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Bush makes quick stop worth up to $1 million

| Friday, March 28, 2008

In a quick visit to the Pittsburgh region Thursday night, President Bush continued to tout progress in the Iraq war and raised campaign money for local Republicans.

The president's appearance at a private reception in Sewickley Heights was expected to net the Pennsylvania GOP as much as $1 million for its war chest in this year's campaigns. Bush attended a similar fundraiser in Ohio earlier in the day.

Shortly after Air Force One landed at Pittsburgh International Airport at 4:40 p.m., Bush presented the President's Volunteer Service Award to Lydia Humenycky of North Huntingdon in recognition of her two years of service as a Peace Corps volunteer.

"I told him I appreciate everything he has done with the USA Freedom Corps. I was honored," Humenycky, 26, told reporters.

She was stationed in Togo, a poor country in western Africa. In 2005, she left her job as an advertising account executive to join the Peace Corps.

Humenycky recently returned from Togo, where she worked with a group of independent coffee growers. The average worker makes $350 a year in the former French colony.

At the Sewickley Heights fundraiser, more than 300 attendees heard Bush talk about the importance of fighting terrorists in the Middle East instead of in America, said Allegheny County Republican Chairman Jim Roddey.

During the 30-minute talk, Bush also spoke about what he might do after he is out of office, including writing a book about his experiences as president, Roddey said. The event raised between $750,000 and $1 million, he said.

About 20 anti-war protesters assembled to criticize Bush's visit.

"Not everyone in Sewickley supports the viewpoints of the fundraiser going on," said Stephanie Dangel of Sewickley. "We want to show that there's a variety of viewpoints here."

The Sewickley Heights event at the home of Claude and Laura Kronk was closed to the press. National media traveling with the president and members of the local press pool were taken to a nearby residence to wait during Bush's visit.

The president, wearing a top coat in a light drizzle, was whisked back to the airport in a black Chevrolet Suburban near the front of a caravan of two dozen vehicles. Air Force One left Pittsburgh at 7:40 p.m.

Additional Information:

On the trail

Today

Sen. Barack Obama

• 11 a.m., community event at Soldiers & Sailors Military Museum and Memorial, 4141 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Doors open at 9 a.m.

• 5:30 p.m., town hall meeting at Hempfield Area High School, 4345 Route 136, Greensburg. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.

Chelsea Clinton

•7:30 a.m., greets commuters at Olney Terminal, Philadelphia

•1:30 p.m., 'Our Voice, Our Future' event, Northampton Community College, Bethlehem

Saturday

Sen. Barack Obama

• 1 p.m., 'Road to Change' town hall meeting, Greater Johnstown High School, Johnstown

Sunday

Sen. Barack Obama

• 11:30 a.m., 'Road to Change' rally, Penn State University, Old Main Lawn, University Park.

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