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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Bush Campaigns on Economic Issues

Aired September 4, 2003 - 19:16   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush was back on the road today defending his policies on the economy and on Iraq. Two of the major themes of his re-election bid. White House correspondent Dana Bash has that story.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president in the key political state of Missouri honing his economic stump speech.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America's economy today is showing signs of promise. We're emerging from a period of national challenge and economic uncertainty.

BASH: polls show growing concern among voters about the economy and shrinking confidence in Mr. Bush's ability to turn it around, Which is why Missouri is the second of three presidential trips just this week to critical Midwest states stung by job loss.

The sluggish economy is one of the twin themes emerging for candidate Bush. The other, officials say, will be national security and Iraq. But some top congressional allies, who were home with constituents in August, worry the president's message isn't being heard.

REP. BOB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: One thing that's been frustrating to a lot of us is that with the nine Democrats running for president, we're hearing a lot about what's not going right in Iraq and we're not hearing enough about what is happening that's positive.

BASH: GOP congressional leaders passed that message to Mr. Bush in a private White House meeting Tuesday.

BUSH: In most of Iraq today there's steady progress toward reconstruction and civil order.

BASH: White House aides point to speeches like this one, just ten days ago, also in Missouri, as proof they are addressing the situation in Iraq and say the new push for a U.N. Resolution is part of trying to turn the problems on the ground, real and perceived, around.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: A senior administration official tells CNN efforts are underway for more presidential speeches aimed at reassuring Americans about Iraq. One GOP senator impressed with the private explanation from Mr. Bush said the president told him now that summer recess is over, he intends to take that message public more often -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Dana Bash at the White House. Dana, thank you for that.

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