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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Bush’s political might wanes

K.C. visit likely a rarity for this campaign season

September 9, 2006

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— President Bush made an hourslong fund-raising visit here Friday to support an incumbent Republican Missouri senator locked in a tight race.

With most polls putting Bush's job approval ratings in the high 30s percent range, some pundits say it may be not be an easy decision to call on Bush for political muscle in congressional races. But Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., did Friday for a third time.

"I'm not surprised, but I do think they probably thought about whether it was the right thing to do," said Allan Cigler, a Kansas University professor of political science.

But the visit also came one day before former President Clinton will attend a St. Louis fundraiser for Talent's Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill.

Upon arrival and amid tight security, Bush stepped down from Air Force One and waved to a crowd of about 30 special guests at 3:40 p.m. on a runway at Kansas City International Airport.

After posing for a few photographs and waving one last time, Bush entered a black limousine with adviser Karl Rove and headed to a $1,000-per-ticket private fundraiser for Talent at the home of Scott Ward, co-president of Russell Stover Candies.

President Bush made a quick visit Friday to Kansas City, Mo., appearing at a fundraiser for Sen. Jim Talent, a Missouri Republican seeking re-election. Some political observers say candidates may shy away from the president because of his lower job approval ratings.

President Bush made a quick visit Friday to Kansas City, Mo., appearing at a fundraiser for Sen. Jim Talent, a Missouri Republican seeking re-election. Some political observers say candidates may shy away from the president because of his lower job approval ratings.

Cigler said Bush probably still is more popular in Missouri, particularly conservative southern Missouri, than other spots in the nation.

"I guess Talent has made a decision that the likelihood of raising big money outweighs any negative consequences," Cigler said.

Kansas races

Representatives from the candidates now locked in U.S. House races in the two Kansas districts that include Lawrence said they didn't foresee Bush coming to Kansas before the November election. They gave varying reasons.

"This campaign is so different than two years ago when Bush's ratings were still pretty solid, but Kansans have just seen through the empty rhetoric and they are ready for change," said Nancy Boyda, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 2nd District, which includes west Lawrence.

Boyda said the Bush administration and Congress have failed to do anything about the country's health care situation. They also bear responsibility for the invasion of Iraq, which, she says, has not made the country safer since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"My guess is that as close as Jim Ryun's votes have been to Bush that the last thing he needs is George Bush here campaigning for him," she said. "He's trying to distance himself from George Bush, but that's not going to be easy for him."

Ryun's campaign manager, Jeffrey Black, said the district's political climate is still friendly to Bush - and to Ryun, a Republican seeking his sixth congressional term who has supported the administration.

President Bush's visit was a special occasion for Will, 2, and Bryan Hedges of Lawrence, who were able to watch Air Force One's arrival and departure and tour the plane. Bryan Hedges' sister-in-law, Sarah Penny, is an aide at the White House.

President Bush's visit was a special occasion for Will, 2, and Bryan Hedges of Lawrence, who were able to watch Air Force One's arrival and departure and tour the plane. Bryan Hedges' sister-in-law, Sarah Penny, is an aide at the White House.

"Support for the president in our district is not as low as it is in the rest of the country," he said.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, have helped raise funds for Ryun so far, and the campaign has not felt the need to ask Bush, Black said.

In the 3rd District U.S. House race that includes eastern Lawrence, incumbent Democrat Dennis Moore is facing Republican nominee Chuck Ahner, a senior vice president and chief technology officer for PNC Bank Overland Park.

Because Ahner is a challenger, Bush is less likely to actively campaign in the district, said Bryan Sanders, a spokesman for Ahner's campaign.

But Ahner has been critical of the Washington status quo, particularly spending.

"Chuck believes we have to get our fiscal house in order," Sanders said. "He believes Bush ought to have vetoed some of the appropriations bills and really pressured Congress to cut back on wasteful spending."

Rebecca Black, a Moore spokeswoman, said the campaign had no comment on Bush's visit to the area because the president stopped in Missouri and not Kansas.

Cigler, the KU political scientist, said GOP leaders might believe it is a waste of resources to have Bush campaigning in any Kansas races with a Republican incumbent.

