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Bush wows Tri-State

HUNTINGTON, W.

Tuesday, October 03, 2000

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Making economic promises to the Tri-State, Texas Gov. George W. Bush told thousands lining the Ohio River Monday that America will see a "new attitude" when the polls close in five weeks.

Officials guessed more than 7,000 spectators packed the Harris Riverfront Park amphitheater and beyond to see, or at least hear, the Republican presidential candidate.

Bush’s much talked about charm and charisma filled the air as he stumped during the only rally he held before today’s first presidential debate.

Laid-off mine worker and president of Local 2935 United Mine Workers of America, Dick Kimbler, introduced Bush, telling the crowd, "I was one of the unfortunate people. The Democrat administration shut my mine down and I lost my job."

Responding to the crowd’s roaring cheer, the Republican candidate took the microphone.

More than 100 coal miners representing the traditionally Democratic state stood fast behind him to listen.

"I’ll tell you who’s going to be surprised next Nov. 7 when West Virginia votes," Bush told the crowd. "It’s not going to be me. It’s going to be my opponent."

"The people don’t want four more years of Clinton/Gore," Bush said. "The reason we have an energy problem is because this is an administration that fears coal. They see it as a threat. I see it as an opportunity to make us less dependent on foreign oil."

Touching on virtually every national issue – from Social Security to Medicare to prescription drugs and rebuilding the military and its morale – Bush awed those who rallied for his support.

"I believe that if we work together, we can achieve what America wants energy and dependence and at the same time, protect our environment," Bush said. "I want people back to work who were working in this part of the (country.) And when they go back to work, I want them to be able to keep more of the money they earn."

Bush also addressed federal budget surplus money, saying he wanted "to send money back to the people who pay the bills."

He briefly spoke of the presidential debate tonight.

"My opponent thinks the federal government is all wise, all knowing, all intelligent, but we know better," he said. "The truth of the matter is the strength of America is with our people the hard working people. I’m so honored to be here today. We’re five short weeks away from bringing a new attitude to Washington."

As Bush gave a victory wave and a speech-ending, "God bless," fireworks erupted from the towboat J.S. Lewis.