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Domestic issues focus of speech

Wednesday, September 8, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:55 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 4, 2008

President Bush, in a Tuesday afternoon speech at the Boone County Fairgrounds, focused heavily on domestic issues such as health care, education and job creation while reiterating his convention stance that America needs strong, decisive leadership in the war on terrorism.

Though the policy matters of the speech deviated little from his convention address six days ago, Bush started his speech with a plea for help to the loyal crowd of 15,000 sign-waving mid-Missourians.

“I think we have a duty in this country to vote, and I’m here to ask you to register your friends and neighbors to vote,” Bush said.

Soon after, Bush used the beginning of his speech to highlight recent progress in job creation and briefly laid out plans to reform health care, medical malpractice law and education.

“Many people are changing careers often, yet many of our most fundamental systems — our tax code and health coverage and pension plans and worker training — were created for the world of yesterday,” Bush said.

Hammering home a main theme of his campaign, Bush said America needs a strong commander-in-chief who will take threats seriously in a post-September 11 world even before they fully materialize.

And though he did not mention him by name, Bush delivered a few lines against his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry.

“If you listen carefully, my opponent plans to expand government,” Bush said. “My plan is to expand opportunity, because I trust the American people.”

Noticeably absent from the speech, however, were such hot-button social issues as gay marriage and abortion, which were talked about heavily by numerous Missouri politicians who introduced Bush.

Bush also borrowed heavily from his previous speeches on policy, including a common refrain about the war in Iraq: “Do I forget the lessons of September the 11th: trust a madman or take action to defend America?” Bush asked. “Given that choice, I will defend our country every time.”


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