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Bush Says Republicans Will Win on National Security and Economy


President Bush says he expects his political party to keep control of both houses of Congress in next month's elections by campaigning on the issues of national security and a strong economy. The president made the comments in Florida, where he spent the day raising money for Republican candidates.

President Bush says opposition Democrats are genetically disposed to raising people's taxes and that is why he says they will lose on Election Day.

He told a Republican rally in the Gulf Coast city of Sarasota that Democrats have consistently predicted that his record tax cuts would ruin the economy and drive up the deficit. They have not.

With most Democrats now predicting that they will win control of the House of Representatives next month, Mr. Bush says they are wrong again.

He said, "The Democrats have made a lot of predictions. As a matter of fact, I think they may be measuring the drapes. If their electoral predictions are as reliable as their economic predictions, November 7 is going to be a good day for the Republicans."

Most public opinion polls say Democrats are likely to win control of the House of Representatives in that vote. The president says that is not going to happen. And White House officials say they are only planning a legislative agenda that assumes Republicans keep control of the House.

As he did in his own re-election two years ago, President Bush is portraying Democrats as weak on national security, citing as one example their opposition to legislation outlining how American interrogators can question suspected terrorists.

"The vast majority of Democrats voted against giving our professionals the right to interrogate to protect America. These are patriotic souls, but their vision of the world is wrong. And we need to make sure that we continue to control the House of Representatives to provide the protection necessary," he said.

Democrats say they are not against interrogating suspected terrorists. Most opposed that legislation because it denies suspects the right to challenge their detention and allows coerced testimony to be used as evidence.

Democrats say it is President Bush who is endangering national security through his policies in Iraq - a war that is increasingly unpopular among American voters.

Some Republican candidates openly oppose the president's handling of that conflict. Mr. Bush says he has a plan for victory.

He said, "The enemy changes, and we change. The enemy adapts to our strategies and tactics and we adapt to theirs. We are constantly changing to defeat this enemy. But if the Democrats were to take control, their policy is pretty clear to me. It's cut and run."

Democrats say they want Iraqi forces to take more responsibility for their own security so American troops can come home.

The Bush Administration says it is working with Iraqi officials on a series of benchmarks for meeting specific security, economic, and political goals. But White House officials say that is not a timeline for withdrawal as that, they say, would embolden the enemy.

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