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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

BBC > Bush Plugs Missile Defense System Plan

Tue Aug 17, 8:12 PM ET

By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer
RIDLEY PARK, Pa. - President Bush (news - web sites) paid tribute Tuesday to defense workers who help equip U.S. troops in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan and also put in a plug for his administration's plans for an anti-missile system as he toured a helicopter factory involved in both missions.

In his second visit to a Boeing Co. plant in a week, this time in election-critical Pennsylvania, Bush also renewed his pledge to appeal to the World Trade Organization (news - web sites) if necessary to challenge European Union (news - web sites) subsidies of Boeing's chief commercial aircraft competitor, Airbus.

Addressing thousands of Boeing employees and their families as well as local political supporters, Bush praised people who "work day and night to put out a good product for our country."

He spoke at an outdoor rally in a parking lot alongside a helicopter assembly and refitting plant in this Philadelphia suburb. Two CH-47 Chinook choppers served as props.

Bush also spoke of his administration's proposal for an anti-missile defense system, noting that Boeing was a major contractor on the project.

"I think those who oppose this ballistic missile system don't understand the threats of the 21st century," the president told applauding workers.

The president noted that last month Boeing engineers loaded the first missile interceptor into a silo in Alaska. He characterized that as the beginning of a national shield "that was envisioned by Ronald Reagan

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