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Diaz-Balarts benefit from presidential fundraiser, in absentia

President Bush raised money for Reps. Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart today in Naples, but the beneficiaries of his fundraising prowess weren't there.

With the House still in session Friday, the pair stayed behind, casting a pair of "aye" votes on a compromise bill that updates the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The bill's passage is a Bush priority.

"It will help our intelligence professionals learn enemies' plans for new attacks,'' he said in a statement a few hours before the vote.

The fundraiser, a private luncheon with Bush and about 250 people, raised more than $600,000 for the Miami Republican's campaigns and the Republican Party of Florida. The AP reports that Mel Martinez  joined Bush aboard Air Force One for the flight to Fort Myers, then took a 20-minute ride in the Marine One presidential helicopter to a football field in Naples. The president's motorcade winded through an upscale residential area to the home of Republican donors, John F. and Rhodora Donahue.