Bush regales the faithful | NevadaAppeal.com

Bush regales the faithful

President Bush waves to the crowd during a campaign rally Thursday, Oct. 14, 2004, at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno, Nev. (AP Photo/Liz Margerum, Pool)

RENO – President George Bush spoke to an estimated crowd of 16,000 at Reno’s Rancho San Rafael Park on Wednesday, hammering the catch-phrases he wants voters to associate with his opponent Sen. John Kerry.

“He can run from his record,” Bush and those who introduced him said a dozen times. “But he can’t hide.”

He charged repeatedly that Kerry is “the most liberal member in the Senate” and has “flip-flopped” on numerous issues during his Senate career.

Bush addressed what was, for the most part, the party faithful. But it wasn’t, according to one women, entirely limited to those already committed to vote Bush. One woman said she was asked when she tried to get a ticket whether she was undecided. She said the campaign seemed to want some voters who are still on the fence.

Bush started his 35-minute speech by telling the crowd to find their undecided friends, and “if you want a safer America, a stronger America, then tell them to put Dick Cheney and me back in office.”

He charged he and Kerry are sharply different in that “I’m proud of my record. My opponent seems not to want to talk about his.”

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Bush again charged that Kerry has voted 98 times to raise taxes, and that Kerry would require the country “pass a global test” before committing troops to defend itself.

He charged that Kerry’s health-care plan “is a government plan” that would take away individual control over their health-care decisions.

He said people don’t know exactly where Kerry stands, but know exactly what he stands for.

“Americans absolutely know I tell you exactly what I’m going to do, and I keep my word,” Bush said.

He cited the No Child Left Behind Act, which he said is improving public school performance and the Healthy Forests Act, which he said will improve the nation’s forests and his efforts to create jobs.

He said one of his goals is to enable more children to go on to college. And on health care, he said he will work to put a community health center in “every poor county” in America.

He said he will also “do something about the ridiculous lawsuits that are running up the cost of health care.” He said Kerry won’t do that, and the proof is in his selection of a trial lawyer as his running mate.

“You can’t be pro-patient, pro-doctor and pro-trial attorney at the same time,” he said.

Bush said his administration’s policies have created 1.9 million jobs in the past three months, and that unemployment rates are now below what they averaged in the ’80s or even the ’90s. But he said good jobs depend on a good business climate.

“To make sure quality jobs are created in America, America must become more friendly to business,” he said.

He said his administration has worked to remove unnecessary and cumbersome regulations that interfere with business and will continue to do so.

And he said he will work to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.

About 300 protesters gathered outside the Sierra Street entrance to Rancho San Rafael Park. But Bush never saw them because his convoy came in across the fields from McCarran Boulevard north of the park.

The protesters, many of them students from nearby University of Nevada, Reno, where Michael Moore spoke Tuesday night, carried anti-Bush signs.

As the audience from the speech filed out of the park afterward, they chanted “Bush lied, soldiers died, you don’t care.” They were kept across the street from the speech crowd by Reno police officers, some with dogs and others on horseback.

It was Bush’s second campaign visit to Reno this election season. Kerry has not yet made an appearance in Reno. However, his wife, Teresa, was visiting a park in a Hispanic area of south Reno on Wednesday as Bush spoke

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at nevadaappeal@sbcglobal.net or 687-8750.