The Penny family, all of lawrence, Bill Penny, left, and wife Marlene pose with their daughter, Laura Hedges, top, and her husband, Bryan, right, and their children, Will and Faith, before touring Air Force One on Friday in Kansas City, Mo.

The Penny family, all of lawrence, Bill Penny, left, and wife Marlene pose with their daughter, Laura Hedges, top, and her husband, Bryan, right, and their children, Will and Faith, before touring Air Force One on Friday in Kansas City, Mo.

"It's hard to tell, but I would think none of these people need any help," he said of the incumbents.

'A big bird'

One Lawrence family stood on a platform Friday afternoon as Air Force One halted on the runway.

"Good grief that's a big bird. That's a big airplane," Bill Penny said.

The Pennys were able to tour Air Force One while Bush left to speak at the fundraiser. Their daughter Sarah, a 1995 Lawrence High School and 1999 Kansas University graduate, works as an aide in the Oval Office and has worked in the White House since June 2001.

Sarah's brother, Scott, who will soon leave for the University of Oregon on a track and field scholarship, admired the presidential jet before he toured it.

"It's kind of a symbol of the power of the U.S. It's definitely an icon for the country," he said.

Bush's motorcade returned to KCI about 6:30 p.m., and Bush posed for a photograph with the family of Tech. Sgt. David Crowe, the Air Force One crew chief, who is soon retiring. The family will move to Omaha from Maryland.

Comments

paladin 7 years, 7 months ago

Please try to understand that the oligarchs, or any group of elite oppressors (US in Iraq?), want to have the People fighting amongst themselves, whether about ideology or religion or money or property or whatever, because it weakens them. If the People are fighting each other, then they won't come after them. This is by design and is no accident. Get beyond yourselves and think and interact and act for the common good, in order for all to benefit. If all do not, then nobody will.

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Tom Shewmon 7 years, 7 months ago

drewdun, when did I say that (you're third par. quote)?

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drewdun 7 years, 7 months ago

"But to compare the dem leadership of Pelosie, Reid, Dean, Kennedy, Shumer, and the dem presidential candidates like Kerry makes me glad this country isn't lead by any of them" - jim

Yeah, those Dems sure have got us into a pickle, haven't they?

I wonder if its a biological condition that prevents Republicans from ever acknowledging the failures that they have instigated and presided over.

"Let's not talk about reality, about how it was us in power for the last five years, about record deficits, Iraq, 45 million uninsured, etc. Let's instead employ our favorite tactics: evade, shift blame, disregard reality, and above all, never ever take responsibility for [obvious] failures." - Right-winger

I think these boards are hilarious, and they provide a public service, in that one can see the inner workings of a typical right-wing mind. Case in point, the insane ramblings from the recently revived rt. I especially love this quote, "They just are a small majority of far-left, mostly athiests that just hate GWB, who is waging a spiritual war of Good vs. Evil." First off, 'a small majority?' That's priceless. Seriously, what kind of a mind produces rubbish like this? And 'Howeird' Dean doesn't think terrorists are evil? I mean, come on. Do you have a port in the back of your head, Matrix-style, where right-wing talking points and ludicrous myths can be piped directly from Rove et al. to your brain?

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LivedinLawrence4Life 7 years, 7 months ago

Tychoman, thanks for noticing the repeated joke. By the way, your bathroom joke earlier wasn't funny either. By the way, I wish you the best of luck with your music career.

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Tychoman 7 years, 7 months ago

Big deal if he or she doesn't ride around in AF1, livedin. That joke wasn't funny the first time it was made and it's not funny the second time.

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Tom Shewmon 7 years, 7 months ago

You are right sbwsow, the article is run-of-the-mill stuff...it's the local reaction of some I suppose is what's a little humorous.

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LivedinLawrence4Life 7 years, 7 months ago

I hope that when a Democrat is elected that she listens to all of you who think that Air Force One costs to much to fly. Perhaps she will fly coach on commercial airlines or travel around the U.S. in a Toyota hybrid with the windows down.

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swbsow 7 years, 7 months ago

This article says disagrees with you, Pilgrim.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A42530-2002May19?language=printer

It is from 2002 but the rules governing who pays what has not changed since then.

Let me point you to a particularly telling paragraph.

