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Publish Date: 5/10/2005

Cheney helps bolster Musgrave’s coffers


DENVER — A fundraising appearance by Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday strengthened Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave’s war chest by more than $200,000, her staffers said.

Republican leaders recently named Musgrave — who represents the 4th Congressional District, which includes Longmont — one of the top 10 most vulnerable Republican lawmakers, along with fellow Colorado Rep. Bob Beauprez.

But according to Musgrave’s chief of staff Guy Short, the vice president spoke on Musgrave’s behalf at a downtown luncheon because they work closely together, not because of her place on the Retain Our Majority Program list.

“The 4th District of Colorado is much like my home state of Wyoming — a rural agricultural region that needs a strong voice in Washington for job creation, private property rights, policies that are fair to the farmer and rancher,” Cheney said. “Marilyn has proved to be exactly the right person for the job.”

Before Cheney spoke, Republican National Committee member Bob Schaffer said the GOP intends to back Musgrave 100 percent in a bid for a third term representing northeastern Colorado.

“If you want to know who the most effective members of congress are, I submit, look at the ones who are attacked first and most vigorously,” Schaffer said. “Marilyn Musgrave, in the last election, turned out almost to be at the top of that list. We anticipate that same kind of struggle this year.”

Detractors during the 2004 election described Musgrave, the House champion of the Gay Marriage Ban Amendment, as a religious zealot.

Republicans paid $500 a plate to attend Monday’s luncheon and $4,000 to attend a round-table with the vice president, funds that will bolster the $422,000 Musgrave held in her coffers at the end of the first quarter of 2005.

Musgrave has not yet decided to run for a third term, but Short said she would likely announce whether she will reseek the seat at the end of the year.

“She’s focused on the district, getting the transportation dollars back here,” Short said.

In addition to praising Musgrave, Cheney also spoke on President George Bush’s plans to reform Social Security and denounced Senate Democrats for using the filibuster to keep qualified judges from the federal bench.

Cheney said by using the filibuster against 10 judicial nominees in Bush’s first term, the Democrats have turned away from two centuries of precedent.

Cheney said that Bush’s current nominees “deserve a vote before the United States Senate.”

If Democrats again use the filibuster, the Republican majority may institute a rule change that would disallow the minority party from using the judicial filibuster.

“I support bringing those nominees to the Senate for an up or down vote,” Cheney said.

Jenn Ooton can be reached at 303-684-5295, or by e-mail at jooton@times-call.com.

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