DAYTON, Ohio (TBD) -- Now we finally know how much Sen. Mike DeWine had to pay to rent First Lady Laura Bush and Air Force One for a campaign soiree that appears to have included a hokey photo-op at the Wright Brothers' bicycle shop and a fundraiser where he picked up $200,000 at a country club dinner. The price was $55,000 and was determined by the White House.
A week ago, the outgoing Republican senator's "Mike DeWine Victory 2006" committee detailed the payments in response to an inquiry from Melissa Meyer, a campaign finance analyst at the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C. Meyer wanted information about checks DeWine's commitee had sent to the Republican National Committee, including elaboration on whether the money purchased something at a ''usual and normal" market price.
Here's what Keith A. Davis, DeWine's campaign treasurer, said in an e-text document addressed to Meyer on Nov. 27: "The payments to the Republican National Committee were for travel expenses for the First Lady ($15,000) and for Air Force 1 ($40,000) and were customary amounts assessed to political committees by the White House Travel Office. Thus, these amounts were the usual and normal charges."
That begs a question: How much does it cost to rent Vice President Dick Cheney? Laura's poll numbers are in the high 60s, towering over the Veep's. So her market value has to be more.