"And because Bush is always the president -- whether acting as commander in chief or head of the Republican Party -- taxpayers pay the full $57,000-an-hour cost of flying Air Force One regardless of the trip's purpose. The government also pays for most of his entourage and for the military and communications gear and evacuation helicopters that travel ahead of him."

And you know what? Both parties do this and it still doesn't make it right. But what tends to bother me more about Bush doing it, is that he has already spent us back into a huge deficit.

It is bad enough that Clinton did it even though he had a budget surplus but don't you think it is even worse that someone is doing it when we are in deep debt?

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swbsow 7 years, 7 months ago

Pilgram wrote:

"Yeah, that's Talent's cut. The rest comes from the RNC. I suspect your little Q&A article accidentally on purpose left out that little tidbit."

Did you read the article? Also please note the question that was asked: ""Does the Republican Party or Talent's campaign pay for this political jaunt?"

If you have proof that shows the RNC and no tax payer money paid for the difference between the Talent's contribution and the rest of the tab, I'd like to see it.

right_thinker, I would assume the stir in the local papers would be because the President visited their town. Just as all local papers report that a prominent figure is visiting their town or a town nearby.

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Pilgrim 7 years, 7 months ago

Posted by swbsow (anonymous) on September 9, 2006 at 6:31 p.m.

The Federal Election Commission requires Talent's campaign to pay only the equivalent of a first-class air ticket for all political travelers on Air Force One. So Talent's few thousand dollars won't begin to cover the cost of bringing in that Boeing 747, Secret Service agents, nonpolitical staff and two limos.


Yeah, that's Talent's cut. The rest comes from the RNC. I suspect your little Q&A article accidentally on purpose left out that little tidbit.

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Tom Shewmon 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm amused that we are discussing such an innocuous event as a sitting president stumping in KCMO. What is so unique about this trip? Just because some don't like GWB? chuckling

Really. The space this article took up would have been put to better use with ads or maybe a recipe on how to make margaritas or 7-layer dip.

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swbsow 7 years, 7 months ago

Livedinlawrence wrote:

"Hey Scott3460,

Are you serious? You bash a local family just because they got to see the plane that all President's get to use."

Scott Ward who is co-president of Russell Stovers (his brother Tom is the other co-president) hosted the the $1000/person funderaiser at his home.

Further from http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/15476318.htm

"Who is Scott Ward, the host of the fundraiser?

He's the co-president of Russell Stover Candies. He and other members of the Ward family are longtime contributors to the Republican Party and Republican causes: Since 1998, he's given more than $57,000 to Republican candidates and committees, according to a campaign cash Web site."

Also, taxpayers did help pay for the trip to KCMO. From the same Q&A article:

"Does the Republican Party or Talent's campaign pay for this political jaunt?

Bush is doing a lot of flying and fundraising, trying to keep the GOP in control of the Congress. And you're helping the president elect Republicans, just as you helped his predecessor elect Democrats.

The Federal Election Commission requires Talent's campaign to pay only the equivalent of a first-class air ticket for all political travelers on Air Force One. So Talent's few thousand dollars won't begin to cover the cost of bringing in that Boeing 747, Secret Service agents, nonpolitical staff and two limos.

As usual, Kansas City police officers provided security "as part of their normal workday," said spokesman Rich Lockhart. "There will be no additional overtime costs."

However, Mr. Lockhart, if you take away police officers from their normal duties of patrolling the city & fighting local crime to provide security for Pres. Bush and his crew, then you have shorted Kansas City of its normal police protection.

And I'm not even going to start on the horrible traffic nightmare Bush's motorcade caused for those trying to get home during rush hour.

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Tom Shewmon 7 years, 7 months ago

I see Laura gave the command at the commissioning of the USS Texas, the latest attack submarine......wonder who will be the Republican First Lady to lead the ceremony in eight or ten years when they complete the USS George W. Bush?

Is there a ship or sub in the works named after WJC yet? I don't see why not, he was a very popular president.

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jimincountry 7 years, 7 months ago

Add Durbin and Leahy to the list of dems we don't need as leaders.

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jimincountry 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm surprised that politicians want the president campaigning for them. Most republicans are down on Bush for one reason or another....Iraq, illegal imigration, whatever.

But to compare the dem leadership of Pelosie, Reid, Dean, Kennedy, Shumer, and the dem presidential candidates like Kerry makes me glad this country isn't lead by any of them.

