Crowds come out for Laura Bush

CINCINNATI – Laura Bush, a popular campaign-booster for Republicans across the country, began a four-state swing yesterday with a fundraiser for an Ohio congressman in a heated re-election battle.

After helping raise some $170,000 at a luncheon for six-term Rep. Steve Chabot, Mrs. Bush headed to Knoxville, Tenn., to raise money for Republican Senate candidate Bob Corker. She planned to be in Indiana and Missouri on Thursday for GOP candidates.

Party officials say she has raised nearly $14 million for Republican candidates for the Nov. 7 election. And Mrs. Bush’s visits usually don’t carry the baggage of the president’s sagging approval ratings.

“Everybody respects and admires her,” said H.C. “Buck” Niehoff.