Bush Stumps through Midwest to Tout Education, Tax-Cut Plans

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS -- President Bush used campaign-style events in the Midwest yesterday to try to build support for his education and tax-cut proposals in the closely divided Congress.

He noted congressional efforts to try to rework his plans or block key parts and said, "There's a lot of pressure on members from several fronts."

Both his multibillion-dollar blueprint to help schools that fall behind and his $1.6 trillion, 10-year tax cut have run into substantial opposition -- principally but not entirely from Democrats.

"One of the things chief executives in government know: We get to propose, we just don't get to write the law," Bush told an audience of educators and parents at a Columbus, Ohio, elementary school.

Bush said the budget he will submit to Congress next week will earmark $5 billion more for elementary-school reading programs over the next five years -- as he advocated during his campaign.

"I believe we can do a better job of teaching children to read," he said at the Moline Elementary School here.

He was promoting his tax cut plan later yesterday at a civic center in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood.

Bush's two-day trip -- his first as president to promote his top domestic priorities -- resembled a campaign swing, including language from last year's stump speeches. It was an effort "to take his agenda to the country," spokesman Ari Fleischer said.

"Accountability is critically important to meet the goal that no child should be left behind," he told his St. Louis audience.

Bush toured reading classes in both Ohio and Missouri with his wife, Laura, a former public school teacher and librarian. …