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Tychoman 7 years, 7 months ago

Official business? Doesn't Air Force One have a bathroom?

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jimincountry 7 years, 7 months ago

The president seems really normal compared to his detractors who are freaking out here today.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 7 months ago

"Political trips, like yesterday's, are paid for by the RNC, not the taxpayer."

Maybe-- they also might have fabricated some sort of "official business" he needs to do while in MO, and the RNC would only pick up a small portion of the cost of the trip.

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local_support 7 years, 7 months ago

War of Good vs Evil? More like a war on the middle and lower classes. W has no concern for us and the disconnect between the top and bottom is so immense it's disgusting.

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Tom Shewmon 7 years, 7 months ago

Seems McCaskills ads have been much more attack-ish, can't say I've seen them all though. McCaskills' husband, Shephard had/has interest in nursing homes while she was state auditor that had egregious deficiencies and kept operating business-as-usual, not to mention how she obtained some of her campaign dollars.

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

I also predict that Talent will eke out a victory, due mostly to a barrage of very negative attack ads that we will witness in the next few months. McCaskill just doesn't have the money to keep up with the smear campaign that the Talent camp is about to unleash. I predict that the negativity of the Talent smear ads will be unprecedented and highly effective.

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Tom Shewmon 7 years, 7 months ago

These "sane" people have yet to say how they are going to be this "countrys' salvation". That is a small bit of information everyone is waiting to hear.

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paladin 7 years, 7 months ago

Thank God that there is, in this country, even now, still a "small majority" of sane, normal people who see through the falsity of "a spiritual war of Good vs. Evil" and recognize this insane fiasco for what it is, the plundering and pillaging of the resources of one weaker nation by a stronger one, which is what war has always been about in reference to invaders, and the exploitation of our own resources in order for the wealthy and powerful of this country to gain more wealth and power, at the expense and detriment of our own welfare. Ultimately, these sane people will be this country's salvation, if, indeed, we are to be saved.

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Tom Shewmon 7 years, 7 months ago

This article was contrived and serves no purpose.The majority of response to it is to be expected.

LivedinLawrence, you're talking to people who just hate GWB, it wouldn't matter what he has done. They just are a small majority of far-left, mostly athiests that just hate GWB, who is waging a spiritual war of Good vs. Evil. Howard Dean doesn't think the terrorists are evil, in fact, in his speech in Feb 05 i n Lawrence, he said GWB and Republicans were the "evil". Nothing new.

And if there ever was a crook, I promise you it's McCaskill, my wife is high-up in the healthcare industry and knows all the industry low-low....McCaskill is right in there with the likes Richard Scrushy of HealthSouth, she just slithers her way out of it all since she is herself a politician.

Missouri is a prominent swing state that will probably go with Talent. Any race that does swing left in Missouri is because the Democratic Party goes to all lengths to mobilize the black and urban vote out of essentially two counties, St. Louis and Jackson, and parts of a few others. Although, now, the black population is starting to realize the Democratic Party has sold them a bill of goods.

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Tychoman 7 years, 7 months ago

LivedinLawrence, get off your pulpit. It's not an honor that he spent some time in our area of the U.S. Have fun worshipping your president while the rest of us wait for ours in 2 years.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 7 months ago

Political trips, like yesterday's, are paid for by the RNC, not the taxpayer.

Bush's man - Talent - needed the cash more than the bad press. In Missouri, Democrats poll strongly in the cities and suburbs; Republicans are strong on the farm and (no surprise) the Ozarks. Rural areas are best reached by television advertising and that takes lots of bucks.

Since it is harder to poll rural areas accurately and all polls show the two within the margin of poll error, I'd give the nod to Talent to be re-elected. And he'd better be if the GOP has any hope to keep control of the Senate (what little worth numerical advantage gives in contrast to the House where the majority is all that matters). Democrats carry Missouri = Democrats win big.

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MadAsHell 7 years, 7 months ago

Makes me sick whan any president uses taxpayer money to fly around in Air Force 1 for political fundraiser junkets.

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observer 7 years, 7 months ago

fortunately I don't live in Mo. But if I did, this little trip would be one more reason to vote against Talent. If he needs W's help, he can't be a decent Senator.

