MIAMI -- Even as he continued to grapple with Mideast violence, President Bush used a visit yesterday to South Florida to focus attention on his domestic agenda, promoting free trade, low taxes and his vision for new immigration laws as cornerstones of a strong economy.
That message has taken on new urgency for the White House as economic growth slows and high gas prices continue to sap public satisfaction with Bush's management of the economy.
And it came less than 100 days before congressional elections that Democrats hope will catapult them back into power on Capitol Hill.
Speaking at a Coast Guard center, Bush did not mention the elections. But he sounded like a political campaigner as he talked of how free trade was creating jobs. Bush pledged to continue working for an agreement on global trade after negotiations broke down last week over disagreements about agricultural production.
The president also talked up tax cuts that he said had helped entrepreneurs start new businesses.