Vice President Dick Cheney made a campaign stop in North Dakota. The vice president came to Fargo to raise money for Republican Congressional candidate Rick Clayburgh. It was a stop with purely political purposes. There was no issue talk to cloud the visit. This was a Republican administration giving a boost to a Republican congressional candidate.
The Vice President stepped off Air Force Two to the cheers of a few hundred Republican faithful gathered for a rally.
"It's a pleasure to be back in North Dakota today. It's a fantastic North Dakota day. I know it's like this year round in Fargo," Cheney told the crowd.
It seemed curiosity more than political passion brought many people to the rally.
"I'm here to see the vice president and support Rick Clayburgh in his run for the House of Representatives," said one man. "Well, just for the opportunity to see him. I happen to think alot of Vice President Cheney," said another. "Fun to see the leaders of our country," said a young boy attending the rally with his father.
Vice President Cheney spoke briefly to the crowd and shook some hands before heading off to the main attraction, a $1,000-a-plate lunch.
Candidate Rick Clayburgh is hoping the Cheney visit will raise about $100,000 for his campaign. Clayburgh is North Dakota's tax commissioner. He's trying to defeat incumbent Democrat Earl Pomeroy for North Dakota's only seat in the U.S. House.
Congressman Pomeroy held a $10-a-plate picnic at a Fargo park while the vice president was in town.
Some political analysts say Congressman Pomeroy is vulnerable. Former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer said the vice president's visit should energize North Dakota Republicans.
"Vice President Cheney is here today because national leaders in Washington recognize we in North Dakota have a candidate who can win this election," said Schafer.
Congressional candidate Rick Clayburgh told the crowd the vice president's visit is a sign this is an important congressional race.
"The president and the vice president make us all proud to be Americans. They have reminded us through example how important it is to have principled leadership," said Clayburgh.
Clayburgh said he wants to bring the same values to Congress that President Bush and Vice President Cheney brought to the White House.
In his luncheon speech, the vice president predicted America is on the path to economic recovery. Cheney alluded to recent corporate scandals. He said the free enterprise system has been tested, but that he and the president will push for a higher ethical standard for business leaders.
"When there are reports of fraud, the American people can be certain the government will fully investigate and prosecute wrongdoers," said the vice president. "Our country has the most productive, creative and promising economic system the world has ever seen. Under this president, we're going to make the system stronger and better than ever before."
Vice President Cheney also talked about the war on terrorism. He said military spending must be increased, and he promised the administration will not look the other way while countries like Iraq help terrorists get weapons of mass destruction.
From Fargo the vice president traveled to Iowa where he will appear on behalf of Iowa Congressman Jim Leach.