Sioux Falls, S.D. Smiles papered over partisan disputes Friday as President Bush and Senate Democrats dug in for battle over the tax cuts that breezed through the House.
"There is a need to make this happen quickly," Bush said wishfully.
A day after the House approved his plan to cut income tax rates, Bush traveled from South Dakota to Louisiana to build public pressure on those states' four Democratic U.S. senators to support the bill.
Bipartisan cooperation "is alive and well," Bush insisted to reporters as he, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and Sen. Tim Johnson, South Dakota, visited a medical lab in support of increased funds to community health centers in order to double the 11 million patients served in such clinics.
"This is an area where I'm confident we can work together," Bush said with a grin and a nod to Daschle.
The South Dakota Democrat nodded in reply and added quietly: "Absolutely. For the health of the country." Both Daschle and Johnson, who said nothing in his brief joint appearance with the president, have been sharply critical of Bush's tax plan as "risky" and tilted toward the wealthy.
At a subsequent rally, to which neither Democrat was invited, Bush cast himself as a man of the heartland, fumed that "the folks in Washington are used to spending orgies," and did nothing to quiet supporters who bellowed "Booooo!" at the mention of Daschle's name.