In Obama's town hall rhetoric, echoes of Bush

US President Barack Obama speaks during the rural economic forum at Northeast Iowa Community college in Peosta, Iowa, August 16, 2011, as US President Barack Obama arrives during his three-day bus tour in the Midwest centering on ways to grow the economy. Getty Images

US President Barack Obama speaks during the rural economic forum at Northeast Iowa Community college in Peosta, Iowa, August 16, 2011, as US President Barack Obama arrives during his three-day bus tour in the Midwest centering on ways to grow the economy. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Former President George W. Bush, left, and President Barack Obama, right.
Getty Images

Updated: 7:00 p.m. ET

Who said this? "Listen. I'm interested in one thing. I'm interested in helping people find work. I want people who want to work to be able to find a job."

It sure sounds like the rhetoric President Obama has been offering up at the town hall meetings on his three-day Midwestern bus tour.

But the statement above was spoken eight years earlier, by then-president George W. Bush, on a visit to Minnesota shortly after announcing his bid for presidential re-election.

Okay. Who said this? "Yes, we've got a deficit. We've got a deficit for a couple of reasons. The main reason is that when you're in a recession, less money is coming into the Treasury."

Again, it was Bush, in a speech on June 19, 2003 in  in Livonia, New Jersey.

And again, it sounds just like the words we hear almost daily from Mr. Obama.

Compare these two statements:

  • "I believe in the future of the country in all aspects because I know the character of our people."

  • "When I travel through the Midwest, I am absolutely confident about this country. And the reason is because of you."

The first was spoken eight years ago on that New Jersey visit by then-president Bush. The second was spoken on Wednesday by Mr. Obama at a town hall meeting in Atkinson, Ill.

The similarities, if nothing else, illustrate the parallels between two incumbent presidents with re-election on the mind.

The Bush speeches in Minnesota and New Jersey were billed as official by his White House, as was the bus trip Mr. Obama has taken this week. Yet both speeches had plenty of nuances that were campaign-inspired.

In both cases, the two presidents let taxpayers, rather than their respective campaign organizations, cover the costs of their trips. 

Since filing as a candidate for re-election on April 4th this year, Mr. Obama has been on 17 trips and delivered 46 speeches designed to win support for his policy agenda. Nineteen of them were delivered at campaign fundraising events.

Bush, who filed for re-election on May 16, 2003, had by this same point in his presidency taken 12 trips and delivered 22 speeches, 12 of which were delivered at Bush-Cheney campaign events.

  • Mark Knoller On Twitter»

    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.

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