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Bush Heads To Michigan

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney rode the rails Saturday, hoping to convince crucial middle American voters in the middle of the political road that the GOP ticket is right for them.

Their old-fashioned rail tour, featuring a 16-car train toting 100 journalists and another hundred staffers, chugged into Michigan, Saturday.

The Texas governor proclaimed, "I think Michigan is bush country!"

CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker reports Bush is reminding crowds that his Republican Party is something different. His campaign stumps highlight the new direction the GOP is headed under his leadership, echoing a major theme from this past week’s convention.

Despite a post-convention bounce, which has put Bush ahead of Al Gore by 19 percentage points in some polls, the GOP ticket is campaigning hard, asking crowds to give them a chance in Washington.

On Friday, his first day of campaigning since the Republican convention, Bush addressed Pennsylvania voters with an old-fashioned flair. Shouting campaign slogans through a loud speaker and delivering mini-stump speeches off a rear platform of his train, Bush declared: "We're taking no votes for granted. I want you to remind your friends and neighbors when voting time comes who came."

The GOP ticket plans to head to Illinois Sunday.

After his train ride in the Midwest, Bush heads to the West Coast, where Sen. John McCain is to join him for campaigning in California, Oregon and Washington State.

The GOP Convention
  • Convention Highlights
    Bush Makes His Pitch
  • Eric Engberg
    Bush Makes The Varsity
  • Daggers Out
    George Sr. And Bill
  • ¡No Mas!
    Gore To Clinton
  • Hope & Dope
    Philly's Poorest Hood
  • Media Bash
    Shadow Conventions
  • Standing By Their 'Man'
    Survey Of GOP Delegates
  • Fat Cats
    Buffet Politics
  • Heavy Bail
    Activist Needs $1 Million
  • George W. Bush
    Speech Transcript
  • Dick Cheney
    Speech Transcript
  • The Arizona senator won seven primaries last winter and demonstrated a strong appeal to idependent voters whose votes will be critical in November.

    While ahead in the polls, Bush cautions that, "We're in for a tough campaign, but we know it and we're ready."

    Bush's aides said Friday their boss was "feeling great" about his performance the night before, when he claimed the mantle of the GOP in a 52-minute acceptance speech to enthralled delegates at Philadelphia's First Union Center.

    The address—which was sharply critical of President Clinton's leadership but also flush with expansive, inclusive language—even impressed some skeptics.

    R.W. Apple of The New York Times said, "I thought the important thing about the speech was that he looked in command of the situation. He didn't look like a dumb-dumb. He didn't look like someone who would go down to Moscow or Beijing and give away the store."

    And it pleased like-minded members of the GOP.

    "They announced to the world that we have a new Republican Party," said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

    In the speech, Bush served the throng familiar fare of tax cuts and abortion bans, but stressed his GOP is "something new," home to his trademark compassionate conservatism.

    "Single moms struggling to feed the kids and pay the rent, immigrants starting a hard life in a new world—We are their country too," he said.

    He ridiculed Gore, who has slammed Bush's proposed tax cuts and Social Security reforms as "risky schemes."

    "He now leads the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but the only thing he has to offer is fear itself," Bush said.

    He defended the tone of his speech, denying it was unduly critical of his rival. However, Bush conceded he had needled Gore. "I like to needle," he said with a smile.