Mr. Bush Bags Big Bucks

(AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Ending a four-month respite, President Bush is back in political fund-raising mode. He's attending a big-money event this evening for the Republican Governors Association.

It's his first political fund-raiser since October 28th, when he closed out the midterm election cycle with a million-dollar GOP event in Kiawah Island, S.C.

This evening, Mr. Bush is the "special guest" at an event billed as "A Celebration of America's Leaders" - an apparent reference to the nation's 22 republican governors.

And to a politician, nothing says "celebration" like big bucks.

Tonight's event is expected to generate $10.4-million dollars to elect and re-elect Republican governors. They're still licking their wounds from the thumping they took in the midterm elections.

The GOP lost six governorships to the Democrats, who now enjoy an advantage of 28-22 in the nation's statehouses.

Some see that giving an Electoral College edge to the Democrats in the '08 presidential race.

There are three Governors races on tap this year: Kentucky and Mississippi., now in GOP control, and Louisiana, where a Democrat's the incumbent.

In its invitation to tonight's fund-raiser, the Republicans made no effort to disguise their need for money – and lots of it.

They offered special incentive packages to corporations willing to contribute $250,000 and to inidividuals or political action committees who ponied up $100-grand. They get:

-ten tickets to tonight's gala
-six tickets to a special reception and photo-op with "special VIP guests."
-four tickets to a private dinner last saturday
-four tickets to a private breakfast this morning
-a mention in the Gala program as a top tier contributor
-and a one year membership in the RGA group of top donors – that includes private dinners, forums and roundtable events during the year.
The invitation reminded supporters that "there is no statutory limit on the amount a corporation, individual or PAC may contribute" to the Republican Governors Association.

But at the same time, the RGA reminds its fatcats that contributions are not deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.

There'll be more fund-raising by Pres. Bush later in the week. He travels to Louisville on Friday for to raise money for the re-election campaign of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell(R-KY).

And pretty soon, Mr. Bush will start raising money for his Presidential Library. An announcement is expected soon that it will be built at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The fund-raising goal for that will be in the neighborhood of $200-million. That's a very pricey neighborhood.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.