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Opinions of Bush, Cheney vary from one state to another

ST. PAUL -- To some, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are American heroes.

Take, for instance, how John Barrasso promoted his state when casting votes for president at the Republican National Convention. "The proud home of our vice president, Dick Cheney," the well-known Wyomingite said about another one.

To others, the pair is grist for jokes and the two earn no respect.

While a CBS News-New York Times survey showed that 80 percent of GOP convention delegates approve of the administration's work, that figure drops to near 60 percent for Republicans across the country and to less than 30 percent for Americans overall.

But even their strongest supporters, known as their base, are not happy with everything coming out of the Bush administration.

Jennifer Wilson of Hermantown was a delegate to the GOP convention and said Republicans still admire Bush but that some fiscal conservatives are not happy with the spending increases the administration approved.

"I think it's the one issue that gets talked about the most," said Bethany Dorobiala, the Minnesota College Republican president.

Dorobiala, a 21-year-old from Woodbury who was an alternate delegate to the convention, said even college students thought Bush strayed from the party's fiscal conservatism ideals.

Many Americans have almost vilified Bush and Cheney, especially for getting involved in the Iraqi war. But those who know the pair best still love them.

Ask the Texas delegation to the Republican convention about Bush.

"Frankly, in Texas we're proud of him," said Larry Jones of McKinney.

Jones said Bush is admired for his determination and decisiveness.

However, one of Minnesota's Republican leaders said the Bush in Washington is not the Bush who served in Austin.

Bush was not as partisan a figure in the Texas Capitol as he is now, said U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, a Jamestown, N.D., native serving the western Twin Cities suburbs.

As Texas governor, Bush was known for working with Democrats and keeping the budget in check, Ramstad said. Not so much now.

Like Bush in Texas, Cheney still is popular back home.

"His approvals ratings in Wyoming would be off the charts," said longtime state Rep. Diemer True of Casper, who worked for Cheney's congressional campaigns and ran the state GOP.

"He's a great American," added Dennis Tippets, another former Wyoming state legislator.

Many blame the media for Bush-Cheney problems.

Minnesota House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, however, disagreed that the media is fully to blame. He said they are not good communicators.

Democrats, of course, have a different view of what went wrong.

The Bush administration will be remembered as being bad for the economy and bad for workers, Larry Anderson said.

Anderson, a union worker from Esko, said Bush "inspired" him to become an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention last month. He said Bush repeatedly made major mistakes over the years, from the poor response to Hurricane Katrina to cutting taxes in a time of war.

The Bush administration has committed a larger, philosophical blunder from the day the president took office, Jessica Rohloff said.

"I think they were too arrogant to listen to other people," said Rohloff, a national Democratic delegate from Willmar.

"I think it's been devastating to feel that our White House has a completely closed door to the American people," she said.