Republicans Genevieve Atwood and Karl Snow let their lights shine before a Bush Tuesday: President Bush, that is.
Each met briefly with Bush in the White House, where he officially endorsed their races for Utah congressional seats and discussed education, the budget and his popularity in Utah.Ironically, neither candidate was sure whether their tight campaign budgets would permit them to exploit their fresh photos with Bush before voters back home through ads.
"As you know, we're running a low-budget campaign with (Rep.) Wayne (Owens, D-Utah)," Atwood said. "Our base budget does not include billboards, newspaper ads or TV. And our first priority is to come up with some TV, and that's a $50,000 chunk."
But even if she can't let her photo with Bush shine, she said, "The endorsement matters, in part because Wayne pitches that he has access to power. But when is the last time he was invited to the White House?"
Snow, who has been using a photo taken five years ago with Bush in a brochure, added he also does not know whether he could afford to exploit the new photo in television ads.
"But an endorsement from the president of the United States is hard to pass up. We'll have to find the resources somehow," he said about his race against Democrat Bill Orton for the seat being vacated by Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah.
Snow and Atwood said they wanted to act as ambassadors of Utah during their quick visit with Bush, and used a natural approach to get his attention: "We showed him polls of his popularity in Utah, which I don't think surprised him," Snow said.
Atwood said the goal "was to carry the message to the president that Utahns really care about his success and back him . . .. Even the 2nd District shows him (favored) 82-16, and of course he likes that."
Atwood said she also brought up education, which was aided when the White House dog, Millie, who just "co-authored" a book with Barbara Bush to raise money to fight illiteracy, took a shine to Atwood during her visit.
"I love dogs, and I also care what Barbara Bush is doing with illiteracy," Atwood said.
"I am pitching myself as an education congresswoman. Utah really needs that. I raised the issue with the president. We (in Utah) spend a higher percentage of taxpayer dollars (on education) than any other state, and are getting less per student of federal dollars," she said.
Snow said he also talked about possible solutions to budget problems. "I have been very supportive of the president and, of course, I've pledged to do all I can to bring about a balanced budget and to support a line-item veto."
The two were among numerous Republican candidates chosen to meet with Bush who are expected to have good chances of winning their elections on Nov. 6.
The two said Bush hopes for more Republicans in Congress.
"He indicated he is looking forward to 1992 and the opportunity for a Republican-controlled Congress after redistricting in the states," Snow said.
Atwood added, "It's been almost a one-party system for verging on 60 years. It would be just as unhealthy if it were just Republicans for 60 years. One-party systems aren't healthy."