- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2002

President Bush yesterday began a weekend of whirlwind campaigning for candidates in races crucial to determining control of Congress next year.

South Dakota, Indiana and West Virginia were on his schedule yesterday. Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Kentucky were inked in for today. Tennessee, Georgia and Florida were in the wings for tomorrow. Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota again and Minnesota were scheduled for Sunday.

On Monday, Mr. Bush was to visit Missouri and Arkansas before appearing in Dallas and then heading home to Crawford, Texas, to cast his own ballot in Tuesday's election.

The White House said 17 cities would be visited.

The president is trying hard to help the Republicans regain control of the Senate and maintain their majority in the House so his legislative proposals would face less resistance.

"Thanks for having me here," Mr. Bush told a crowd in Aberdeen, S.D., hometown of the Senate's top Democrat, Majority Leader Tom Daschle, early yesterday. "Next time you get me to come back, let's go pheasant hunting.

"I can't go today. I've got to work. I'm traveling our country to remind people that the American spirit is alive and well today. And part of the American spirit is for our citizens to exercise their duty. And their duty is to cast a vote on Nov. 5."

The lines, with alterations for each specific locale, would be repeated throughout the day at different stops. Mr. Bush would then cheerlead the crowd on American values and morale and the war against terrorism.

He would then decry the Democratic-controlled Senate's failure to act on homeland security legislation, judicial nominees and anti-terrorism insurance to help create construction-industry-related jobs, and other items on his stalled agenda.

Republican candidates being supported in the event, he said, were needed in Washington or their state capitals to support his agenda.

"For the sake of South Dakota for the sake of South Dakota, for the sake of our country, John Thune should be the next United States senator," Mr. Bush said in Aberdeen.

"For the sake of South Dakota and for the sake of the country, Bill Janklow needs to be the next United States congressman. And for the sake of South Dakota, particularly for the sake for excellence in education, Mike Rounds needs to be the next governor," Mr. Bush said.

The brass ring in the 2002 election is control of the Senate, which Democrats control by just one vote, with 34 seats up for grabs. The White House is betting Mr. Bush's high public-approval ratings will help tip the balance in the Republicans' favor.

The House of Representatives, in which the GOP holds a 223-208 majority (with one independent and three vacant seats) in the 107th Congress, is expected to remain in Republican hands, although there are a number of tight races.

One is Indiana's 2nd District, where Mr. Bush yesterday was appearing to help Chris Chocola, a wealthy businessman and fiscal conservative, elbow aside former Rep. Jill Long Thompson for the vacant district seat.

A feature of Mr. Chocola's campaign ads has been his support for the president's tax cut, which Mr. Bush complains has not been made permanent by the Democrat-controlled Senate.

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