President Bush's visit brings in big dough

Reporter: John Bachman

It was a quick visit by President Bush to Palm Beach, and, while it didn't last long, the trip was lucrative for the president and the Republican Party.

But, the president wasn't only here to receive but also to give thanks. Along with about $700,000 in donations for the Republican National Committee, the president also thanked a local volunteer for her thousands of hours of service.

Air Force One touched down around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon. Waiting to greet the president were a handful of dignitaries including his brother, former Governor Jeb Bush, and one special guest of the president, Cheryl Crowley.

Crowley has volunteered more than 4,000 hours of her time raising awareness for literacy. "My heart's still pumping. I mean you can't. It's the thrill of standing here with Air Force One and meeting the president. I mean, how often do you get to do that?"

It's a once and a life time opportunity for people like Cheryl. But presidential visits like this are routine exercise of supreme security.

From the custom Cadillac limo to the motorcade of secret service agents, all the way up to the snipers on the rooftops, every angle is covered to protect the commander and chief.

The president spent most of his afternoon at a private political fundraiser on the Island. And, no matter how much money he collected at the fundraiser, Cheryl Crowley says he's leaving something valuable, too.

She says his visit brought attention to her issues of literacy. "For literacy, in general, I mean it has brought such a face to what we do everyday in just one day. It's been absolutely amazing. The president also made a fundraising stop in Jacksonville Tuesday, as well.

The president's approval rating may be not be the highest right now, but he can still bring in the cash for the Republican National Committee. He raked in an estimated $1.4 million from both Florida stops Tuesday.

President Bush's trip may have been short, but it was well worth it for the Republican National Committee. He helped raise $762,000 Tuesday night, and he was only in our area for two hours and five minutes!

We broke it down and that averages out to $6,096 for every minute he was on the ground.