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BUSH SEEKS TAX BREAKS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

President Bush, expanding on his campaign's "economic renewal" theme, proposed Wednesday $20 billion in tax breaks and regulatory relief aimed at smoothing the way for small businesses.

"We'll help entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground, get their businesses up and running," Bush told a flag-waving crowd of several hundred business people.Bush aides said $132 billion in spending cuts already proposed by the president would more than offset the $20 billion in revenues lost under the small business plan.

In a meeting with business executives before detailing the plan, Bush said his initiative would make it easier for people to start businesses and to keep them healthy.

"It's about freeing up business from red tape and the excesses of regulation," Bush said. He said his Democratic rival would rely instead on "government control and government answers."

"Bill Clinton's tax plan means one thing: misery on Main Street," Bush said.

Bush aides acknowledged it was too late for Congress to act on the plan before lawmakers adjourn next month. But it fits neatly with a central theme of the campaign: that Bush wants to stimulate "entrepreneurial capitalism" and create jobs.

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All aboard

The president and first lady will travel through Michigan and Ohio on a whistle-stop train tour board the "Spirit of America" this weekend, the White House announced Wednesday. The train ride a first for President Bush and his wife, Barbara, begins Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, and ends Sunday in Grand Blanc, Mich.