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Bush Campaigns in Ohio and Pennsylvania - 2004-09-04

President Bush is on a campaign bus tour of the important swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

With a new Time magazine poll showing the president with an 11 point lead over Democratic challenger John Kerry, Bush campaign officials are both optimistic and realistic that with nearly two months left in the race, anything can happen. Asked about the new poll figures, the president said, "Got a lot of work to do." So he is campaigning hard out of his nominating convention, looking for votes mostly in areas where he lost four years ago.

Jobs are a big political issue in Ohio where unemployment is above the national average. Democrats say the president is responsible for those job losses by encouraging U.S. companies to ship jobs overseas and by enacting record tax cuts which are driving up the federal deficit.

President Bush told voters at an Ohio high school that Democratic challenger John Kerry will hurt the economy by raising taxes to fund more than $2 trillion in new government spending. Instead, Mr. Bush says his record tax cuts should be made permanent.

"See, the role of government, in my judgment, is to set priorities, fund those priorities, and let people keep as much money as they can, because you can spend your money better than the federal government can," said George W. Bush.

The president told supporters that U.S. troops have made the world safer by toppling Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. He cited the just-concluded Russian hostage crisis as further evidence that the fight against terrorism must continue.

More than 300 people were killed and 700 injured following a gun battle between Russian forces and armed militants who seized a school. Mr. Bush said the violence shows why the United States must bring terrorists to justice before they strike again.

"Today on our TV screens, last night on our TV screens we saw the horror of terror in Russia," he said. "And I can just imagine the heartfelt anguish of the moms and dads of the Russian kids. Our prayers are with those families. And yesterday is a grim reminder of the nature of the terrorists we face. That is why this country must be strong and diligent, never yielding."

The president says Americans are doing the hard work to defend the country and can look forward to a more peaceful world.

Mr. Bush is back on the campaign trail Sunday with a rally in another important swing state - West Virginia.