Video: Presidents past and present rally voters

updated 11/4/2006 9:07:51 PM ET 2006-11-05T02:07:51

President Bush on Saturday sought to energize Republican voters in the waning days of a tight campaign, contending a Democratic-run Congress would mean higher taxes, government meddling in health care and easing back on fighting terrorism.

The president ended a rally by appealing to his audience to “go from this hall and turn out the vote. Find your friends and neighbors and get them to the polls and come Election Day. We’ll have a great victory and the country will be better off for it.”

Bush said Democratic candidates want Washington bureaucrats and insurers to make people’s health care decisions; judges who try to legislate from the bench; increased taxes; and a less aggressive approach to fighting terrorism.

“If you think your family budget can afford more taxes, you vote Democrat,” Bush said. “If you believe you pay more than enough in taxes and you would rather invest your money and save your money and spend your money the way you see fit, vote Republican.

“If you think the way to best protect America and win the war against these terrorists is to simply criticize and offer no plan, vote Democrat.”

Republicans are counting on their get-out-the-vote operation and Bush’s late stretch tour of 10 states to limit their losses.

'Quite a campaign'
Bush kept upbeat. Chatting with reporters at a coffee shop near Denver, he said: “Feels good. It’s quite a campaign coming down the stretch.”

Colorado Republicans hope the president’s visit will help GOP congressional candidate Marilyn Musgrave and gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez.

Recent polls have shown both races getting closer, with Democrat Angie Paccione closing in on Musgrave in the race for the 4th Congressional District. On Friday, Democrats began a costly televised attack on Musgrave.

Bush spoke in an auditorium packed with noisy supporters. They cheered heartily when he talked about the military and fighting terrorists, saying ‘We’re not going to run in the face of thugs and assassins.”

One heckler, holding a homemade red sign supporting Musgrave, climbed onto a green tractor parked inside the hall and shouted “Get out of Iraq! Get out of Iraq!” The crowd replied with chants of “U.S.A! U.S.A!” and one supporter screamed “Shut your mouth!” as he was escorted from the event.

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Before flying to the rally aboard Marine One, Bush broadcast his weekly radio address live from Mile High Coffee in suburban Denver where he had breakfast with small business owners.

Sitting with a mug of coffee, Bush said his tax-cutting policies have created jobs and fueled economic progress.

“Americans are finding jobs and they’re taking home more pay,” Bush said. “The main reason for our growing economy is that we cut taxes and left more money in the hands of families and workers and small business owners.”

If Democrats gain control of the Congress, they can raise taxes simply by not renewing the tax cuts.

Unemployment rate down
Bush highlighted the government report Friday showing the jobless rate had fallen to a five-year low of 4.4 percent. The figures released by the Labor Department suggested employers are coping fairly well with an economy that has lost a lot of momentum due to the housing slump.

Despite the upbeat report, pockets of pain remain. The struggling auto industry slashed jobs. So did companies involved in home building, as well as furniture makers — casualties of the sour housing market. Retailers continued to pink-slip employees.

Bush’s approval rating on the economy is at 40 percent among all adults surveyed in a recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll. Those surveyed trusted Democrats more than Republicans to handle the economy.

“The Bush economy has failed the vast majority of Americans,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said.

Bush was spending Saturday night at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he was helping first lady Laura Bush celebrate her 60th birthday.

“I’m sorry that Laura’s not with me,” Bush told the crowd in Greeley. “I don’t want her to know that I know it’s her birthday. I’m not telling you the gift I’m going to give her. It’s a surprise.”

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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