ohio, where victory ensured the president's reelection. Both appearances are seen in California as having punctured the governor's nonpartisan appeal and contributed to his falling job approval ratings, according to The Times.
Stutzman told The Times that the governor's staff recognized that it was tough to change the president's schedule, but "we do think our concerns were voiced early enough that there could have been accommodation." "We're disappointed they came in to raise money two and a half weeks before the election," Stutzman said.
Meanwhile, westside commuters should be prepared for traffic delays thanks to Bush's visit. Freeway closures are being planned on the San Diego (405) Freeway near Sunset Boulevard between 4 and 8 p.m. today, and between 7 and 11 a.m. tomorrow to make way for the presidential motorcade.
The exact motorcade route was not released for security reasons.
Copyright © 2005 KABC-TV and the Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.