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Bush attacks Dems in fund-raising talk



Published: Wed, October 25, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The president mocked the Democrats' opposition to his proposed tax cuts.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Using mocking language to belittle Democrats, President Bush launched a muscular political attack Tuesday in his campaign to preserve Republican majorities in the House and Senate, challenging the Democrats' economic record and their commitment to fighting terrorism.

Two weeks before the midterm election, the White House is yielding to the possibility that come January, Bush might have to deal for the first time with a Democratic majority.

"The Democrats make a lot of predictions. As a matter of fact, I think they may be measuring the drapes," he said.

"If their electoral predictions are as reliable as their economic predictions," he said, recalling Democrats' projections of economic failure after Congress enacted his tax cuts, "Nov. 7 is going to be a good day for the Republicans."

The president, who has used the war in Iraq as a central element in his stump speech as he seeks to convince voters that a Democratic-led Congress would weaken the war effort, also has been trying to gain political traction from falling energy prices and a rising stock market.

Focus on taxes

On Tuesday, he turned to taxes, seeking to raise the prospect that they would go up if Democrats take charge.

"When you go to the voting booth in two weeks, the lever you pull will determine the taxes you pay for years to come," Bush said. "Americans will cast their ballots on Nov. 7, but you will feel the results every April 15."

He pulled out, as he has in the past, a statement by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the likely speaker of the House if the Democrats win a majority, expressing Democrats' "love" of tax cuts.

Citing Democratic opposition to tax cuts he had proposed, the president said: "Time and time again, she had an opportunity to show her love for taxes. If this is the Democrats' idea of love, I wouldn't want to see what hate looks like."

Democrats have argued that the tax cuts were responsible for the budget deficit, which is now dropping, and have said they oppose wholesale extension of some cuts as they expire and want to balance them more toward middle-class taxpayers.

GOP fundraiser

The president spoke at a rally that a spokeswoman said raised $375,000 for Vern Buchanan, a Republican congressional candidate in a tight race in a Republican-leaning district. Later, Bush spoke in private at a party in Boca Raton that reportedly raised $1 million for the Republican National Committee.

The event here was Bush's first in Sarasota since Sept. 11, 2001. He was in a classroom here with elementary school pupils when he was told a second plane had struck the World Trade Center in New York.

Seeking to use Democrats' opposition to elements of the USA Patriot Act, which beefed up law enforcement intelligence operations after the Sept. 11 attacks, and to legislation creating military tribunals to try alleged terrorists, Bush said: "The vast majority of Democrats oppose the right of this administration to have a tool necessary to protect you. ... They must not think we're at war. They must think that the best way to protect you is to respond after the attack. ...

"These are patriotic souls, but their vision of the world is wrong and we want to make sure that we continue to control the House of Representatives to provide the protection necessary."

Critics of the measures questioned whether they went too far in abrogating defendants' rights and opened the door to unnecessary spying on Americans.

Minutes from the Sarasota airport, the president made an unannounced stop at Gyrocam, Inc., a company that makes cameras being used to help soldiers spot roadside bombs in Iraq. The stop provided an illustration of two of the president's themes: the role of small business in boosting the economy and -- as he moves from the phrase "stay the course" to describe his policy in the war -- the shifts taking place to counter insurgents.

"Our goal in Iraq has not changed ...," Bush said to reporters. "Our tactics are adjusting."




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