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Published: Thursday, 8/5/2004

Bushes plan stops in Ohio, Michigan

BY FRITZ WENZEL
BLADE POLITICAL WRITER

President Bush returns to Ohio and Michigan today for campaign stops, fielding questions from Columbus residents today before rallying the troops at an event in Saginaw tonight.

First Lady Laura Bush has scheduled a speech on Monday in Toledo and her audience will include women who own small businesses. Like her husband, Mrs. Bush will head to Michigan after her appearance here.

The visits highlight the importance of the two states in the November election. No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio. Polls show Mr. Bush leads narrowly here and trails in Michigan but is within striking distance of Democratic challenger John Kerry.

Mr. Bush campaigned in Ohio last week, with stops in Cleveland, Canton, and Cambridge.

Mrs. Bush's appearance here is part of a six-state swing through key Midwestern states.

"He's going to be talking about the big issues in Ohio, namely the economy and how to keep growing it, and to make the case for his policies, and how they are going to help Ohio create more jobs," said campaign spokesman Kevin Madden. "He'll talk about the war on terror and the different reforms he has instituted to help American families."

He said Mrs. Bush will cover the same topics but will emphasize the ramifications of Bush policies on women.

Jerry Hurley, a Columbus Grove, Ohio, resident who was one of 1,500 people to lose their jobs at LG Philips Displays when the company moved its picture tube production from Ohio to Mexico in 2002, will meet with the President before the town hall meeting today.

A 27-year Philips employee, Mrs. Hurley had written to Mr. Bush last month telling him she was tired of hearing "the pitiful sob stories" of Ohioans who have lost jobs.

At 53, she is working toward a bachelor's degree with plans to teach adult education courses. She is happier than ever.

"Life is not easy. Life is not fair," Mrs. Hurley said. "You just have to pick up and go on. There are opportunities out there for people."

Mr. Kerry, meanwhile, continues his campaign toward the West Coast after receiving his party's presidential nomination at last week's Democratic National Convention. The Massachusetts senator and his wife, Teresa, spent parts of two days in Ohio and Michigan on their two-week journey west.

Blade Staff Writer Jennifer Feehan contributed to this report.

Contact Fritz Wenzel at:

fritz@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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