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    President takes his message to Florida

    By DAN DeWITT
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published January 31, 2002

    DAYTONA BEACH -- In a swing through Florida, President Bush built on the message of his State of the Union speech, especially the crowd-pleasing themes of fighting terrorists and cutting taxes.

    After being introduced by Teresa Earnhardt -- widow of NASCAR racing legend Dale Earnhardt -- Bush emphasized his administration's determination to obliterate terrorist activity.

    And, as in Tuesday night's address, he suggested the action will extend beyond Afghanistan.

    "If you harbor a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, if you hide a terrorist, you are just as guilty as a terrorist," Bush said.

    "This is about more than just Afghanistan, though we've been pretty darn successful there, thanks to the United States military."

    He touched on domestic security and tightening immigration policies.

    "We have to know who's coming into our country and leaving our country," he said, drawing loud applause from the mostly Republican crowd of about 1,000 that packed a stuffy corrugated steel hanger at the Daytona International Airport.

    He told them the best way out of the current recession is to create jobs. The best way to do that, he said, is to cut taxes.

    "That's Economics 101. Evidently, some of them up there forgot to pick up the textbook," he said, referring to Democrats who have opposed his tax cut plan, mostly on the grounds it favors corporations and wealthy individuals.

    His brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, will join the president this morning when they meet with about 150 people from five groups of emergency services volunteers at a Volusia County fire training center. The president will talk more about his volunteerism initiative. Then he will go to Atlanta.

    He spent Wednesday night at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Daytona Beach, which faced a class-action discrimination lawsuit after the 1999 Black College Reunion. A settlement was reached in December, and an NAACP boycott has been lifted.

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