Bush Sets Republican Agenda for Congressional Elections

With less than 70 days to go before legislative elections, President Bush is campaigning hard for Republican candidates facing challenges from opposition Democrats, who hope to capture control of at least one house of Congress.  The president is campaigning on the issues that won him re-election two years ago - national security and the threat of terrorism.

While the president's overall approval ratings remain near record lows, he is still popular among members of his own party.

So, President Bush is back on the campaign trail, trying to help his party's congressional candidates keep control of both houses of Congress. Not surprisingly, he is using many of the same themes that won him re-election two years ago.

Speaking to Republican supporters in the southern state of Tennessee this past week, the president said their party offers voters a positive vision that makes a difference in the lives of all Americans.

"I bring a message of optimism to you," said Mr. Bush.  "I believe, and I know our party is a political party that trusts the wisdom of the American people. Ours is a party that is willing to confront challenges, instead of passing them on to future generations."

Mr. Bush says the most important challenge is securing the nation against another terrorist attack. Many opposition Democrats have been critical of some of the measures the president has taken in the name of national security. They include the surveillance of suspect telephone conversations without a warrant, and endorsing the so-called Patriot Act, which critics say impinges on civil liberties.

Mr. Bush is trying to turn that opposition to political advantage for Republicans, arguing some of his critics do not understand the depth of the terrorist threat.

"I need people in Washington, D.C. who are willing to give those who are responsible for protecting America all the tools they need, tools such as the Patriot Act, tools such as programs that say, if al-Qaida is calling into the United States, we want to know why," added Mr. Bush.

Opposition Democrats are focusing on what the president calls the central front in the fight against terrorism: Iraq.  While a majority of Americans now believe it was a mistake to send U.S. troops to topple Saddam Hussein, nearly two-thirds of Republicans still approve of the way President Bush is handling the war in Iraq.

Critics say continued U.S. involvement in Iraq is distracting from the broader fight against terrorism, drawing resources away from enhanced border security and the hunt for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

President Bush says the security of the civilized world is at stake in Iraq.  While he says he welcomes debate over the war, the president told Republican supporters in the southwest state of Utah that a debate over national security is one they can win.

"In these 2006 campaigns, there will be a lot of debate," he explained.  "There will be people, good people, decent people, patriotic people, who say, now is the time to leave Iraq, and they are wrong."

On the campaign trail, the president is also talking more about social issues that mobilize conservative voters, including the selection of conservative judges and federal support for religious-based charities, which critics say blurs the separation of church and state.

Mr. Bush says candidates need to explain that many of America's social problems require something greater than government, namely the help of people, who, he says, hear a higher calling from God.

"America can change one heart, and one soul, and one conscience at a time," said Mr. Bush.  "Government should not fear faith. Government ought to welcome the good works of faith-based and community-based organizations to help make this country as strong as it possibly can be."

White House officials say the president will continue to campaign aggressively for Republican candidates in the November election, as a switch of just six seats in the Senate would put Democrats in control of that chamber for the first time since 2002.

That outcome would likely end any chance the president has of achieving substantive legislative goals in his second term, as many Democrats say they would use control of the Senate to investigate the president's handling of the war in Iraq.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs