Traveling by bus through the southwest corner of Michigan, President Bush tried to improve voters' perceptions of his domestic policies by condemning Democrats for going negative--even as he held Kerry's plans up to the harshest possible light. "I'm running against a fellow who has got a massive, complicated blueprint to have our government take over the decision making in health care," the president said. "Not only is his plan going to increase the power of bureaucrats in your life, but he can't pay for it unless he raises your taxes."
In the town of Holland, the president played up his opposition to abortion and gay rights. Michigan, like other Midwest battlegrounds, has many socially conservative Democrats whom Bush hopes to peel away from Kerry with a focus on these and other social issues, such as gun rights.
Bush had three stops during a six-hour bus tour in Michigan, a state he narrowly lost in 2000, before heading to Colorado on Monday night. Polls show Kerry clinging to a slight lead in Michigan, with job losses and health care costs worrying voters. Bush is doing a bit better in other Midwest battlegrounds, especially Ohio, Missouri, and Wisconsin, where polls show him leading.
Kerry's backers made their presence known along Bush's bus route. "Show us jobs," read a sign at the first intersections, where 100 Kerry supporters gathered shoulder to shoulder with GOP voters.