updated 9/4/2006 3:10:47 PM ET 2006-09-04T19:10:47

President Bush said Monday the economy is growing steadily and jobs are plentiful, but America must work harder to break its dependency on foreign oil.

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Making a Labor Day appearance at Maryland’s Paul Hall Center for Training and Education, which offers vocational training to Seafarer’s International Union members, Bush said “dependence on foreign oil jeopardizes our ability to grow.”

“Problem is, we get oil from some parts of the world and they simply don’t like us,” he said. “The more dependent we are on that type of energy, the less likely it will be that we are able to compete and so people can have good paying jobs.”

Bush also said he is interested in new technology that advances that produce battery-operated cars and allows people to fuel their vehicles with ethanol, particularly in Farm Belt states. And he made a fresh push for greater development of nuclear energy.

“Nuclear power is safe and nuclear power is clean and nuclear power is renewable,” the president said.

On trade, he said the United States must “continue opening markets to U.S. products.”

“... My message to the world is this: just treat us as we treat you,” Bush said. “I believe we can compete with anybody, anytime, as long as the rules are fair.”

Calls for permanent tax cuts
Bush again called on Congress to make permanent a host of tax cuts, saying “I like it when people working for a living have more after-tax money in their pocket.”

He said people in all walks of life should work hard to ensure that “our workers have the skills necessary to compete in the 21st Century.”

Bush made a brief mention on the war and terrorism issue, thanking America’s fighting men and women for their sacrifices and saying, “They may hear all the political discourse going on, but the people of this country — the people of the United States of America — stand squarely behind the men and women who wear our uniform.”

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