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  • Barbara Bush joins son on Florida campaign trail
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    Barbara Bush joins son on Florida campaign trail

    "He will not let you down,'' the former first lady says of her son Jeb, campaigning for re-election.

    ©Associated Press
    October 22, 2002


    "He will not let you down," the former first lady says of her son Jeb, campaigning for re-election.

    SARASOTA -- Former first lady Barbara Bush gave a "mother's promise" on Monday, telling retirees along Florida's southwest coast that her son deserves a second term as governor.

    Bush, the wife and mother of U.S. presidents, touted the agenda of another politician in the family, Gov. Jeb Bush , offering a boost in his campaign against Democratic challenger Bill McBride .

    "He will not let you down -- that's a mother's promise," Bush said, wearing a light green dress and her trademark pearls.

    She later joined the governor at an event in Cape Coral, where the Republican incumbent accused McBride of offering "a bunch of vague, empty promises.

    "Here's the fine print. Your taxes will go up," Gov. Bush said in the Republican stronghold. "There is no possible way to do what he's promising without raising taxes or cutting spending."

    The former first lady spoke on the eve of the final gubernatorial debate in Orlando. Recent polls call the race a statistical dead heat.

    In Sarasota, Barbara Bush encouraged her audience to vote by absentee ballot. She has already appeared on taped phone messages throughout the state encouraging absentee voting and support for the Republican ticket.

    Bush said her son has built a strong record of accomplishments on elderly issues, including more funding for the aging, flexibility in housing, more prescription drug coverage and a reduction in violent crime.

    "Your homes, your streets and your families are safer than ever before," Bush said.

    "As proud as I am of all of these accomplishments, I am even more proud of the kind of man he is," she said. "You may not agree with all of the decisions that Jeb has made as governor but you cannot help but agree that he has been a strong and decisive leader."

    Bush joked that she and her husband, former President George Bush, continue to marvel at Jeb's development.

    "Often when we watch Jeb give a speech, George and I are truly in awe," Bush said. "I think: "Is this the same son I used to threaten with death and destruction when he wouldn't clean his room?"'

    Former President Bush is planning to speak today at a veterans rally in Jacksonville on behalf of his son, and his wife is attending a Broward County women's event.

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