Minneapolis, Minn. — Even though it's been more than 30 years since a Republican presidential candidate has carried Minnesota, President Bush told his cheering supporters he remains confident he can win the state on Tuesday.
"No doubt in my mind with your help we will carry Minnesota, and win a great victory in November," Bush told the enthusiastic crowd.
Bush urged supporters to help get out the vote. He also appealed to Democrats.
"Many Democrats in this country do not recognize their party anymore, and today I want to speak to every one of them," said Bush. "If you believe that America should lead with strength and purpose and confidence in our ideals, I'd be honored to have your support, and I'm asking for your vote."
Through out his roughly 40-minute speech, Bush tore into his Democratic opponent John Kerry -- portraying the Massachusetts senator as a political opportunist who's weak on national defense.
"The American people have been watching this election carefully, and they notice my opponent's positions are kind of like the weather here in Minnesota -- you don't like it, wait a little bit and it'll change."
Bush ticked off five things he said the election was about -- national security, the economy, quality of life as it relates to education and health care, the future of Social Security, and a "culture of life."
"In less than 72 hours the American people will be voting, and the decision comes down to -- who do you trust? I offer leadership and results for a time of threat and challenge," said Bush.
Bush mentioned the war on terrorism and Iraq numerous times, but did not touch on recent developments such as reports of missing explosives in Iraq and the video of Osama Bin Laden released Friday.
Several dozen Kerry supporters protested Bush's appearance on the sidewalks across from Target Center, noting that Minneapolis is traditionally Democratic territory.
"You just can't come to Minneapolis," said Shane Kinney. "It's our city - it's not OK for Bush to come here and ask for more votes. It's our city."
One group of protesters delivered their message with sarcasm. The "Billionaires for Bush" dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns and carried signs that read "Four more wars" and "Hooray for Halliburton."
David McCarthy was with the group. "The tax cuts only for the wealthy, the wars that have led to such great profits, and his general efforts to leave no billionaire behind."
But inside Target Center, it was safe Bush territory. The president picked up one notable Minnesota endorsement when he was introduced by Mike Tice, the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
"When I wake up in the morning, I feel safe," said Tice, who gave Bush a Vikings jersey with his name and the number 1 emblazoned on the back. "I feel my family is safe, and I certainly feel our country is safe and protected, knowing President Bush is in the White House."
In St. Paul, Elizabeth Edwards -- the wife of Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards rallied DFL activists. Edwards spoke at a union hall.
"John Kerry has an idea what we need to do about jobs. This president thinks that exporting American jobs is actually good for us," said Edwards. "John Kerry knows better, and he's going to fight for every American job. He's going to fight to make certain that we increase the minimum wage, so that we don't have 15 million women working full time living in poverty in this country."
John Edwards is scheduled to campaign at Hamline University in St. Paul on Monday.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)