WASHINGTON (AP) – The latest Democratic drive to make sure President Bush serves just one term takes a page from the effort to oust a Democratic governor in California, calling its web site “bushrecall” and garnering support through petitions.

A new committee called the Fair and Balanced PAC plans to launch its www.bushrecall.org Web site Thursday. The PAC’s founders include Joe Lockhart, a press secretary to former President Clinton, and Mike Lux, a Democratic political consultant.

The Constitution provides no way to recall a president through a ballot initiative, as California voters have a chance to do to Democrat Gray Davis in October.

Instead, the PAC will work to defeat Bush in next year’s election, building lists of supporters through a petition drive and raising money to run ads against the Republican, he said.

“What we hope to do is to remind people that all of the things that are being said about Gray Davis as the reasons for the recall can be applied to George Bush,” Lux said Wednesday.

“For example, they say Davis turned big surpluses into deficits in a matter of a couple of years. That’s the same thing that happened with George Bush.”

The Bush campaign declined to comment.

The PAC currently plans to raise only limited contributions – known as hard money – from individuals and other political committees. It can spend its money on ads expressly calling for a candidate’s election or defeat, and must disclose its fund-raising and expenditures to the Federal Election Commission.

The PAC is one of several Democratic-leaning groups formed since a campaign finance law took effect in November and imposed new restrictions on political party fund-raising and spending.

The new groups are helping Democrats compensate for the party’s loss of soft money, corporate and union contributions the new law bans the national parties from collecting. The GOP raised soft money too, but so far hasn’t been hit as hard financially by the law because it takes in more hard money – individual and PAC donations – than the Democratic Party.

Many of the new Democratic-leaning groups are focused on the presidential race and are taking on specific types of spending, such as raising money for get-out-the-vote activities or ads on Democratic issues.

Lux said his PAC plans to coordinate its activities with other groups including America Votes, a new coalition of environmental, labor, civil rights, abortion rights and other organizations working together on voter outreach efforts.

The Fair and Balanced PAC’s board members include Gloria Totten, executive director of another Democratic-leaning group, the Progressive Majority, and former political director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

AP-ES-08-20-03 1743EDT

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