- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 4, 2006

GREELEY, Colo. — President Bush yesterday said congressional Democrats — who expect to pick up enough seats in elections Tuesday to control the House and Senate — would wait for the United States to be attacked by terrorists before protecting Americans.

Making his sixth appeal to Republican voters in a whirlwind, cross-country tour before the midterm elections, the president said his party is the one that will put U.S. security first, even if that means pre-emptive action against known enemies.

Democrats “must think it’s OK to respond after we’re attacked. I believe we’ve got to do everything to prevent the attacks in the first place,” Mr. Bush told 5,000 cheering supporters packed into a regional park building in this small town 60 miles north of Denver.

“A vital lesson of September the 11th, a lesson any president must always remember, is that when we see a threat overseas, we have got take those threats seriously,” he said.

The president won thunderous applause when he defended his decision to invade Iraq to topple its dictator, even though the weapons of mass destruction he warned about for months were never found.

“I saw a threat in Saddam Hussein. Members of the United States from both political parties saw the same threat. The United Nations saw the threat,” Mr. Bush said. “My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision, and the world is better off for it.”

During his 45-minute stump speech for Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, locked in a dead-heat race with Democratic state Rep. Angie Paccione, the president encouraged the crowd to vote for the Democrats if they believe what the minority party believes.

“If you think the way to best protect America and win the war against these terrorists is to simply criticize and offer no plan, vote Democrat. But if you believe the way to win the war on terror and to protect the United States is to stay on the offense and to work hard to lay the foundation of peace for generations to come, you vote Marilyn Musgrave back to the United States Congress,” he said to applause.

As at all of his stops during his final six-day, 10-state campaign swing, the president appeared energized by the huge crowd, which cheered throughout his speech and waved blue-and-orange pompoms — Denver Bronco colors.

Press Secretary Tony Snow warned reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Crawford, Texas, that his boss is not intending to become a lame duck on Wednesday.

“I know you guys are desperate for, you know, the president sort of putting on the spurs and walking off into the sunset, but there’s also a 2008 campaign to come and two more years of this presidency,” Mr. Snow said. “Trust me, you guys need to strap on your running shoes, because it’s going to be a busy two years.”

At the ranch, first lady Laura Bush celebrated her 60th birthday (the president got his wife a triple-strand necklace with amber-colored citrine, a November birthstone). Along with close friends, the couple dined on Mexican food, topped off with birthday cake.

And today is the couple’s 29th wedding anniversary. Asked if Mr. Bush is getting his wife another gift, Mr. Snow said with a smile: “I know how it works at my house, but I’m not sure.”

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