Valley delegates say they anticipate a strong address from the president



Delegates expect the president to make a good case for his re-election.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Members of the Mahoning Valley delegation to the Republican National Convention say a strong acceptance speech todayby President Bush should provide him the needed momentum to win re-election.
"It's very important for him to deliver a strong speech," said Eugenia C. Atkinson of Youngstown, an alternate delegate. "Following this convention, it's going to be a tight race, as it has been. But I think the president will win. The president has to emphasize the things that have improved during his administration."
David W. Johnson of Salem, a convention delegate and one of the state's most prominent Republicans, said Bush needs to discuss the clear differences between himself and John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, during his speech.
'Focus on the positives'
"The president will make a strong case for the war on terrorism and in Iraq and make an equally strong case on improvements to our economy," Johnson said. "He will tell us that we need to stay the course with tax cuts for all Americans in order to let our economy continue to recover. We need to focus on the positives. We're making good progress."
Johnson said Bush's re-election campaign is building momentum since the GOP convention started Monday, and will keep it going.
"We will reach a crescendo with his speech, and then it's back on to the campaign trail," he said.
Trumbull County GOP Chairman Craig Bonar of Cortland, an alternate delegate, said today's acceptance speech isn't a "do or die" for the president, but Bush must spell out his past successes and the improvements he plans to make if re-elected to another second term.
"He needs to get across how he can continue to move us forward in the next four years regarding the economy, fighting terrorism, improving education," he said. "Momentum is going his way with this convention. He needs to emphasize that this isn't the time to change leadership. He doesn't want to hurt himself with this speech, but he won't do that."
Bonar said Bush is a "polished speaker," and probably has received much help writing today's speech so it should be impressive.
Atkinson said she expects Bush to put his record into perspective, and what he will do for the nation in the future if re-elected in November.
Explaining the war
"He particularly needs to explain the war in Iraq," she said. "The president had sound reasons for going to war, and he needs to get those reasons across during his speech."
Bonar said the country is moving in the right direction, and Bush must discuss homeland security and the economy.
Brendon Cull, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Coordinated Campaign, also expects a good speech from Bush.
"But when people sit down and compare his plan and John Kerry's plan, they'll want to vote for John Kerry," Cull said. "John Kerry is talking about issues that matter."
skolnick@vindy.com

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