Politics: To Strengthen His Base, Bush Beefs Up Borders

The White House has a new plan to revive its conservative base: a tough approach to the nation's borders. Karl Rove met with House Republicans last week on immigration, an issue that has prompted sharp criticism of the president's proposals for a guest-worker program for the past two years. Now aides are planning to roll out new plans to beef up border security. "Expect us to talk about immigration pretty aggressively and publicly before the State of the Union," says one senior Bush aide, who requested anonymity because of the politics involved. Bush conceded to GOP leaders in June that his immigration policy had stalled. "They had to come a long way on this issue, but they're finally starting to get it," says Will Adams, spokesman for Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado. Anti-immigration groups believe the new approach to border security is the direct result of Bush's political problems. But that still leaves intense negotiations on how to draw up a guest-worker program that can satisfy the GOP in Congress.