With the midterm elections eight days away, President Bush is out on the campaign trail, flying to Georgia and Texas, two states he won by wide margins in 2004. But the political climate is vastly different now; several states the president won in 2004 are now battlegrounds for GOP candidates.
Speaking in Statesboro, Ga., where the incumbent is Democrat John Barrow and the challenger is former Rep. Max Burns, the president told his audience "You can bet one thing: We're going to sprint to the finish line."
The Republican Party hopes that by winning Barrow's seat, they can make the Democrats' goal of capturing the House more difficult.
On his trip, the president is seeking to link local Democratic candidates with the national party leaders — like House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who could become the next Speaker of the House.
President Bush said Democrats will raise taxes, and that their opposition to his policies in Iraq shows they don't understand the enemy.
"It's raging across the country, this debate on Iraq," the president said. "If you listen carefully for a Democrat plan for success, they don't have one. Iraq is the central front for the war on terror."
The president's goal this week is to get core Republican voters excited in a move to hold on to control of the House and the Senate.
In President Bush's travels in the week before the election, the focus is primarily on red states. On Saturday, it was Indiana and South Carolina; Monday, it was Georgia, and the Texas district left open when former Republican Majority Leader Tom Delay resigned under a cloud earlier this year. Later this week, the president will be in Montana and Nevada.
In all these places, the arrival of President Bush generates major attention without the risk of being an even greater motivating force for Democrats to get out and vote.