President Bush spent the Labor Day Holiday Monday in the American midwest. He visited with union members in the states of Wisconsin and Michigan.
It is a sight seldom seen in American politics. An unofficial union anthem filled the air, as a Republican President of the United States joined a union rally on Labor Day. The president said, "Some folks might have thought they took a risk by inviting a Republican here, but I stand before you as a proud American, first and foremost."
President Bush began his day with carpenters in Wisconsin. His last stop was with members of the Teamsters Union near Detroit. The Teamsters is the principle union representing truck drivers in the United States.
Like most American labor unions, they have a long history of support for the Democratic Party. But President Bush is reaching out as few Republicans have before. "I understand we don't necessarily agree on every single issue," he said. "But we agree to listen."
As he traveled from one union event to another, on a day considered sacred by the labor movement, he praised American workers and said he shared their concerns about the U.S. economy. "For the last 12 months," he said, "the economy has been way too slow and people are hurting and people are suffering."
At every stop, the President repeated the same message. He said there is trouble on the horizon for the economy, but ultimately his economic policies would result in recovery. The crowds broke into applause when Mr. Bush defended his tax cut plan. Pesident Bush said, "Tax relief was the right thing to do at the right time."
While strengthening ties with American workers was very much on his mind on this Labor Day, so too was the upcoming resumption of the legislative year on Capitol Hill.
Members of the U.S. congress return to work this week after a month-long recess. During the August break new figures were released that show the federal budget surplus is dwindling - in part because tax cuts have resulted in lower government revenues.