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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Bush: Goal is to Get Everyone Working

Aired September 1, 2003 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. I'm Soledad O'Brien in tonight for Anderson Cooper.
With unemployment hovering at a nine-year high, President Bush marked this holiday by defending his economic policies and pledging a continued commitment to creating jobs.

His month-long Texas vacation over, the president spoke to a union group in Ohio.

White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush wasted into time bringing his ambitious agenda to the American people.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want everybody in this country working.

MALVEAUX: With just 15 months away from Election Day, Mr. Bush is facing one of the most important challenges of his administration, getting Americans back to work. On this Labor Day, nine million Americans don't have jobs.

Today, in a rainy Richfield, Ohio, where residents have seen unemployment increase by 60 percent since Mr. Bush took office, the president promised his tax cut and benefits package would turn things around.

BUSH: We're committed to helping those who got a job keep a job and committed to those who are look for work to find a job. That's the commitment of this Labor Day.

MALVEAUX: This week Mr. Bush is bringing that message to key battleground states. In Richfield, Ohio, a state with 20 electoral votes he hopes to keep in his column. In Kansas City, Missouri, a state he narrowly won in 2000 and has visited a dozen times. And in Indiana, a state where he trounced Gore by 16 points and is intent on keeping.

Mr. Bush will continue an ambition travel schedule in weeks to come to raise funds for his campaign and to win support for his agenda.

Details of that agenda include getting Congress to pass a comprehensive energy bill, an environmental policy which includes controversial fire prevention proposals, Medicare reform, legal reform, restrained government spending, and the establishment of free trade agreements overseas.

The president will also take campaign speech opportunities to highlight the progress on the war on terror.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Now, Democrats already attacked Mr. Bush on the economy and Iraq. The president may open himself up for more criticism when he goes before Congress to ask for additional funds for Iraqi reconstruction -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: CNN's Suzanne Malveaux for us this evening. Suzanne, thanks.

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