Today, President Bush held a press conference following a breakfast meeting with Chicago business leaders. Following is a statement from Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship:

“Today President Bush missed yet another opportunity to actually do something to help small businesses. The president praises the optimism of Illinois businesses, yet more of the state’s businesses closed their doors in 2004 than new businesses were opened. Instead of doing something to address sky-high gas prices, expensive loans and outsourced jobs, this president is holding photo ops touting his policies that are failing small businesses.

“Not once today did President Bush talk about fostering entrepreneurship for every sector of our society. If Washington is going to help small businesses thrive, we have to invest in the innovative ideas and hard work of all small firms, including those owned by minorities, women and veterans. It’s common-sense that’s long overdue.”