Thursday, August 31, 2000

Bush arrives on wings of tax cut

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        After chatting with a North Bend couple at Lunken Airport about putting $1,700 in tax cuts in their pockets, George W. Bush took off for Indian Hill Wednesday for fund-raisers that put at least $2 million in Republican coffers.

[photo] George Bush, with Gov. Bob Taft, speaks to reporters Wednesday at Lunken Airport,
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
        “We are going to cut these people's taxes,” the Texas governor said early Wednesday evening before a phalanx of TV cameras and reporters on the tarmac of Lunken Airport.

        At his side were Fred and Rebecca Cross of North Bend and their two children — 2-year-old Emily and 10-year-old Samantha. They had just spent about five minutes with Mr. Bush on board the Bush-Cheney campaign plane.

        Mr. Cross is a printer; Mrs. Cross is a clerical worker. Last year, they made $46,592 and paid $2,692 in federal income taxes.

        Mr. Bush said that under his plan, which would use about $2 trillion of federal budget surpluses for broad-based tax cuts, the Crosses would pay only $750 in federal income tax.

        “Under my opponent's plan, they will get no tax relief,” Mr. Bush said.

        Democratic nominee Al Gore has proposed about $500 billion in targeted tax cuts that would include tax credits for child care and college costs.

        The meeting with the Crosses was tacked on to the Bush schedule about 24 hours before he landed at Lunken to go to Indian Hill for three fund-raising events at the homes of two of his former business partners, Mercer Reynolds III and William O. DeWitt Jr.

        It was the local GOP's job to find a family for Mr. Bush to meet with and talk about the tax-cut plan, as he has done at other campaign stops over the past week. Mrs. Cross said her sister-in-law recommended the family to her friend, Hamilton County Recorder Rebecca Prem Groppe, who passed the Crosses' names along to the party.

  Money raised at two receptions and a dinner at the Indian Hill homes of George W. Bush friends Mercer Reynolds III and William O. DeWitt Jr. will be shared by:
 • The Bush-Cheney campaign.
 • The Ohio Republican Party.
 • The Hamilton County Republican Party.
        “It was a surprise,” Mrs. Cross said after the meeting. “It's been pretty exciting. He's a very nice man, very warm.”

        There were no public campaign events scheduled for the Cincinnati trip, although about three dozen Bush supporters — including families with children and older couples — came down to the Million Air terminal at Lunken in hopes of seeing and meeting the GOP candidate. They were turned away by Bush campaign staff and Secret Service.

        Among them were insurance agent Paul Johnson and his wife Betty of Verona, Ky., who came with a bedsheet-sized sign saying, “George W. Stops Al at the OK Corral Nov. 7.”

        “I'm kind of disappointed,” Mr. Johnson said. “I guess I'll take the sign home and put it up where people can see it from the highway.”

        After the meeting with the Crosses and a brief press conference on the Lunken tarmac, Mr. Bush headed for Indian Hill, where sources close to the campaign say at least $2 million was raised for the Bush campaign and GOP party committees.

        “Cincinnati is a place where I should do well,” Mr. Bush said at Lunken Wednesday. “Republicans haven't done that well in Ohio lately. We plan to change that.”

        Bill Clinton won the state in the last two Presidential elections. No Republican has ever been elected president without Ohio's electoral votes.

        Mr. Bush spent the night at Mr. Reynolds' Indian Hill home. He is scheduled to be at a high school near Toledo this morning and another high school near Louisville this afternoon.

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