STERLING HEIGHTS — An enthusiastic crowd greeted
President Bush in the bitter cold last night and only stopped
cheering at Bush’s request. At the rally, Bush highlighted
his domestic tax relief policies, decisiveness in the war on terror
and the differences between himself and Democratic
presidential-hopeful John Kerry.

“I will take on these issues with optimism, resolve and
determination and lead this country for four more years,”
Bush said. He advocated a “positive vision” for the
United States’ future in education, security and the
economy.

Bush’s Midwest tour titled “Yes, America can”
mirrors the “Jobs First” tour Kerry completed last
Wednesday. The President and Kerry have been divided on virtually
every issue but both have initiated tours to build support in the
Midwest, a historically battleground region.

The President focused on the nation’s military success in
Afghanistan and the capture of Saddam Hussein as rationale for a
more secure America.

“I think that some people would say that the whole coding
alert is misleading but it’s good … I think people
understand there’s an imminent threat,” said Greg Crump
of Jackson, a Bush supporter at the rally.

“ … Everyone has a heightened awareness and now they
don’t mind being checked through security,” he
said.

At the rally, only ticket holders were admitted into the
theater. People were asked to line up alphabetically by last name
and then passed through airport-like security, including metal
detectors, police and Secret Service officer checkpoints and random
pat-downs.

Bush emphasized changes in American security like the Department
of Homeland Security and the bolstering of the military.“When
we took office, we found a military that was under-funded and
underappreciated. Today, no one can question the strength or the
spirit of the U.S Military,” Bush said. “There is no
cave or hole deep enough to hide from American justice.”

Although Bush’s extended commitment to Iraq has been
questioned, many remain steadfast in their devotion to the war.

“I support him because of what he says, he does and
he’s a man of his word,” said Dearborn Heights resident
Atour Golani. “I am also for the Iraq War because my people,
the Assyrians, are from Iraq and I believe he can help
them.”

In addition to affirming his commitment to American troops, Bush
pointed to Kerry’s wavering on the war in Iraq, tax relief
and other domestic issues.

“(Kerry’s) been on both sides of every issue and if
he could, he’d find a third side,” Bush said.

His criticism of Kerry for “switching sides”
extended beyond the use of force in Iraq to Kerry’s economic
policies. Bush reminded his supporters of his
“historic” tax relief and Kerry’s Senate record
on tax votes, which changed under the Bush and Clinton
administrations.

“You’ve got to be careful with people who go around
promising to spend your money,” Bush said of Kerry.
“He’s either going to break the promise or he’s
going to raise the taxes on the hardworking people of
America,.”

Both Bush and Kerry’s most recent advertisements and
campaigns have focused on the other’s faults and many of the
rally’s attendants expressed their distaste for the bantering
between the Bush and Kerry camps.

“I wish (they) would stick to their platforms and
policies” instead of negative ads. “It’s more
constructive,” Crump said.

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