President George W. Bush pulled out his tough-on-terrorism speech from his last campaign and said on Friday that the United States would wage an unrelenting battle in Iraq to protect Americans at home.
"Our short-term objective is to stay on the hunt and bring the killers to justice before they hurt us again," the president said at a political event. "I'd rather be defeating them there than face them here at home."
Bush spoke at a fundraiser for Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy, the party's presumptive nominee for the state's open Senate seat, and the state Republican party.
The event was a delicate balancing act for the candidate _ who needs Bush's fundraising muscle but has been making some effort to distance himself from a president who has been down in the polls.
Bush made the war on terrorism the central element of his re-election campaign and it resonated with voters. He emphasized that theme on Friday, saying that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 demonstrated that the United States must deal with the world as it really is.