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Bush Delivers More Positive Campaign Message, Friday

President Bush is driving his re-election campaign toward next week's finish line, with a series of more optimistic speeches that Republicans hope will rise above some of the hostility of this campaign season.

After weeks of attacking the credibility of Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry, President Bush has opened what aides say is a more inspirational part of this campaign, telling Republican supporters in the city of Manchester that things are looking up.

"In the final four days of this historic campaign, I am taking my vision of a more hopeful America directly to the people of this country," the president said. "That's what I've come to New Hampshire to talk about a hopeful future for all of us. Today, our economy is strong, and it is getting stronger."

The president says his record tax cuts are helping stimulate the economy, despite slower-than-expected third quarter growth in U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

Mr. Bush repeated what he says are his domestic accomplishments, including education reform and changes in medical care. But in his defense of the war in Iraq and the fight against terrorism, the president left out well-tested applause lines attacking Senator Kerry, accusing him of voting against funding for troops, or suggesting that America must pass some sort of global test before deploying U.S. forces.

Those critiques of the senator have drawn cheers from Republican crowds across the country. But Friday's speech in New Hampshire was the first in months in which the president did not mention the senator by name, or refer at all to his opponent during a campaign speech.

Campaign aides say it is an effort to attract swing voters, put off by the name calling in this election, and to leave voters with a more positive impression of the president rising above partisan politics.

Instead of mocking his Democratic challenger for shifting positions on Iraq, President Bush tried to inspire all Americans by calling the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq part of living up to what he calls "the highest calling of American history."

"We are the nation that freed Europe and lifted up former enemies in Germany and Japan, and we gave hope to captive peoples behind the Iron Curtain," he added. "The liberation of more than 50 million people in our time is a noble achievement, and every American can be proud of that achievement."

If elected to a second term, President Bush says, he will continue to fight terrorists abroad, so Americans do not have to face them at home. Making the nation safer has been a cornerstone of the president's push for re-election.

After two rallies in New Hampshire, Mr. Bush ends the day with rallies in the swing state of Ohio, where he will be joined by the popular California Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.