Bush aims to evoke 9/11 pledge

President George Bush arrives in New York later today ahead of his crucial speech to the Republican national convention.

President George Bush arrives in New York later today ahead of his crucial speech to the Republican national convention.

Mr Bush will join fire fighters at a station in the city suburb of Queens, from where he will watch on television as Vice President Dick Cheney addresses delegates.

Mr Cheney is expected to deliver a stinging attack on Mr Bush’s Democratic challenger John Kerry, questioning the senator’s “confusion of conviction”. Mr Bush will speak the following night.

Mr Bush hopes that his meeting with fire fighters will remind voters of the days following September 11, when he visited the city and promised to bring the terrorists to justice.

As Mr Bush travelled to New York, following a series of campaign stops, more than 1,000 protesters were being processed by police after being arrested early on Wednesday.

Hundreds of riot police flooded the streets around the convention hall, Madison Square Garden, and took arrested demonstrators away in public buses.

Some protesters were detained after violent clashes with police.

Today, thousands of people gathered to form a three-mile chain stretching from Wall Street to Madison Square Garden, to protest against unemployment.

Meanwhile, a disturbance inside the convention hall led to five people being dragged away and detained by security staff.

A group of anti-war protesters blew whistles during a meeting of Young Republicans who had just been introduced by Mr Bush’s twin daughters Barbara and Jenna.

The incident comes as a huge embarrassment for the many law-enforcement and security officials policing the gathering.

Early today, First Lady Laura Bush told delegates of her husband’s struggle with his conscience before invading Iraq.

“My husband didn’t want to go to war but he knew that the safety and security of America and the world depended on it,” she said, adding that people could “count on him in a crisis”.

She said: “Our parents’ generation confronted tyranny and liberated millions.

“As we do the hard work of confronting today’s threat, we can also be proud that 50 million more men, women and children in Afghanistan live in freedom today thanks to the United States of America and our allies.”

Movie star-turned California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger praised President George Bush as “a leader who does not flinch, does not waiver and does not back down”.

“One of my movies is called True Lies and that is what the Democrats should have called their convention,” he said to cheers.

He repeatedly praised president Bush and defended the Iraq war.

Referring to his famous “I’ll be back” line from the Terminator films, he said: “America is back”.

“Back from the attack on our homeland, back from the attack on our country and back from the attack on our way of life.”

This, he said, was due to the leadership of Mr Bush.

“He is a leader who does not flinch, does not waiver and does not back down.

“That is why America is safer with George W Bush as president.

“Send him back to Washington for four more years,” he said.

In a bid to attract the swing voters who may decide the election he said: “If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the the Government does, then you’re a Republican.

“If you believe that you must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism then you’re a Republican.

“If you believe that this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope for democracy, then you’re a Republican.”

Polls show the race for the White House between Bush and his Democrat rival Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts is neck and neck.

The latest survey, a Washington Post-ABC News poll, found that 48% of registered voters supported Mr Bush, with 47% for Mr Kerry.

Mr Bush will address the convention early on Friday before accepting the party’s nomination for a second term in the White House.

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