Bush visits Springfield auto plant

The president defended his tax cuts to 600 plant workers and supporters.
Tuesday, February 10, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:02 a.m. CDT, Sunday, June 29, 2008

President George Bush’s drive to manufacture another win in Missouri began in a warehouse in Springfield this year.

Bush defended his economic polices Monday, speaking to about 600 supporters and workers of SRC Automotive Inc. at an economic forum held at the plant. Five local workers and business owners joined Bush on stage, explaining how they benefited from tax cuts.

Though the event was not open to the public, Bush’s appearance drew supporters from outside of the Ozarks.

MU seniors Karly Lloyd and Dana Staley attended, receiving tickets from a friend’s parents.

Both plan to vote for Bush. Staley, a College Republican, said the president made the economics of his tax cuts easy to understand.

“Our money can be better spent by us. I trust my decisions more than the government’s,” Staley said, adding that her parents benefited from the tax cuts as farmers.

The president was at SRC in response to an open letter in Inc. magazine from SRC’s president and CEO, Jack Stack.

“Dear President Bush,” his letter began, “I appreciate your efforts to help companies like mine through the recent tax cut legislation, but I sure wish you’d made it easier for us to understand what was in it.”

This was Bush’s first stop to Missouri this year, and it came two days after Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit to St. Louis on Saturday.

With his appearance less than a week after the Missouri primary, Bush’s fourth trip to the Ozarks emphasizes Missouri’s importance as a swing state in the coming election. Missouri has chosen the winner of every presidential election in the past century except in 1956.

Campaign spokesman Danny Diaz said the campaign will generally focus on areas where the most progress can be made but that they are keeping in mind the entire state.

Diaz said active leadership by local Republicans, like Rep. Kenny Hulsoff, R-Columbia, is the biggest contribution being made.

Tax cuts were the message of the day. If Congress doesn’t extend the cuts that were made in 2003, some of the provisions will expire in 2005. Democrats have called for an end to the cuts.

“When you hear people say, ‘We’re not going to make this permanent,’ that means tax increase,” Bush said.

The five panelists who accompanied Bush on stage each had the same message that the economy was strong; SRC floor supervisor Gary Brown said he had spent the $3,000 he received getting braces for his daughter’s teeth.

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