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Bush, Democrats Continue Clash Over Economy - 2004-08-09

President Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry continue to campaign on the economy. Mr. Bush says things are getting better. Democrats say he is leading the country in the wrong direction.

President Bush says the U.S. economy has been through a lot in the last four years - terrorist attacks, corporate corruption scandals and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But Mr. Bush says his performance, so far, is enough for voters to give him another four years in office.

"Since I got elected, we the country have worked together, and we've accomplished a lot, and we've been through a lot. It has been tough times. The only reason to look backward is to best determine who to lead us forward."

Nearly two million jobs have been lost since the president came to office. Last month's creation of just 32,000 new jobs fell nearly 100,000 jobs short of what is needed to keep up with population growth.

Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe says President Bush is leading America in the wrong direction, and is misleading America about where it is headed.

He mocked the president's campaign rhetoric about how America is "turning the corner" and is not going back.

"To brag that America has turned the corner is almost laughable if it weren't just so offensive to the millions of Americans who today are struggling to make ends meet, pay for their health care, send their kids off to college, and who feel that, in this Bush bust, that they have hit a brick wall on the road to a better life."

President Bush says he is not satisfied by last month's job figures and is continuing to work to stimulate economic growth. He says his record tax cuts are helping improve the economy by leaving taxpayers with more money to spend on more goods and services, which he says helps create more jobs.

The president told a rally in the state of Virginia that Democrats would make matters worse by raising taxes.

"I talk about a stronger and better America,said Mr. Bush. "It means our economy needs to be strong. The economy is growing, and there's more to do. One of the things we better make sure is we don't raise the taxes on the people. This is going to be a campaign issue."

President Bush says Senator Kerry will raise taxes to pay for trillions of dollars in new government spending. Senator Kerry says he will only raise rates for the top two percent of American taxpayers. Everyone else, he says, will get a tax cut, including lower corporate taxes to encourage more job growth.

With less than 90 days to go before Election Day, the latest public opinion polls show Senator Kerry with a slight lead over President Bush. A Time magazine poll shows most Americans trust Senator Kerry more on the economy, but rate the two men evenly on moral values and fighting terrorism.

Senator Kerry was campaigning at the Grand Canyon Monday, at the start of a week that will also take him to New Mexico, Nevada, and California. Running mate John Edwards campaigns in Illinois and North Carolina.

President Bush leaves the White House Tuesday for a long week of campaigning in Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, and Iowa.