Bush the big issue in N. Carolina Senate race

GOLDSBORO— North Carolina is heading into the final week of one of the country's most competitive U.S. Senate races. But it is a race that has largely been devoid of overriding issues -- even with millions of dollars spent on attack ads.

There has been little talk of what Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole or her Democratic challenger, Kay Hagan, would do about health care, the economy or U.S. foreign policy.

Instead, the race has turned into a referendum on President Bush.

"It looks like the election is more about the tide than the swimmers," said Gary Pearce, a veteran Democratic strategist in Raleigh.

After months of taking a beating in television commercials, Dole wants her supporters to know that she is hanging in there.

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