MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) _ Despite the attention being paid to 10 Democrats running for president, New Hampshire remains a Republican stronghold, Vice President Dick Cheney reminded supporters Tuesday as he collected $200,000 for President Bush's re-election campaign.

The brief cocktail reception attracted about 150 Republicans who paid $1,000 each, or $2,000 if they wanted a photo with Cheney.

``I thought it was important to remind everyone what a Republican looks like after all the Democratic traffic you've had,'' Cheney said. ``This campaign will come in due course _ obviously it already has in New Hampshire. We will run very hard and take nothing for granted.''

Bush lost the 2000 New Hampshire primary to Sen. John McCain of Arizona but won the state in the general election by about 8,000 votes. The slim victory had pundits predicting a timid administration, Cheney said, but ``nothing could've been further from the truth.''

He devoted most of his speech to praising Bush's handling of the war on terrorism, chastising those who criticize the administration's policy of pre-emptive strikes against enemies.

``Some question our striking the enemy before they can strike us. But I would argue that on 9/11 we were already struck,'' he said. ``And I ask you, if we had been able to use pre-emptive military action to defeat that attack before if occurred, would we have? And the answer is, you bet we would.''

On domestic issues, Cheney insisted Bush has made major progress in improving the economy through tax cuts.

``Some in Congress want to repeal the tax relief and raise taxes on the American people,'' he said. ``We believe raising taxes now is exactly the wrong medicine and will hurt the recovery long-term and encourage wasteful spending.''

He also won applause for urging a return to ``dignity and civility'' the process of judicial nominations.

``Right now, far too many nominations to the federal bench are being held up by the threat of filibuster,'' he said. ``Our friends on the other side of the aisle refuse to allow nominees of great merit to even have a vote on the Senate floor.''

GOP analyst Tom Rath, a key member of Bush's 2000 New Hampshire team, said Cheney's visit was a boost to Republicans who've grown frustrated watching the 10 Democratic presidential hopefuls relentlessly attack the president.

``We've got 10 people pounding this guy every day,'' he said. ``We have a positive message ... but you can get overwhelmed by the din of negativism.''

He made no apologies for the quick and impersonal fund-raiser, saying the campaign's focus should be on money as the quarterly reporting period comes to a close. There will be time later for pep-rally style events that give less wealthy supporters a chance to see Bush, he said.

``We're a little spoiled up here. We want to see the candidate,'' he said. ``But the candidate has a day job.''