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Bush Steps Up Campaign in US Midwest Swing States - 2004-10-15

President Bush is campaigning in the Midwest swing states of Wisconsin and Iowa where both he and Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry are hoping to pick up enough votes to put them over the top on Election Day. White House correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the president's campaign trail.

President Bush says the just-concluded series of debates with Senator Kerry have shown voters the big differences between the two candidates' records.

"My record is one of reforming education, of lowering taxes, of providing prescription drug coverage for seniors, for improving homeland protections and for waging an aggressive war against the ideologs of hate."

Continuing to portray his Democratic opponent as a tax-and-spend liberal, President Bush says Senator Kerry's record shows 20 years of legislative votes outside the political mainstream.

"On issue after issue, from jobs to health care to the need to strengthen Social Security, Senator Kerry's policies fail to recognize the changing realities of today's world and the need for fundamental reforms," he said.

Senator Kerry wants to roll back parts of the president's record tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to provide health care for 26 million people, including four million children, without coverage.

President Bush said that plan would hurt small business owners by making them comply with more than 200 new government mandates while driving down the U.S. economy by expanding federal spending.

"Once again the other night, with a straight face, the Senator said his health care was not a government plan. I could barely contain myself. Twenty-two-million new people would enroll in a government program under his plan, the largest expansion of government health care ever," he said.

President Bush says his plan keeps health care decisions out of the hands of government regulators. "We will work to make sure that health care is available and affordable. We will help our small businesses. The decisions will be made by doctors and patients. Not by officials in Washington D.C," he said.

Appealing to the core of his Republican base, President Bush continues to attack Senator Kerry's positions on more conservative social issues, reminding voters that the Massachusetts Democrat voted against a ban on partial-birth abortions and opposes a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Both candidates are campaigning hard in Wisconsin where Republicans hope to pick up a state the president lost four years ago by less than 6,000 votes.