STATESBORO, Ga. – President Bush, faced with dire poll predictions for next Tuesday's elections, boldly told Georgia voters Monday that the Democrats haven't won anything yet.
"You might remember that about this time in 2004, some of them were picking out their new offices in the West Wing," Bush said of his own re-election bid. "The movers never got the call."
Bush hit the campaign trail aggressively, determined to do what he can for Republican candidates locked in close races throughout the country. The president later was to make a campaign stop in Sugarland, Texas, where Republicans have a good chance of picking off a Democratic representative, and maintaining the seat vacated by former Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
DeLay's name is still on the ballot in the race against Democratic former Rep. Nick Lampson, who was a victim of redistricting last election. Republican candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs is a write-in candidate for DeLay's seat. The latest Zogby International poll shows Sekula-Gibbs, a Houston council woman winning 35 percent of the vote compared to 36 percent of Lampson.
In Georgia, Burns hopes to unseat current Democratic Rep. John Barrow, whose hometown has been redistricted out of the area he represents.
In rolled-up shirt sleeves, Bush fired up a basketball gym of roughly 5,000 people. He spoke in front of an enormous U.S. flag.
"We are eight days away from the election. And you can bet one thing: We're going to sprint to the finish line," he said.
"We will win this election because Republicans understand the values and priorities of the American people. We will win this election because our priorities and our values do not shift with the latest political opinion poll or focus group," he said.
There were a smattering of boos in the crowd, but protesters were steered to a "free-speech zone" elsewhere on campus.
The president's campaign strategy in the buildup to Election Day one week from now is to go places where the congressional races are close, but support for him is strong enough that he can make a difference. He also is avoiding areas where opposition to the war in Iraq and to him personally are so high he's likely to be a distraction.
In the next few days, he's visiting five cities in four states where he won re-election in 2004 by 20 to 30 percentage points.
Bush is trying to upend predictions Democrats will retain control of Congress. In Indiana this weekend he said if Democrats win the majority of the House and Senate, they will slow down the economy by raising taxes, pull U.S. troops out of Iraq before the war is won there and refuse to do what it takes to win the larger War on Terror.
Democrats deny plans to raise taxes or make a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. And they say the warrantless wiretaps and aggressive interrogation methods Bush demanded Congress approve for suspected terrorists are a violation of the Constitution and unnecessary to get the job done.
Democrats need six seats to wrest control of the Senate, and are looking at picking up Republican-held posts in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Montana . That would give Democrats the choice of trying to pick up two seats in either Virginia, Missouri or Tennessee.
But that's only if they can hold two seats that have suddenly become a vulnerable — Maryland and New Jersey. While Democrats still retain a slight edge in both, those races have tightened and a Democratic defeat in either could spoil plans to capture the Senate.
In Missouri, the two candidates, Republican Sen.Jim Talent and Democratic Auditor Claire McCaskill, are tied 47 percent in the latest poll. The race has turned on the issue of stem cell research, which is on the ballot as an initiative.
Actor Michael J. Fox taped an ad for McCaskill, who supports the initiative to allow embryonic stem cell research. But on Sunday, Fox admitted he hadn't read the initiative, which opponents say would allow cloning for the purposes of research.
Asked about that charge, Fox told ABC's "This Week" that he didn't think those claims were accurate.
"I don't think that's true. ... I have to qualify it by saying I'm not qualified to speak on the page-to-page content of the initiative. Although, I am quite sure that I'll agree with it in spirit, I don't know. On full disclosure, I haven't read it, and that's why I didn't put myself up for it distinctly," Fox said.
The stem cell issue could decide the Missouri race. It polls strongly in the suburbs of Kansas City and St. Louis. Talent opposes the bill and expects a strong turnout among rural conservatives to offset support for McCaskill in the suburbs.
FOX News' Major Garrett and Wendell Goler contributed to this report.