President Bush on his way to visit Fort Lewis

There was an air of excitement in Spokane in anticipation of tonight’s visit by President Bush, as about 500 people snatched $1,000 tickets to a fund-raiser for Senate candidate George Nethercutt.

Bush was expected to land at Fairchild Air Force Base after 5 p.m., then speak at a fund-raiser for Republican challenger to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray.

But just as Bush supporters polished their Sunday’s best attire, Democrats and other groups were planning anti-Bush and anti-war rallies including a barbecue and rally with the slogan “Burgers Against Bush.”

The trip was being planned under tight security, and organizers said they could not even advertise the event too far in advance, but once they did reservations were gone fast.

Some of those who could not afford the price were planning to line up along the motorcade route.

Bush was planning to leave for Fort Lewis later tonight, where he will be on an official presidential visit and will address the troops Friday.

The last time Fort Lewis hosted a U.S. president was when President Franklin Roosevelt made a secret visit to the army base in 1942.