DALLAS — President Bush told California farmers on Saturday that he is not going to let world environmentalists "shut down the United States" with overly rigid, scientifically shaky restrictions that damage the economy.
Bush said that concern led him to delay his decision to go to the Rio de Janeiro world conference on the environment. He added that the tactic worked to force a more balanced look at proposals to be debated there.
With the California presidential primary coming up tomorrow, and the state crucial in the fall, Bush spent one day in Los Angeles and one in farm country, seeking reelection support in both even as he denied he was on a political mission.
Bush then traveled to Dallas for a fund-raising dinner Saturday night that raised $2 million for the Texas GOP. At the dinner, the president tried to reassure Republicans who are increasingly worried about the challenge from rival candidates Ross Perot and Gov. Bill Clinton.
"Let all these other balloons go up, let everybody else have their day in the sun," Bush told supporters. "Our day is going to prevail!"
As Bush campaigned in Fresno, Calif., and later in Dallas, he was dogged by a spate of reports suggesting the White House was in turmoil going into a crucial period of Bush's reelection campaign, and that a staff shake-up was imminent.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that Robert Mosbacher, a close friend of Bush and a key campaign aide, had demanded that White House Chief of Staff Sam Skinner be forced to resign.
"Absolutely not," the president replied when asked about it on his arrival in Fresno from Los Angeles. Slamming his hand on the roof of his car, he repeated: "Absolutely not."