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Campaigning Bush hits Pennsylvania -

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Campaigning Bush hits Pennsylvania

Reporter: Lisa Millar

TONY JONES: US President George Bush has been campaigning in Pennsylvania today for the 42nd time
as he and Democrat John Kerry tussle over a handful of swing states.

Iraq continues to dominate the debate no more so than in the state that was the birthplace of the
US constitution, which has sent hundreds of young men and women to fight in the Middle East.

North America correspondent Lisa Millar reports.

LISA MILLAR: Not a lot of people call Sunbury home, a small town in rural Pennsylvania.

What it lacks in population it makes up for in pride.

Hundreds of soldiers have left their homes here to serve in Iraq and in this small county, at least
five will never return.

SUNBURY RESIDENT #1: The Republicans get in, they screw our country up.

Democrats have to get in and straighten it all around again, where we should be.

SUNBURY RESIDENT #2: I'm not even going to vote because of the war, because neither one of them is
doing any good for our boys.

I don't think we belong over there.

LISA MILLAR: Zachariah Long was 20 when he was killed in Iraq.

Eighteen months after his death, his parents remain grief-stricken.

KAREN LONG, ZACHARIAH'S MOTHER: The pain is as real today as it was one-and-a-half years ago.

LISA MILLAR: But Rick and Karen Long have no doubts their son was part of a vital mission.

KAREN LONG: I really believe President Bush did what he felt was right for America.

LISA MILLAR: There is no shortage of patriotism across this county and they feel that believing in
the war is part of that loyalty to country.

Not only are their sons and daughters keeping Iraq safe, but they're helping secure America as
well.

SUNBURY RESIDENT #3: I think we needed to be there.

I think the people there needed help and we were there to help them.

LISA MILLAR: And many will take that conviction with them to the polling booths next week.

SUNBURY RESIDENT #4: I feel safe, I feel he's in control and I feel he's on top of things.

LISA MILLAR: President Bush is determined not to let any of that support waver.

GEORGE W BUSH, US PRESIDENT: Most of all I want to thank you all.

You've lifted our spirits for being here.

You're kind with your time and I want to thank you for coming.

LISA MILLAR: The opinion polls show Pennsylvania is one of the handful of swing states that could
go either way.

And he was back there this week for the 42nd time.

It's a huge turnout for a conservative stronghold, but the polls are tightening, favouring the
challenger.

It seems voters are still weighing their doubts about John Kerry against their discontent with
President Bush.

The last few days have been tough for the President, forced to break his silence over the reports
of missing explosives in Iraq.

GEORGE W BUSH: Now the Senator is making wild charges about missing explosives when his top foreign
policy advisor admits "we do not know the facts".

Think about that.

The Senator is denigrating the actions of our troops and commanders in the field without knowing
the facts.

LISA MILLAR: The timing of the disappearance of the explosives is critical and the Kerry camp
believes it's a powerful issue that will raise doubts in the minds of voters.

Lisa Millar, Lateline.