tampabay.com

Bush blasts Democrats

At a stop in Sarasota, he warns of fiscal woe if they take over Congress.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published October 25, 2006


SARASOTA - Look around the dinner table and add $500 to your tax bill for each child, President Bush said Tuesday as he sought to persuade voters that Democrats would destroy the economy and the family budget if they took over Congress.

"When you go to the voting booth in two weeks, the lever you pull will determine the taxes you pay for years to come," Bush said on a fundraising swing through Florida aimed at adding nearly $1.4-million to GOP coffers. "You will feel the results every April 15."

The president's recent political speeches have offered various zingers aimed at making ominous the idea of Democrats in charge of the House or Senate, either on the subject of tax cuts or fighting terrorism. On Tuesday, Bush singled out for special emphasis the gradual doubling of the child tax credit from $500 to $1,000, one of several cuts passed during his administration with expiration dates.

"If you're sitting around a dinner table and there's two children, your taxes just went up $1,000 if they take control," the president said. However, many Democrats have said they want to retain that tax cut.

In 2001, when it originally passed by a 282-144 vote, most Democrats voted against it because they said it was part of a Bush-backed tax package that provided meager tax relief in the early years, was far more costly than GOP estimates and was tilted toward the wealthy.

"The question is: Why hasn't the president and his rubber-stamp Republican Congress joined Democrats' efforts to expand the child tax credit?" said Jennifer Crider, a spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., referring to Democrats' wishes to make low-income families eligible for the credit.

It was the president's second day in a row of emphasizing economic good news - falling gas prices, low unemployment, a record-setting stock market, rising consumer confidence - as the elections approach.

Bush made his fundraising visit here for GOP congressional candidate Vern Buchanan, who is running against Democrat Christine Jennings for the House seat being vacated by Republican Katherine Harris in her run for the Senate. Polls show the race is tight.

Later Tuesday, Bush raised $1-million for the Republican National Committee at a closed event in a Boca Raton mansion.

The fundraiser was in the district of Republican Rep. Clay Shaw, who is running a difficult re-election race. Polls show Democrat Ron Klein closing in on the incumbent.