Bush raises money for GOP House candidates

July 18, 2008 6:36:48 PM PDT
President Bush, in the second half of a Southwestern fundraising trip Friday, backed the candidacy of Republican Pete Olson, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Nick Lampson in Texas' 22nd congressional district.

"It sure is good to be back in Houston, Texas," Bush said, standing alongside Olson on the tarmac at Houston's Ellington Field. "I'm proud to support him."

Bush rattled off Olson's resume, then called him a "smart guy" who knows how to address challenging issues facing the nation, such as terrorism and dependence on foreign oil.

"One thing is for certain, we need to explore for more oil and gas here at home," Bush said in a push to get Congress to lift a ban on offshore drilling to help increase domestic oil production.

"People are worried about the high gasoline prices. One way to take the pressure off gasoline prices is to make it clear that the United States is going to be active about finding crude oil and natural gas right here in our own hemisphere, in our own country, and I'm convinced we can do so in an environmentally friendly way," Bush said.

Olson's campaign declined to disclose the amount of money Bush helped raise for Olson at a private reception in an upscale Houston neighborhood.

In Tucson, Ariz., earlier Friday, Bush spoke at a $500,000 fundraiser for Tim Bee, president of the Arizona Senate. Bee is running against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a moderate Democrat from Arizona's 8th congressional district.

So far this year, Bush has raised more than $70 million for Republicans.