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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

From the studios of NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY. I'm Madeleine Brand.

MIKE PESCA, host:

And I'm Mike Pesca. Coming up, a Democrat with a plan for Iraq explains why others in his party have not proposed solutions.

BRAND: But first, President Bush in Washington today restated his commitment to win the war on terrorism, but a comment he made last night at a political fundraise in Birmingham, Alabama is getting most of the attention today.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: Five years after 9/11, the worst attack on American homeland in our history, the Democrats offer nothing but criticism and obstruction and endless second-guessing. The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run.

BRAND: I'm joined now by NPR White House correspondent Don Gonyea. And Don, pretty strong words - obstruction, endless second-guessing, the party of cut and run. Is this what we're going to hear more of between now and the election?

DON GONYEA: Yes, to put it very bluntly. And here's why. We are entering the home stretch, It's the final month, essentially, as we lead up to the mid-term elections, and there is so much at stake, most notably control by the President's party of both chambers of the Congress, and while the president himself isn't on the ballot, his agenda certainly is, in the form of all the GOP members of Congress who've gotten him the votes he's needed over the past six years. So you can really see this as President Bush's last campaign. He leave office in two years, and any hope he has of really setting his own agenda for those last two years is on the line.

BRAND: And obviously he thinks going aggressive is the way to go.

GONYEA: Red meat political speeches have worked for him in the past. Ask John Kerry about that. Ask anybody he's ever run against. And the White House thinks it'll work again. So what they're doing here, though, is really trying to refocus the debate away from the Iraq war and on the question of whether Republicans or Democrats are more committed to making America safer. So that's why you see language like cut-and-run Democrats from the president.

BRAND: And is he worries that losses by Republicans this fall will reflect poorly on him and his policy in Iraq?

GONYEA: Yeah. The answer to that is yes as well. He knows that like it or not, this election is about him. He's been out there. He's been attending fundraisers for GOP candidates who themselves don't actually appear with him at the fundraiser, because they don't want their picture taken with him because that will hurt. There are Republicans all over the country whose campaign literature doesn't mention the Republican Party, and the president knows a loss of the House by the - or loss of the House or Senate by Republicans will be seen as a big loss for him.

BRAND: NPR White House correspondent Don Gonyea. Thanks, Don.

GONYEA: Okay.

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