Bush promotes candidates who defend ‘traditional values’ | VailDaily.com

Bush promotes candidates who defend ‘traditional values’

GREELEY – President Bush encouraged voters to select candidates who will lower taxes and defend “traditional values” as he kicked off the final campaign weekend in a state where gay marriage dominates the political debate.Colorado voters face a pair of choices Tuesday that affect the rights of gay couples. The issue took on a new intensity last week with the allegations that a prominent Colorado Springs minister who criticized gay marriage secretly paid for sex with a man for years.Meanwhile, Democrat Angie Paccione has used the issue in her attempt to unseat Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave – a leading congressional critic of gay marriage – in rural Colorado’s 4th District. No Democrat has won the district in more than 30 years, but Paccione is putting up such a challenge that Bush came to town to try and give Musgrave a boost three days before Election Day.”She has worked to prevent the institution of marriage from being redefined by activist judges,” Bush said to thousands rallying for the GOP at a cavernous event center. “She understands your values, and that’s another reason to send her back to the United States Congress.”Outside, Musgrave’s critics drove a truck mounted with a billboard that criticized the Republican position on gay marriage and its plan in the war on terror: “Stop gay marriage now, so Osama doesn’t get away.”Bush ridiculed Democrats and pundits who have already predicted that Republicans will lose control of at least one chamber of Congress Tuesday.”I want to remind them, the folks of Colorado haven’t even voted yet,” Bush said. “With your help, we will hold the House, Marilyn will win, and we will control the United States Senate.”But White House aides acknowledged privately that they are already planning for likelihood that Democrats will take control of the House. They still held out hope that the Senate would keep a GOP majority.Paccione accuses Musgrave of being a single-minded devotee of banning gay marriage through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Democratic challenger ridiculed the incumbent’s statement to a conservative Christian group this fall that gay marriage was the most important issue facing Americans.Paccione said a gay marriage amendment would be an “abomination” and should not trump the Iraq war, the economy, health care and other issues.The gay marriage issue has given Republicans a distraction from the problems in Iraq that can help motivate conservative voters.Bush has been speaking out against gay marriage since the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Oct. 25 that same-sex couples must be given the same rights as married people. That part of Bush’s speech often draws the most applause from voters who have come to see him recently at the rallies across rural America.Colorado law already defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. A proposed amendment on Tuesday’s ballot would add it to the state constitution. A separate referendum would guarantee many rights for same-sex partners.The political debate resulted in personal charges against the Rev. Ted Haggard, who subsequently resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was dismissed as head of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado. A Denver man, Mike Jones, said he was offended that Haggard publicly supported the constitutional amendment while repeatedly paying him for drug-fueled sex trysts. Haggard denies having sex with the man, but admits receiving a massage and buying methamphetamine.Bush spokesman Tony Snow said the president would not take a position on the measures because they are strictly for Colorado voters to decide. But the president has promoted a federal ban on gay marriage.Earlier, Bush delivered his weekly radio address live from Mile High Coffee in suburban Denver. Sitting with a mug of coffee, Bush said his tax-cutting policies have created jobs and fueled economic progress. He said if Democrats gain control of the Congress, they can raise taxes simply by not renewing the tax cuts.Bush also used his appearance in Colorado to defend his policies in Iraq. Meanwhile, the White House dismissed two media reports that criticized his war leadership.Snow questioned the accuracy of the quotes in a report in the upcoming January issue of Vanity Fair that featured three former proponents of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq who are now critics of the war. “If the quotes are accurate, it means that they’re at war with the advice that they gave some time ago,” Snow said.Snow said the president just shrugged off an editorial by the Military Times Media Group calling for Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. In an unusually lengthy rebuke of an editorial, he argued that the editorial is a “shabby piece of work” that quotes military leaders out of context. He also noted that although the group publishes the Army Times and other military-oriented periodicals, it is a subsidiary of the Gannett Co. and not a military publication.Bush “understands what editorial writers sometimes do, and in this case, they’re grandstanding,” Snow said. “The notion that somehow, as the editorial says, that this is not intended to influence the elections – you’ve got to be kidding me. I mean, if they didn’t want it to influence the elections, they could have published it Wednesday.”Snow denied that Sunday’s expected verdict against former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was tied to the election. He said Iraq’s judiciary is completely independent.”Are you telling me that in Iraq, that they’re sitting around – I’m sorry, that the Iraqi judicial system is coming up with an October surprise?” Snow said, then he corrected his calendar reading. “A November surprise? Man, that’s – wow.”

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