SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — President Bush turned up the heat on Democratic lawmakers today, stumping in the home state of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and declaring at his side that bipartisanship is "alive and well."
Daschle has been among the most vigorous critics of Bush's 10-year, $1.6 trillion tax cut. The state's other senator, Tim Johnson, is also a Democrat.
But the three appeared together at a community health-care facility here as Bush promoted a proposal in his budget to increase funds for community-based health centers.
"This is an area where I'm confident we can work together," Bush said, smiling and nodding at Daschle, who nodded in reply. Neither Daschle nor Johnson said anything during their joint appearance with Bush.
Asked whether bipartisanship remains alive, the president said, "It doesn't look like it's dead to me."
Daschle is airing commercials throughout South Dakota critical of Bush's plan and was meeting with residents to air his concerns.
"On all matters, we are going to work together," Bush said. "Sometimes we'll agree, sometimes we won't agree, but one thing Senator Daschle and I have agreed on is to respect each other. It's amazing what happens when you get outside Washington, D.C.: people want civility, and we're going to give them civility."
Bush has proposed increasing funds for community-based health centers, which largely serve the uninsured and poor, by $2.2 billion over five years. Later, he was flying to Lafayette, La., for a tax-cut pitch with another family.
Bush has been stumping in the home states of those Senate Democrats who might be swayed to his economic plan, campaigning in their home states today and claiming momentum after passage of his income-tax cut in the House.
"One house down, and now the Senate to go," Bush told more than 7,000 people at a sports arena in Fargo, N.D., on Thursday.