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EDITIONS
Monday, 2 September, 2002, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Bush speech focuses on economy
US President George W Bush before he left Texas for Washington on Sunday.
Bush has his eye on November's mid-term elections
US President George W Bush focused on domestic issues in his Labor Day address in an apparent move to win Republican votes from the labour movement which would normally back the Democrats.

In a speech to the trade union United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Mr Bush launch a heated attack on Congress for not having pushed through terrorism insurance legislation.

"Congress needs to get moving on a terrorism insurance bill," he said, insisting that failing to do so could cost 300,000 jobs.

"This bill has got to be good for hard-hats, not lawyers," he said in an appeal for votes ahead of the 5 November mid-term elections.

The elections will see the two parties in a fierce battle over the Democrats' one-seat majority in the Senate, and the Republicans' narrow margin in the House of Representatives.

Crooked executives

Mr Bush, who returned to Washington on Sunday after a month at his Texas ranch, also launched an attack on those in charge of the string of companies which have been embroiled in recent corporate scandals.

For them, he warned, there would be "no more easy money, just hard time" in prison.

But his audience was also asked to take responsibility for pulling the US economy out of the doldrums by offering greater labour flexibility.

Many Democrats and trade unions fear Mr Bush is trying to erode federal protection for US workers.

The Carpenters and Joiners' union backs Mr Bush's controversial proposal to drill for oil and gas in a protected wilderness area in Alaska - a move opposed by many Democrats.

Officials from the union were also invited to an administration forum on the economy in Texas last month.

No war talk

As expected, Mr Bush did not make US military plans for Iraq a major part of the speech.

Speculation around the world has mounted that Mr Bush plans to order an attack on Iraq, which the US accuses of trying to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
President George W Bush
"We've got to make sure that we continue to focus on jobs"
Former Republican Senator Robert Pressler
"The president has not been a free trader"

Economic indicators

Fears and hopes

US Fed decisons

IN DEPTH
See also:

26 Aug 02 | Middle East
02 Sep 02 | September 11 one year on
01 Sep 02 | Africa
22 Aug 02 | Americas
07 Aug 02 | Business
29 Jul 02 | Business
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