updated 11/2/2006 9:59:47 AM ET 2006-11-02T14:59:47

President Bush, whose effort last year to overhaul Social Security proved highly unpopular, said he plans a renewed push to rein in the costs of entitlement programs after the elections.

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Bush has named Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to lead discussions with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers about ways to contend with the future costs of the Social Security retirement program and the Medicare health program.

Government spending on such programs is expected to soar in coming years as the huge baby boom generation begins to retire.

"I'm willing to listen to anything, but I recognize that it's going to take a bipartisan approach," Bush told Reuters and other wire services in an interview.

"And I think it's going to be very important for people to let -- if they are genuinely interested in going forward -- is to not put any preconditions on it," he said. Inside the Bush White House

Bush is fighting to help his Republican allies keep their control of Congress in the Nov. 7 elections. Polls show Democrats have a good chance of gaining a majority in at least one chamber.

In some congressional races, Democrats are making Bush's 2005 push to add private accounts to Social Security a subject of attack advertisements.

Democrats strongly oppose private accounts and many Republicans resisted the attempt to change Social Security amid polls showing most Americans disliked the idea.

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