Utahns won't have a chance to see President Bush during his overnight visit to the state Wednesday unless they're ready to write a sizable check to help John McCain's presidential campaign.
Bush is scheduled to arrive in Utah Wednesday afternoon to attend two fundraisers for McCain, his party's presumptive presidential nominee. The president is also to meet with LDS Church leaders Thursday morning before he leaves the state.
McCain won't be in Utah, but his former rival for the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney, is coming to host one of the fundraisers at his Deer Valley vacation home. Invitations for the evening reception put the price at $70,100 per couple to mingle with Bush.
An earlier event Wednesday originally set to be held at the Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City has been moved to a private residence in the exclusive Arlington Hills neighborhood above the Avenues.
Bush was to have appeared at a $10,000-a-person luncheon followed by a $500-a-person reception at the hotel. Now, though, the event is being billed only as a reception and the cost of attending apparently has dropped considerably.
McCain's campaign moved a Tuesday fundraiser in Phoenix also headlined by Bush from the area's massive convention center to a private residence, reportedly because of poor ticket sales. The cost of attending that event was as much as $25,000.
The Phoenix event was also closed to the press after being relocated, apparently out of concern about the candidate appearing with a president whose approval ratings are at a record low.
The last time the pair were together was at the White House in March, when Bush endorsed McCain.
Two protests are planned in Salt Lake City during Bush's visit, including an hour-long "Peace and Human Rights Rally" set to start at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Salt Lake City-County Building led by former Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson.Another protest organized by the grassroots group MoveOn.org is scheduled at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Salt Lake City Library.
E-mail: [email protected]