CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- President Bush said yesterday his reelection will ensure safety for Americans as well as for those in the rest of the world in the war against terrorism.
''After four years more in this office I want people to look back and say, 'The world is a more peaceful place,' " Bush told supporters at a community college in Iowa. ''Four more years and America will be safer and the world will be more peaceful."
In justifying having gone to war in Iraq, the president said: ''You can't just hope for the best. You have to lead."
The Kerry campaign responded by saying, ''Four years from now, when John Kerry and John Edwards are in the White House, America will be marching towards peace and security in the world -- having made America more respected in the world, having restored the full strength of our alliances, and making progress in leading the world to win the war on terror," said David Wade, a campaign spokesman.
Bush squeezed in a two-state campaign swing through the Midwest before the political spotlight turns to next week's Democratic National Convention in Boston. His twin daughters accompanied him to Iowa and Missouri.
''It makes the days a little shorter and the trips a lot more fun," Bush said of the presence of Barbara and Jenna, who were making their first campaign trip together with their father.
The twins will take part in an online chat Friday on Bush's reelection Web site.
''You're probably here thinking I'm going to spend most of the time attacking my opponent," Bush told the crowd. ''I've got too much good to talk about."
The president contended that a second Bush term in the White House would extend programs of tax relief, changes in health care, and education reform enacted in the past four years. Bush briefly criticized presumptive rival John F. Kerry, striking a familiar theme by portraying the Democrat's plans for spending on federal programs as extravagant and the plan to pay for them inadequate, an approach the president said would create a ''tax gap."
Iowa and Missouri are tossup states that Bush and Kerry are fighting hard to win this year. Bush narrowly lost Iowa in 2000, but he won Missouri by about 3 percentage points.
Bush was to attend a rally at the Family Arena in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles on his 19th presidential visit to Missouri. His visit to the Show Me State comes a day after Vice President Dick Cheney's sixth trip to Missouri, where on Monday he told an audience at a lumber company in Columbia that the nation's economy is on the rebound.
Aides say the president will stay out of sight at his Crawford, Texas, ranch from Friday evening until the Democratic convention concludes July 29. He's expected back on the campaign trail the day after the convention.
Patrick Healy of the Globe staff contributed to this report.