Politicians Push U.S. Security as Election Issue

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President Bush is calling on Congress to grant his administration "additional authority" for eavesdropping operations. He says the powers would make America safer. With security sure to be an election issue, Senate Democrats have put forward their own plan. It's called The Real Security Act of 2006.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

President Bush is campaigning for his party's candidates in Congress this week, and as he travels he's also pressing Congress to act on his national security proposals.

Republicans have made it clear they want to emphasize national security this fall, and yesterday in Atlanta, the President asked Congress for additional authority to continue eavesdropping without warrants from a court.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: The terror surveillance program helps protect Americans by allowing us to track terrorist communications so we can learn about threats like the 9/11 plot before it is too late.

MONTAGNE: The president asserted that Americans are safer than they were before 9/11.

President BUSH: We're safer because we've taken action to protect the homeland. We're safer because we're on the offense against our enemies overseas. We're safer because of the skill and sacrifice of the brave Americans who defend our people.

MONTAGNE: The Senate Democratic leader Harry Reed accused the president of trying to scare Americans into voting Republican in the mid-term elections. And Senate Democrats responded with their own proposals as elections approach. They call it The Real Security Act of 2006. It calls for a different way of distributing Homeland Security money, and an accelerated deployment of troops out of Iraq.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Here in Washington, the Senate Intelligence Committee will issue a 400-page report on Iraq. It examines how American intelligence agencies used information provided by Iraqi opposition groups before the war.

Democrats on the panel say this report will demonstrate how intelligence agencies and the Bush administration made mistakes about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

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