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Bush Campaigns in Swing States of W. Virginia, Ohio    - 2004-09-10

President Bush is on a campaign bus tour of the important swing states of West Virginia and Ohio, trying to attract opposition supporters by campaigning with a Democratic Senator, who is backing the president's re-election.

Winning West Virginia means winning the votes of registered Democrats who outnumber Republicans in the state by a margin of 2-1.

So, President Bush brought along his favorite Democrat, Georgia Senator Zell Miller, who delivered the Republican Party's keynote address at last week's convention in New York, a rousing denunciation of Democratic candidate John Kerry.

Senator Miller introduced the president at a rally in an ice hockey rink in Huntington, West Virginia, telling the crowd that there is only one man in this race who has the resolve to make up his mind and stick with his decisions, never wavering, never wobbling, and never weak in the knees.

"I want to take this opportunity to tell all my fellow Democrats, wherever they may be, all of you who, like me, never thought about voting for a Republican a few years ago, all of you who might be a little hesitant to bring it up around the dinner table, or say something at the union meeting," he said. "Tell them that George W. Bush is a Republican we Democrats can proudly support."

Senator Miller says he wished his party had the will to win that the president does. Mr. Bush thanked his friend for the compliment, and called on Democrats to help him win another four years in office.

"You know, Zell Miller, he represents a lot of folks out there who are wondering whether or not it's OK to vote Republican," said president Bush. "He's what I would call a discerning Democrat. More importantly, he is a proud American, and I am proud to call Zell Miller friend."

The president's bus tour continued across the border into the state of Ohio, where the latest public opinion polls show him with an eight-point lead over Senator Kerry.

Mr. Bush accused his Democratic challenger of changing positions over the war in Iraq, first voting to authorize the president's use of force, then campaigning in the Democratic primaries as an anti-war candidate.

"Earlier this week, he adopted the language of his one-time rival, Howard Dean, saying it is the wrong war at the wrong time, even though he earlier said it was the right decision and he supported it," Mr. Bush said. "The newest wrinkle is that Senator Kerry has now decided we are spending too much money in Iraq, even though he criticized us earlier for not spending enough. One thing about Senator Kerry's position is clear, if he had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power and would still be a threat to security and the world."

The president is trying to portray Senator Kerry as an indecisive leader who would weaken the fight against terrorism at a time when public opinion polls show voters heavily favoring the president when it comes to keeping the nation safe.