George W. Bush is Fundraising Personally for His Library

The economy has Bush and his dad, 41, dialing for dollars.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Don't say that former President Bush hasn't been hit by the crumbling economy he handed off to President Obama. Friends tell us that it has slowed the drive to raise some $500 million to build and endow the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Dallas's Southern Methodist University. "It's a bad environment," says one. Bush is taking no chances: He's making donor calls himself, and even his dad, the 41st president, is helping out, as are former aides like Karl Rove. In the future, say associates, look for Bush to host fundraising events in order to meet a goal of completing construction in 2013. But for now, "he's laying low," says one.

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