Bush’s Florida Connections

*President Bush has raised more than $11 million in Florida since June for his re-election campaign. His war chest is expected to approach $200 million by November.

Put into context, this will be approximately twice as much as his Democratic opponent will raise. But no more than George Steinbrenner’s New York Yankee payroll this season.

*Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco was part of that presidential party of seven that dined at Bern’s Steak House two Sundays ago. According to Greco, the president seemed like he enjoyed getting away from the office, and there wasn’t a lot of shoptalk.

“I’m still sort of taken aback, I guess, that the most powerful person in the world can be so informal and wanting to talk about the quail crop in Texas and stocking a lake with bass,” said Greco. “He’s a warm, nice man.

“I don’t know how they do it,” he added. “It can’t be an easy way to live. Everywhere the president and Mrs. Bush go, they have all those armed guards. They were only a few feet away at dinner. I think it’s harder on Laura Bush. The president gets immersed in the job. But she sees him when he’s down and hears the criticism and the belittling. I made it a point when we were leaving to thank her for her contribution.”

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