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Inside Politics

Bush takes campaign tour to Ohio

'I would have made the same decision' on Iraq, he says


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CNN's Joe Johns on John Kerry's attacks on Bush jobs policy.

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George W. Bush

TROY, Ohio (CNN) -- Presenting himself as the candidate who will fight terrorism and make America secure, President Bush addressed enthusiastic crowds Saturday during his third campaign bus tour of Ohio, beginning with a rally in Troy and followed by a stop in Lima.

With students looking on at Lima High School, Bush said he wants to keep jobs in the United States, help small businesses grow, support home ownership and pursue tax relief for families. He also invited questions from the audience in the event called "Ask President Bush."

The owner of a local pork rinds company said he has been able to add 50 jobs since Bush took office.

"The entrepreneurial spirit is strong. That's what people ought to be looking at when it comes to electing a president," Bush said.

"One of the reasons I've asked these small-business owners to come is because it's just important to realize there are millions of people making decisions that affect how this economy grows," he said. "It's not the government that makes decisions. It's the individuals in society making the decision, and the government's job is to encourage decision-making that leads to job creation. And that's what we're here to talk about."

Earlier in Troy, Bush spoke on national security, one of the issues where polls indicate registered voters give him an edge over his Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry.

Bush talked about his efforts to protect the country after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as well as his decision to go to war in Iraq. (Full story)

"Even though we didn't find the stockpiles we expected to find, Saddam Hussein had the capability to make weapons of mass destruction, and he could have passed that on to the enemy," he said.

"Knowing what I know today, I would have made the same decision."

The president has been shuttling between the White House and battleground states in the days leading up to the Republican National Convention, which starts Monday in New York.

In New York, police arrested 264 people involved in a bicycle protest Friday night. Police said the cyclists were causing "massive disruptions." One cyclist said the police were at fault for traffic delays because officers blocked off roads. (Full story)

The monthly bike ride drew thousands more than usual due to the number of people who wanted to protest against the convention.

Police used a holding area on a pier to process those arrested, and said they could handle up to 1,000 arrests per day there.

In Ohio, the crowd that gathered at the Troy town square chanted "Four more years" as Bush, dressed in a casual blue shirt and dark pants, asked for their help in registering voters.

"There is more work to be done over the next four years," the president said, adding that much has been accomplished.

Bush had one more stop scheduled Saturday, in Perrysburg. He is scheduled to campaign in West Virginia on Sunday and to return to Ohio next week.


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