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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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President Bush to make first visit to Idaho

John Miller Associated Press

BOISE – President Bush will make his first trip to Idaho next week, spending Monday evening and Tuesday vacationing in the lake and resort region near Donnelly and then speaking about the war against terrorism at the agricultural community of Nampa on Wednesday.

The president will fly to Boise on Air Force One Monday evening after attending a Veterans of Foreign Wars conference in Salt Lake City, according to a White House spokeswoman.

Hangar space has been reserved for Marine One, the presidential helicopter, at the McCall Airport in Valley County, about 100 miles north of Idaho’s capital city on the two-lane State Highway 55. From there, it’s just 10 miles to Donnelly, where the new Tamarack Resort ski and golf club opened last December.

“He will remain overnight in Donnelly,” said Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman, during a press briefing in Crawford, Texas, where President Bush is vacationing at his ranch.

“Tuesday, there are no public events, still he will be in Donnelly, Idaho,” Perino said. “And Wednesday, August 24th, the president will make remarks on the war on terror, and that’s in Nampa.”

The Idaho Center in Nampa, a performing-arts and sports arena that can hold 12,600 spectators, has been reserved for a potential appearance by the president at a rally with military personnel and their families.

White House aides declined to confirm where Bush would be staying in Donnelly, or whether the Nampa event would take place at the Idaho Center.

Bush plans to return to Texas after Wednesday’s terrorism address, Perino said.

His visit follows a stopover in Boise by Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday evening to help raise money for the 2008 re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho. Cheney’s trip was part of a swing through Western states, including Montana, where he stumped for conservative lawmakers.

In the Nov. 2, 2004 election, Bush won 68 percent of the Idaho vote, along with 43 out of 44 counties.

“Our state has been a bastion of support for the president,” said Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, R-Idaho, in a prepared statement. “Idahoans have stood at his side in his support of our troops and his work to help the national economy recover.”

This would be the first presidential visit to Idaho since Bill Clinton came to McCall during 2000, when large fires burned more than 250,000 acres in the region.

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