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Bush rallies Minnesota faithful
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President Bush, who was accompanied on his latest trip to Minnesota by the first lady, spoke for 45 minutes. He promoted his plans for education, health care, Social Security and the economy. (MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik)
On the heels of Friday's heated debate with John Kerry, President George W. Bush was in Minnesota on Saturdday. Before a huge crowd of supporters in a park in Chanhassen, Bush ripped Kerry and pledged to "whip" him on election day.

Chanhassen, Minn. — Standing before what the Bush-Cheney campaign said were more than 17,000 ticket-holding supporters, President Bush confidently predicted he'll win another four years in the White House.

"There is no doubt in my mind with your help we will carry Minnesota and win a great victory in November," he said.

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Image Working the crowd

Bush, who was accompanied on his latest trip to Minnesota by the first lady, spoke for 45 minutes. He promoted his plans for education, health care, Social Security and the economy. But, as is often the case on campaign stops, Bush spent a lot of time talking about national security and defending his approach to the war on terrorism, which he insisted is succeeding.

"Because we led, Afghanistan is an ally in the war on terror and they're having presidential elections today. Pakistan is capturing terrorists, Saudi Arabia is making raids and arrests. Libya is dismanteling its weapons programs. The army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom and three-quarters of Al Qaeda's key members and associates of Al Qaeda have been brought to justice. America has led. Many have followed and the world is safer," Bush said.

Bush repeated ripped his Democratic opponent, John Kerry, calling the Massachusetts senator "the most liberal senator in Washington." Bush said Kerry can't begin to pay for his agenda without breaking the pledge he made during the debate not to raise taxes on people with incomes below $200,000," he insisted.

And Bush continued hammering Kerry, for what the president says, is switching positions on Iraq.

"With a straight face he said I've only had one position on Iraq. I could barely contain myself."

Apparently feeling good about his performance in the second presidential debate held Friday, Bush referenced criticism of his angry facial expressions during the first debate and joked that he struggled through his most recent face-to-face encounter with Kerry.

"It was all I could do not to make a bad face," he said.

Bush has campaigned six times in Minnesota this year and even though the election is less than a month a way, he said he's looking forward to returning to the state again before November 2. And he urged his cheering supporters to work hard to deliver Minnesota to the Republicans in the presidential race for the first time since 1972.

"I can see by signs and the size of this crowd you have done a lot but it's what you're going to do I want to thank you for and that is turn out to vote, get people to the polls."

Demcorats staged a women's march in opposition to Bush in Minneapolis Saturday featuring Kerry's two daughters.

The Kerry campaign's Minnesota spokesman, Stacy Paxton, says the senator's performance in the first of two debates is helping to build momentum for the Democratic ticket in Minnesota. Paxton confidently predicts Kerry will win the state and says Democrats are not concerned that the president has been spending so much time in Minnesota.

"Every time George Bush comes it's just another opportunity for us to point out his failures on the economy, on health care, on jobs on what the situation in Iraq is. Every time he's here again it's another opportunity for the folks here in Minnesota to hear about what he proposes, what he plans to do and unfortunately he offers nothing but more of the same," according to Paxton.

Paxton says Kerry will campaign again soon in Minnesota.

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