President Bush fired up a friendly Republican crowd here Thursday during a campaign stop meant to give a boost to Sen. Conrad Burns' re-election hopes.

Bush, joined on stage by Burns, Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., and others, predicted Republicans would retain control of the House and Senate and that Burns — considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents — would also be back for another term.

"We will win these elections because we understand the values and priorities of the American people," Bush said. "We are going to win because we have an optimistic and hopeful agenda."

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Republicans handed out about 5,000 free tickets to the event at MetraPark Arena, aimed at rallying Burns supporters in the final days of his tough campaign against Democratic challenger Jon Tester.

Bush was scheduled to campaign in Nevada later in the day after delivering his late morning comments. His visit comes one day after Vice President Dick Cheney visited Montana's Flathead Valley to stump for Burns and other Republican candidates.

Bush said Republicans are "sprinting to the finish line" in the final week before Election Day and joked that Democrats are "already measuring the drapes for their new offices" in Washington, D.C.

"They think this election is already over," he said. "They don't understand that the people of Montana haven't voted yet."

Bush said Burns was instrumental in helping Republicans pass tax cuts, and predicted that allowing Democrats to take control of Congress would mean tax increases.

"Conrad, Denny and I have a philosophy. We believe you know how to spend your money far better than the federal government does," Bush said. "That stands in stark contrast to Democrats, who want to take more of your money because they think they can spend it better."

Tester was holding rallies of his own on the other side of the state Thursday and Friday with fellow Democrats Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Sen. Max Baucus.

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