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 7 months ago

I do not think Bush will traveling to Nebraska and Maine for fundraising trips, as Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe, both GOPers, are holding the administration's gonads to the fire about lying to justify war in Iraq.

Talent apparently passes the Bush administration's "toe line" test. One only hopes that sycophancy is not rewarded in the end.

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paladin 7 years, 7 months ago

During His interview with Charles Gibson the other night on ABC news, Emperor George was seated at his desk, aboard Air Force One. The top of the desk was completely bare. Not one memo or file-folder or post-it-note or pad or pen or even a chewing gum wrapper. Is this how He works? I find this rather telling.

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Silence_Dogood 7 years, 7 months ago

And the list of extremist-regime contributors goes on. Damn! No more Russell Stover!

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LivedinLawrence4Life 7 years, 7 months ago

Hey Scott3460,

Are you serious? You bash a local family just because they got to see the plane that all President's get to use. As for your claim about business practices, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

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LivedinLawrence4Life 7 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Bush is the President of the United States. All Presidents help with campaigning this time of year. Would you prefer that our President travel in a Toyota and make a 30 hour drive across the U.S. to cut costs or be much more efficient leading our country by continuing to work on Air Force One while traveling and only spend a few hours on the ground actually campaigning? It is an honor that he spent some time in our area of the U.S.

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scott3460 7 years, 7 months ago

Note to self:

No more Russell Stover candies.

Same goes for the Penny clique, but they have been on the list for many years as a result of their sleazy business practices, anyway.

That money going to support these right wing kooks is coming from the profits these people make doing business with us, so I'd encourage all like minded individuals to stop supporting businesses that harm our community and country in such ways.

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paladin 7 years, 7 months ago

Emperor George referred to himself the other day as the "educator-in-chief". Educate is not the same as indoctrinate. He may have been chosen for, and attempted to perform as, the "indoctrinator-in-chief', but he is no longer effective playing that role either. The Non-chief is, in reality, an incompetent clown, chosen and placed as a diversion, like the bumbling clowns at the circus, for the tragic catastrophe the U.S. has supported and encouraged and created in the Middle East. Almost everyone knew Emperor George was a sick little monkey dressed up in a little clown suit when they "elected" him. They should have been more careful. Now, the reality of our desperate situation has become, to nearly all of us, except the true-believers with their heads in the muck, that you, indeed get what you pay for and pay for what you get. The U.S. must stop the insanity ASAP, anyway, anyhow. If not, we are all doomed and this country will not survive.

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ronwell_dobbs 7 years, 7 months ago

Apparently more than the "political capital" that he claimed he earned in the 2004 election.

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Frank Smith 7 years, 7 months ago

How many hundreds of thousands of dollars, exactly, did it cost taxpayers to have Bush and his fawning entourage (including W.H. reporters) flown to a partisan political event in Kansas City?

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

April 21, 2006 U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) claimed in a letter to President George W. Bush on April 18, 2006 that the US seems to be supporting both the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJAK), an armed group associated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and based in Iraq, and the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) in insurgent activity in Iran during 2005 and in particular in killing twenty four Iranian soldiers in March 2006.

Both the PKK and the MEK are listed by the U.S. State Department and by the Council of the European Union as terrorist organizations. The FBI alleges that the National Council of Resistance of Iran is "an integral part of the MEK", i.e. essentially the same organisation as the MEK, while the NCRI itself claims that the MEK is just one of five components of the NCRI. Kucinich compared the alleged US support for insurgents against the government of Iran with Bush's previous criticisms against insurgent groups, writing to Bush, "U.S. support for insurgent activity in Iran is not tolerable. You have claimed numerous times that the object of the so-called 'War on Terror' is to target lawless insurgent groups."

Kucinich asked Bush to report to Congress both on US military operations in Iranian territory and on US use of proxy organisations in military actions against the Iranian government, stating, "Previously I asked you to immediately report to Congress on the extent of U.S. military operations currently in Iran. Now, in light of the evidence described above, I urge you to report to Congress on U.S. support for military operations in Iran by anti-Iranian insurgent groups."

Bush's response is not yet known.

http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Kucinich_asks_Bush_about_alleged_US_support_for_armed_insurgency_in_Iran

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