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Bush wows crowd at Hanner
President campaigns for Burns
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Bush crowd

President Bush mingles with crowd on South Main Street in Statesboro.

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Bush Hanner

President Bush makes first appearance in Hanner.

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    With Georgia Southern University's Hanner Fieldhouse packed to overflowing, President George W. Bush was met with a loud and enthusiastic crowd Monday when he stopped in Statesboro to show support for Republican Congressional candidate Max Burns.
    Burns is battling it out for Georgia's 12th Congressional District seat against incumbent Democrat John Barrow.
    After Burns introduced the president, the cheers, whistles and foot-stomping rivaled any noise made during sporting events held in the building. When the applause died down, Bush opened with a plug for Burns.
    "It is great to be back in the state of Georgia," he said. "And it is even better to be here with the next Congressman for this district, Max Burns."
    Burns "knows how to be a great congressman ... because he has done it before," he said.
    Burns, from Screven County and a former professor at Georgia Southern "knows the district." That is a benefit for someone representing an area, he said.
    As a former congressman, Burns helped pass "key legislation that helped farmers, helped senior citizens file their taxes, and helped public schools," Bush said. "There is no doubt in my mind that Max Burns is the next U.S. Congressman" for the 12th District of Georgia.
    The president said his wife Laura supports Burns as well. "She likes a man with integrity ..."
    Bush didn't limit his praise to Burns, plugging Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as well. And the president showed his humorous side with a comment on Perdue's footwear.
    "It makes me feel comfortable to be in a state where your governor wears cowboy boots," he said. "And I know it makes you feel comfortable to have a governor who is competent and gets the job done."
    Then, he reminded folks the election is just around the corner.
    "We want to sprint to the finish line and we want your help," he said.
@Subhead:Digs at Democrats
@Bodycopy:    State Senate leader Eric Johnson, Perdue and Congressman Jack Kingston also spoke before Bush, promoting the Republican party. Their speeches were even more partisan than the president's, but Bush took a few digs at the Democrats himself.
    He reminded folks to remember back in 2004, when he was re-elected, and that Democrats thought they had a chance to win the close race for control of the Congress.
    "Some of them were picking out their offices in the West Wing ... but the movers never got the call," he said, raising laughter from the crowd.
    The focus is to retain control, he said. "If we elect folks like Max Burns to office, we will keep control of the House and the Senate."
    Republicans are steady and dependable, he said. "We do not shift with the latest opinion polls or focus groups. We will win this election because we have a good record to run on."
    He said the Republican party should be credited with the No Child Left Behind Act, tax cuts, Medicare improvements and border patrol increases. He also supported biofuel efforts.
    "We want Georgia farmers growing the fuel that will energize our automobiles in the future," he said. Using "Georgia corn, (then) we'll become less dependent on foreign sources of oil."
    He also raised a loud cry of support, with cheers and foot stomping, when he said "We believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman and should be definitive."
    He spoke about money, telling the crowd Republicans "believe you know how to spend your money better than the federal government does. Democrats believe they can spend your money better than you can."

@Subhead:War on terror
@Bodycopy:    Bush also spoke of current issues, mainly the war against terrorism.
    "We face an enemy that is brutal," he said. "They hate freedom. We love freedom, and this is why they hate us. You cannot reason with these people. You cannot talk sense to them. The best way to protect you is to bring 'em to justice before they hurt America again."
    The Democrat approach to terrorism is to "just say no" when it comes to taking action, he said. "And when the Democrats ask for your vote, what is your answer? Just say no!"
    He explained reasons for taking Saddam Hussein and other terrorists into custody. "When this country sees a threat, we must take these things seriously before they come home to hurt us," he said. "Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right decision and the world is better off ... I think it is important for the Commander in Chief to listen to the words of the enemy ... I believe it is a central part of the war on terror.
    "You do not create terrorists by fighting terrorists," he said. "The best way is to stay on the offense and fight them overseas so we don't have to fight them on the home front."
    Remaining in Iraq to help them become "a government for the people, by the people,"  will help overcome terrorism and "I think the only way we cannot succeed is to leave before the job is done," he said. "... you cannot win a war without fighting the war ... We've been in idealogical struggles before, and freedom always won."
@Subhead:Surprise stop
@Bodycopy:    After the rally, Bush's motorcade took him along Fair Road and South Main Street to Statesboro Inn, where he enjoyed lunch and some "down time" before heading back to Paulson Stadium, where he boarded Marine One helicopter and flew back to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah. The president was expected at another event later Monday in Sugarland, Texas.
    The White House found the Statesboro Inn online, and Secret Service agents came last week to check the facility out, said co-owner Denman Dubose.
    Bush took some time to give an interview with FOX News' Sean Hannity, then ate lunch and relaxed in the inn's Brannen House, he said.
    DuBose did not say what the president was served, but national press and a handful of local media enjoyed boiled shrimp, fresh fruit, cheese cubes, crab dip, quail legs wrapped in bacon, fried shrimp, scallops and oysters, beef and chicken bites, and other morsels.
    He said the president was impressed with the inn.
    "He said it was a 'lovely place, and I wish my wife could be here,'" DuBose said. "He was very nice, and I liked him a lot better in person. He is really nice, an average Joe. I was very impressed with that."
    Before leaving, Bush visited briefly with a crowd gathered across South Main Street, shaking hands and holding a toddler, 15-month-old Cayson Simmons, who shares a birthday with the president – July 6.
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