I was fortunate enough to be one of the people invited to hear President Bush at the John Q. Hammons Center. He started by announcing 49 months of consecutive job growth. He spoke about putting policies in place to help small business and that running up taxes was the worse thing to do for small businesses. Congress, he said, was planning to add a $205 billion increase to the budget and in order to pay for it they would have to raise taxes. He complained that Congress has yet to send him an appropriation bill to sign. He said that there was going to be a "Fiscal Showdown" in Washington.
The rest of the time President Bush took questions from the audience. He defended his veto of the S-CHIP saying it "sounds like nationalized medicine". He said the program should provide for the poor children that the current S-CHIP isn't providing for instead of expanding free health care to the upper middle class. He believes that people should be offer a private insurance they can afford.
One question came from a dairy farmer who complained about the cost of corn and about the enforcement of illegal immigration laws. President Bush said that he agreed with people that we should enforce our immigration laws and protect the border. He sounded very angry that the comprehensive "amnesty" bill was defeated. It sounded like he was very sympathetic to the farmer because he wanted to cut costs by hiring the cheap illegals to work his farm. One of the last questions came from our very own Mayor Dan Coody. Yes! He was there! Well, you expect him to be invited but you don't actually believe that he'd show up. Anyway, he ask a question about his favorite subject, economic sustainability. President Bush said that we needed to grow our economy and still have a sound environmental policy. He said we needed to focus on new technology to help. He said we can't be a good steward of the environment if we're broke.
President Bush does really well at this type of venue. While I don't always agree with him, I did enjoy hearing him speak.