President Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry both campaigned in the Midwest state of Iowa Wednesday. The men spoke at the same time at separate rallies just three blocks from each other.
Two campaigns running neck-and-neck in most public opinion polls came head-to-head in the Mississippi River town of Davenport, Iowa with competing visions of the U.S. economy and what to do about it.
President Bush lost Iowa by about 4,000 votes in the last election. This year, the latest local poll shows Iowans equally divided between the candidates, with both men polling about 47 percent.
President Bush told supporters at a rally in a riverside park that he was close in Iowa last time. This year, he says he will carry the state and win re-election.
"I'm asking for your vote because so much is at stake. We have more to do. We must work to move America forward. I want to be your president for four more years to make our country safer," Mr. Bush said.
The president says he wants to make the economy stronger and the future brighter for all Americans. He says his record tax cuts have helped the economy recover from recession.
"Because we acted, our economy since last summer has grown at a rate as fast as any in nearly 20 years," he noted. "Because we acted, America has added more than 1.5 million new jobs since last August. Because we acted, Iowa has added more than 11,000 jobs over the past year."
President Bush says Senator Kerry wants to roll back those tax cuts to fund billions more in new government spending. Senator Kerry says the tax cuts are responsible for the huge federal deficit.
Just three city blocks from the Bush rally, more than 200 business leaders endorsed Senator Kerry at what his campaign billed as an economic roundtable.
The Massachusetts senator says he will only raise rates on the top two percent of American tax payers. Everyone else, he says, will get a tax cut, along with lower rates for corporations to create more jobs.
"Some people have been surprised at the notion of a Democrat calling for lower corporate tax rates. Let me tell you something. I don't care about the old debates. I don't care about the labels. I care about getting the job done and creating jobs in America and making America strong again," he said.
Senator Kerry says he will close tax loopholes that allow U.S. companies to take deductions for moving jobs overseas. He says he and running mate John Edwards will also help keep more jobs in the United States by lowering health care costs.
"John Edwards and I have a plan to do it. The people on the other side have no plan. They've had four years," he said. "They have no plan not only to provide coverage to the people who don't have it, which is important to America, but to lower the costs for everybody else."
With just 90 days to go before the election, President Bush and Senator Kerry are about even in most public opinion polls. That focuses even more attention on the more than a dozen so-called swing states that could go to either candidate. After their simultaneous appearances in Iowa, both men moved on to other important swing states, with Senator Kerry campaigning in Missouri and President Bush campaigning in Minnesota.