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Bush Promises to Double Money for Job Training - 2004-04-05

President Bush campaigned in the state of North Carolina Monday, where he promised to double the amount of U.S. job training. Democrats have made American job losses a central issue in this year's race for the presidency, but President Bush says the creation of more than 300,000 new U.S. jobs last month shows his record tax cuts are working.

"The economy is strong, and it's getting stronge," Bush said. "We've overcome the challenges from the past three years. Listen, most of those challenges would have cratered most economies. Not America's economy, because the ingredients for growth are there. We've got visionary business leaders, we've got great productive workers and we've had good policy."

Mr. Bush told a community college outside the city of Charlotte that he plans to double U.S. job training. The plan includes no new funding and would cover the increase, in part, by cutting $300,000,000 in what the White House calls unnecessary overhead. The state of the economy is central to the president's drive for re-election, especially on the issue of jobs, where Democrats blame him for the loss of nearly two million jobs since he took office.

Democratic challenger John Kerry says those job losses show Americans need and deserve a new economic strategy. He is promising to create 10 million jobs in four years, in part, by rolling-back tax cuts for Americans earning more than $200,000 a year. President Bush says those tax cuts are working and he wants Congress to make all of those reductions permanent. His campaign is warning that Democrats will raise taxes if they win the White House.

Mr. Kerry's fellow Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, Edward Kennedy, attacked the president's economic plan Monday, saying Mr. Bush has failed to stop U.S. companies from using cheaper labor overseas.

"This administration says it is for a strong economy," said Senator Kennedy, "...but with each unemployed worker, each job shipped overseas, each underpaid minimum wage worker, each denial of overtime pay, each loss of unemployment benefits, each decline in wages, the credibility gap of this administration on the economy grows even wider."

A spokesman for the Kerry campaign called the president's vow to double job training an election-year scramble to come up with a jobs program which the Democratic campaign says is not good enough for America's workers.

The White House says nearly two-thirds of the new jobs in the 21st century will require post-secondary education and not enough American workers are currently being trained to take advantage of those jobs.