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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October 2004, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Presidential election
Midland Texas
Oil wells dot Midland's brush land

'If you want to understand me, you need to understand Midland', said President George Bush of his home town in Texas.

Jeremy Vine took up the suggestion and presented the Politics Show from the lone star state.

His investigation into the customs and attitudes of Bush country was not confined to asking questions.

At one ranch, Jeremy was set on a horse to try his hand at roping cattle, cowboy style.

West Texas is a land of oil, long-horned cattle and of course, cowboys. Texas is different.

Hardly surprising when you consider that until 1845 it was a separate, independent Republic.

George W Bush
You can take the man out of Midland ...

Texans even look different. Their dress code defines who they are ... And who their President is ...

Texans are proud of their identity and in Midland, at least, very proud of their favourite son - George W Bush.

George W Bush junior lived and first went to school in Midland.

He returned to Midland (after Yale and Harvard) to make his money in oil, just like his father.

And it was in Midland that he met (and married) Laura Welch, another native Midlander.

Man of faith

If George Bush's good ol' boy manner and his cowboy image have "made in Midland" stamped all over them, so does one of the driving forces of his political beliefs - his strong and ever present Christian Faith.

President Bush has never hidden his Faith.

It has driven his policies to promote "compassionate conservatism", encouraging faith-based groups to take on roles in social welfare.

And references to God and Christianity pepper his rhetoric on the "war on terror". I

n his last year as Governor here in Texas, he declared 10 June to be "Jesus Day" throughout the state.

George Bush started attending Bible study classes here in Midland in the 1980s.

One man who was at that bible study meetings with George Bush at the time was Kelly Coleman, a Christian activist who now runs a group supporting missionary work overseas.

"I know him and I know his family."

"George Bush is absolutely committed to his faith and I believe he hears God and God guides him in his work"

"I think he is an excellent President. He has done a lot of Christian things as President. He is a breath of fresh air after Clinton"

"I understand why some people get concerned about George talking about Jesus ... But he is a man who believes ... And lot of his opponents are just God-haters."

Bellwether state?

David Thomson
David Thomson reported

But Texas is not the place where the battle for the White House will be won or lost. Whether George W Bush will get his second term depends on a relatively small number of "swing states".

Politics Show's David Thomson reported from one of them, Missouri.

Judging by how its people have voted for the last 100 years, whichever candidate wins here will almost certainly be the next President.

Politics Show wants to hear your views.

Have your say

Join presenter Jeremy Vine for Politics Show on Sunday, 24, October at 12.30pm on BBC One.
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