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Bush touts economic forum

©Associated Press
August 11, 2002

CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush on Saturday defended his upcoming economic forum from Democratic critics, saying it will give him the chance to meet with workers and business people.

Democrats dismiss the event as "a glorified photo opportunity and fundraiser," with big GOP donors participating.

In his weekly radio address, Bush said he has invited small-business owners, working people, investors, corporate executives, economists, farmers and members of his Cabinet to the events Tuesday in Waco.

With the help of such participants, "the economic forum will strengthen our economy and make workers and investors more secure," Bush said.

The president added to the theme before an early morning round of golf Saturday, putting a positive spin on recent news that productivity is increasing modestly.

He called that a "continuing signal that our economy grows and strengthens" and said the gathering will provide an arena to discuss ways to promote job growth.

Bush said he will be glad to listen to the economists and the executives but also is "eager to hear from Americans from all walks of life, who are working hard to make ends meet in these uncertain economic times."

All participants will discuss "where our economy stands, the impact of the policies we have put in place and the steps we are taking as we move forward," the president said.

"I expect we will get a wide variety of suggestions on strengthening the economy," he said.

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