Topeka Gov. Bill Graves canceled his appearance and speech Thursday at a meeting on children's issues so he could attend a holiday reception at the White House, a spokesman said.
Graves and other White House guests were to be briefed by advisers to President Bush, but "the key purpose of the trip is the holiday reception," said Graves' spokesman Don Brown.
"When the White House calls, that's a call you generally take. He felt it was in his best interest to go to the White House," Brown said of the governor.
Graves was scheduled to deliver the opening remarks at a meeting called Connecting with Kids. The event was sponsored by the Kansas Health Foundation.
But Graves handed off the duties to Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer.
Brown said Graves changed his schedule after the White House invited him to the holiday reception. Brown said Graves checked with Sherrer to make sure the lieutenant governor was available to stand in for him.
Graves went alone, flying to Washington, D.C., on the state airplane and was scheduled to return later Thursday evening. Brown said he did not know if the cost of the trip would be reimbursed by Graves or paid by taxpayers.
Staff writer Scott Rothschild can be reached at (785) 354-4222.