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Archive for Saturday, May 8, 2004

Elder Bush says son will avoid campaign mistakes

May 8, 2004

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— Former President George Bush said his son wasn't likely to make the same mistakes in this year's election as the elder Bush did when he lost a bid for a second term as president in 1992.

Bush, in a speech to 500 mortgage brokers Thursday night, blamed himself for his inability to communicate the health of the economy to Americans during his 1992 campaign for re-election. He said the perception of the economy was just as important as its actual state.

He credited President Clinton with using the perception that the economy was much weaker than it was to his advantage.

"They did their job, and they did it well," Bush said of the Clinton campaign. "The perception was we were in the tank and I was out of touch."

Leading up to the election, Labor Department statistics showed that 32,000 jobs had been lost from June to October 1992. But revised statistics revealed that more than 450,000 jobs were created over that time, Bush said.

Twelve years later, the current President Bush also is dealing with perceptions about the nation's economy.

Economic indicators show a healthy economy, the elder Bush said, with thousands of jobs being created and unemployment down.

For this year's election, the elder Bush said his son would speak on the economy's condition, keeping perceptions in mind.

"The president is a much better communicator than his dad," Bush said.

During a 30-minute speech to the Kansas Association of Mortgage Brokers, Bush said his son never complained about the burdens of being president. He said the younger Bush did not seek his counsel, but instead focused on family.

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