Bush: Economic policies will help the Northwest
10:24 AM PDT on Saturday, August 23, 2003

By KING5 .com


BELLEVUE, Wash. President Bush gave an unexpected speech after he landed at Boeing Field in Seattle just after noon Friday, focusing on his efforts to improve the Northwest economy.

He said he spoke with local business leaders about the problems of unemployment and economic downturn in the Northwest and how his most recent tax plan and child tax credits would help the people in Washington.

Bush said his trade policy would help the high-tech industry in Washington, and his forest initiative policy could help prevent explosive forest fires. He also mentioned the importance of hydropower as an energy source.

Bush said he supports state efforts to make medical liability laws and workers compensation rules more business-friendly as one way to help improve the economy in Washington.

More than 7 percent of the state's work force is unemployed, one of the highest jobless rates in the nation.

"I'm concerned about the unemployment rate in this important state," Bush said.

Bush also answered a few questions from the media. Regarding the stepped-up terrorist attacks in Iraq, he said "foreign elements" are infiltrating Iraq in hopes of committing terrorism and predicted that U.S. allies will send more troops to help secure the war-torn nation.

"Iraq is turning out to be a continuing battle in the war on terrorism," he said. "We're going to stay the course."

Bush said his administration is working with the United Nations to encourage allies to help bring peace the country. "There will be more foreign troops in Iraq," he said.

Bush then left for a $2,000 per person fundraising luncheon at the Hunts Point, Wash., home of cellular billionaire Craig McCaw.

His visit lasted about six hours. Air Force One left Boeing Field at 3:40 p.m.

Earlier Friday, Bush was in central Washington and talked about his support for salmon recovery, as well as dams as a power source.He noted that the nation has a power shortage and that hydroelectric dams, which environmentalists contend are killing the fish, should not be removed.

Heavy security was in place. But Seattle police would not discuss security measures for the president's visit.

Earlier Friday, Bush was in central Washington and talked about his support for salmon recovery, as well as dams as a power source.He noted that the nation has a power shortage and that hydroelectric dams, which environmentalists contend are killing the fish, should not be removed.While promising to help save salmon, Bush said his administration won't breach any power-producing dams.

The visit to the Tri-Cities also highlights the support Republicans receive in Eastern Washington. They were outnumbered in the last election by Democrats in the Seattle area.

Political observers says the crucial battle ground will be in the suburbs of the urban area.

President Bush saw a small group of protesters near the Ice Harbor Dam. About 60 Democrats, some wearing Howard Dean buttons, and others carried signs that said "Bush Lied." They said Bush waved at them as his motorcade drove by.

Meanwhile, in Bellevue, east of Seattle, union members gathered for an anti-Bush demonstration.

Bush in Oregon talks fish, forests, fundraising

"I think that he's definitely using the Northwest as photo op and clearly his policies have been a disaster for our country," said protester Gretta Hassakis.

An anti-war protester said: "Veterans are getting screwed, our troops are getting screwed, dying every day, the government wants them to take a pay cut, you know, lose combat pay and being away from home pay..."

Four blocks away, supporters were waving American flags and wearing red, white and blue. Some tempers flared when some anti-Bush protesters infiltrated with signs and slogans.

"And there's people like this who live and enjoy the blanket of freedom here in this country, that have signs like this, that want to impeach Bush - he's committed no crime, yet she's nowhere to be found when Clinton was being impeached," said Bush supporter Diana Bradford.

Security scare

Security was very tight for the visit. But in the air, two small planes that ventured into a 10-mile restricted air space around the president were intercepted by his military escorts Friday as the president made his way to a private fund-raiser in suburban Hunts Point.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Mike Fergus in Seattle said both planes were Cessnas with pilots who apparently were not aware of the restriction. The planes were escorted out of the restricted area or to a landing, he said.

 

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