WASHINGTON -- The American economy remains sound despite the shock of a major terrorist attack and will recover with the help of a determined people and a united Congress, President Bush said Saturday.
"No terrorist will ever be able to decide our fate," Bush said in his weekly radio address.
"They brought down a symbol of American prosperity, but they could not touch its source," he said of the Sept. 11 attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.
"Our country's wealth is not contained in glass and steel. It is found in the skill and hard work and entrepreneurship of our people, and those are as strong today as they were two weeks ago."
The president acknowledged, however, that the damage to the economy has been severe, with thousands of workers laid off in the airline, tourism and hotel industries and many companies struggling to stay afloat.
"The economy has had a shock," he said.
Bush also noted that over the past week many Americans have seen the value of their stocks decline. The wave of selling that hit Wall Street this week caused the Dow industrial index to register its biggest one-week point decline in history.
"Yet for all these challenges, the American economy is fundamentally strong," Bush said. "We have the best-educated, most productive work force in the world. Our factories produce more goods, and a broader variety of goods, than any country in the world."
Tax relief and action by the Federal Reserve Board to cut interest rates have bolstered economic prospects, Bush asserted, adding that energy prices have remained steady and are now lower than they were last spring.
"And members of Congress are working together, regardless of party, in the best American spirit, to help get our economy moving again," he said.
"Both parties in both houses of Congress are united in our determination to use the fundamental strength of our economy to meet our immediate economic challenges," the president said.
Delivering the Democratic radio address, House minority leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri pledged his party's best efforts to provide economic relief in the aftermath of the attack and to mount an effective military campaign "to bring our enemies to justice."
"There is no room for partisanship here," Gephardt said. "As Americans we will work together to do what needs to be done."
Bush cited agreement by the administration and Congress to deliver emergency aid to sustain airlines "as they work toward longtime viability for the benefit of all the workers and companies that depend on air travel."
As he did in his address to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday evening, Bush said the American traveler can be assured that a tough new security program is being locked in place at airports and on airplanes.
"I want to thank America for the outpouring of support," the president said. "I want to thank Americans for their strong will.
"And I want to remind the people of America, we're still the greatest nation on the face of the earth."
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