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Bunning makes appearance at Mercer chamber event

August 29, 2003|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - Sen. Jim Bunning says the United States has enough troops fighting terrorism in Iraq, but Americans at home have to understand it will not be over soon.

Bunning, a Republican serving his first term in the senate, spoke Thursday at a Mercer Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Beaumont Inn.

"The president made it clear it would not be easy or quick," Bunning told the more that 40 people attending the luncheon. Bunning said he has seen the plans for battling terrorism. "In Afghanistan, the plan is working pretty well. In Iraq, it's partially successful.

"It's not going to be easy, and we have to stand fast. The president is not going to back down and neither is (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair."

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Bunning also predicted a Medicare prescription drug bill will be signed by President George W. Bush in October. "We have promised senior citizens for over 10 years that we would give them (assistance with prescription drugs.) I think it's time we did."

Bunning said the economy is beginning to recover from recession. "Despite what you read in the Lexington Herald or the Courier-Journal, or seen on Clinton News Network, the tax break helped the least of us who pay taxes."

He even blamed some of his Republican colleagues for cutting the Bush tax cut in half. He said the $350 billion tax cut was too small to stimulate the faltering economy. "Some of our own party defected," Bunning said.

He said the tax bill helped business, but the amount of money with which the Congress had to work was too little. "We did the best we could with what we had to work with."

He chastised Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton for his claims of a state budget surplus. While not calling Patton by name, Bunning charged that the budget surplus about which the governor took credit could not have happened without the infusion of federal funds.

At the beginning of his speech, Bunning praised Beaumont Inn as a national treasure and said that before most in the room were born, the inn had been a special place for his family to come from their summer home on Herrington Lake in the 1940s.

"The food gets better every year," he said.

Bunning, a member of Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame, was introduced by Greg Coker of BellSouth. At the end of his talk, Bunning suggested Coker might run for the seat in the state House of Representatives being vacated by Democrat Jack Coleman.

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