If he wants to keep his job, President George Bush needs to convince the American public to give him a vote of confidence. With most polls showing a very close election coming in November, the White House occupant is moving from working president to a man campaigning for the job.
Florida was the defining state for the last election. The Panhandle of Florida is dotted with military bases and a conservative electorate that could make a difference in this year’s election. So it’s not surprising that the Panama City, Florida area was one of the stops for the Bush campaign this week. Here is our report on the approach taken by the Bush team as it campaigns for re-election.
“Four more years” was the message delivered by President Bush to an enthusiastic crowd at a campaign rally Tuesday. Despite a heavy downpour of rain earlier in the afternoon, a large crowd gathered to hear the President speak in the early evening as he continued his 2004 campaign. The weather cooperated with the campaign planners and the skies cleared as the events got underway.
The afternoon’s events included a number of speakers in addition to President Bush. Former Congressman J.C. Watts, Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, and Florida House of Representatives candidate David Coley were among some of the speakers who showed support for the President and his reelection campaign. Country singer Aaron Tippin was also on hand to perform some of his popular songs in support of the President’s campaign.
The President’s motorcade had an elaborate arrival complete with police escorts and secret service vehicles. The President came out of his bus with Senator John McCain and Florida Governor Jeb Bush. After the three of them finished greeting the distinguished guests at the event, Governor Bush and Senator McCain introduced the President to an enthusiastic audience of Bush supporters.
President Bush began by saying that he understood there was more to do to continue to make the country safer, stronger, and better. He promised to work to keep improving America if elected for another four years. He said that he intends to stay focused on the future and there is only one reason to focus on the past – to keep moving the nation forward.
The President spoke about some of the key areas his administration has worked to improve during his term in office and his plans to continue their improvement in the coming four years if reelected. In the area of health care he vowed to fight frivolous lawsuits to reduce the cost of health care – “I am for medical liability reform now,” he said. The President also stressed that health care decisions should be made by doctors and patients and not government bureaucrats. Loud cheers of support from the crowd showed support for his statements on health care.
President Bush discussed some of his accomplishments in the economy and job markets noting that nearly 1.5 million jobs have been added since last August and approximately 300,000 new jobs have been added in Florida since 2001. He vowed to keep adding new jobs in America to strengthen the economy by reducing dependence on foreign energy sources, keeping taxes low, and strengthening the education system.
The President sent a strong message to terrorists in his speech when he said attacks would not happen “on my watch.” He said that the lesson learned from the 9/11 attacks was that one must take threats seriously, a lesson which he said “I will not forget.” He noted that the UN Security Council found Saddam Hussein to be a threat to the world but that Hussein refused to comply with the weapons inspectors. While no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, President Bush stated that Saddam had the capability to build them. He also said that he had a choice to make about Iraq – to defend America or take the word of Saddam Hussein in response to the weapons inspectors. And, President Bush said “I would make that same choice again today to protect America.”
The President concluded his speech by telling the audience that when it comes to improving health care, he gets the job done. When it comes to creating jobs, he gets the job done. When it comes to protecting the peace, he gets the job done. And, “when it comes to electing a president, put somebody in office who will get the job done.”