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Bush Goes on Campaign Blitz Before US Congressional Election - 2002-11-05

President Bush is making one last push for Republican Party candidates as Americans prepare to vote in Tuesday's election. Mr. Bush may not be on the ballot, but the stakes are high for his legislative agenda and his presidential prestige.

On the eve of the election, President Bush made a final fast-paced campaign swing.

He courted voters in Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas before heading to his home state, Texas. His goal: to energize voters to go to the polls and cast their ballots for Republicans like Arkansas Senator Tim Hutchinson

"The best thing that can happen to Arkansas, and the best thing that can happen to America is to put Tim Hutchinson back in the U.S. Senate.

In the closing hours of the 2002 campaign, the emphasis was on voter turnout. There are many close races where just a few votes could make a difference. And those races could determine which party controls the U.S. Congress.

"I want to urge you over the next 24 hours to get out the vote. Work hard. And you will be surprised what is going to happen come Tuesday," he said.

The entire U.S. House of Representatives is up for election Tuesday, as is one-third of the Senate. Voters will also choose governors in 36 of the 50 states.

Democrats narrowly hold the Senate, while Republicans have a slim majority in the House. Throughout the campaign, President Bush has urged voters to give his party control of the entire legislature, stressing the importance of getting his agenda through the congress.

"See, we've got some problems in the country. We have got some hurdles we have got to cross," he said.

The president will wake up election day at his Texas ranch and will cast his ballot in the nearby town of Crawford. Aides say he will return to the White House in time to monitor the election results.

Traditionally, the party in power in the White House loses seats in Congress halfway through a president's first four-year term in office. As the campaign drew to a close, aides said President Bush was hopeful that this election would result in an historic Republican gain.