News Column

W. Says He'll Help Minorities Buy Homes

October 16, 2002

DEBORAH ORIN

WASHINGTON - President Bush yesterday touted plans to help millions of blacks and Hispanics buy their own homes as a way to help kick-start the struggling economy, while top Democrats blamed Bush for today's economic pain.

The back-and-forth came as Democrats and Republicans battle for the upper hand on the economy in the final three weeks to the Nov. 5 elections.

"Owning something is freedom as far as I'm concerned," Bush told a conference on increasing minority home ownership as he vowed to help 5.5 million black and Hispanic families buy homes.

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle and House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt both gave speeches zinging Bush on the economy.

"Americans are hurting but this administration doesn't understand their pain," fumed Daschle.

Gephardt accused Bush of "playing politics with the economy."



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