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War on terror main concern as Bush visit nears
TIM ROHWER , Staff Writer

Staff photo/Ben DeVries - After waiting for two and a half hours outside the former Valentino's Restaurant on Madison Avenue, Alicia Kraft, and her daughter Anna, 4, inch up a little closer in anticipation for tickets.

The war against terror and victory in Iraq are the main concerns of Iowans, as opposed to domestic issues.

At least, that's the opinion from a handful of people interviewed Thursday while waiting for tickets to see President Bush in Council Bluffs on Monday.

When asked to pick from terrorism, the war in Iraq, the economy or health care, those interviewed quickly said it was the events overseas that were the main priorities facing this country.

"It's the safety of our country," said Bill Boltinghouse of Council Bluffs. "If our country isn't physically safe, nothing else matters."

"Everything hinges on that (terrorism)," said David Burgstrum of Silver City. "The economy is coming back; it's improving."

Warren Chapman of Villisca said, "The top priority is to be safe."

"(Terrorism) can wipe out our next generation," said Marilyn Troxel, who drove some 50 miles from Farragut for tickets.

Byron Rockwell of Glenwood said he supports Bush because Democrats typically cut military budgets.

Sherry Ebertowski of Crescent said, "The war and terrorism. The economy will take care of itself."

Scott Campbell of Council Bluffs, said, "I think the war on terror is my main concern. I think he'll (Bush) do a better job of protecting us than John Kerry. I think he's done an awesome job."

President Bush is visiting the public at the Mid-America Center on Monday.

Hundreds of people were waiting in line at the former Valentino's Restaurant on Madison Avenue to get tickets for the event even before they became available at noon.

"I've been here since 9:30 a.m.," said Boltinghouse who was right near the door. "I wanted to make sure I got here early."

Mark Rater, the Pottawattamie County Republican Party chairman, said this morning he didn't have an exact count on how many tickets were given away Thursday, but estimated they could be gone by this evening.

"They were going fast," Rater said.

People can be denied tickets if they're considered supporters of the John Kerry campaign, he said.

"This is a rally for President Bush," Rater said. "They don't want people from the Kerry campaign heckling there. They have every right to decide who can come to the rally."

İDaily Nonpareil 2004