NU Online News Service, Jan. 16, 2004, 11:24 a.m. EST – President Bush promoted his health insurance and retirement proposals briefly Thursday during a campaign appearance in New Orleans.[@@]

“We want people owning and managing their own health care accounts and their own retirement accounts,” Bush said at a Bush-Cheney fund-raiser at the National D-Day Museum, according to a transcript of his remarks released by the White House.

Bush included the reference to the health and retirement proposals in comments about the general importance of promoting an “ownership society in America.”

“See, we want more people owning their own home,” Bush said, according to the transcript. “We have a minority home ownership gap in America. I proposed a plan to the Congress, starting with helping the poorest of the poor make a down payment for a home, to close that gap. It’s in the national interest that more people own their own home.”

Bush said he also wants more people to own their own small businesses.

Bush administration officials have been talking about the ownership society concept since 2003. The concept may figure prominently in the president’s State of the Union address, according to press reports.