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Bush hints at more White House changes

Signaling possible further changes to his staff, President Bush said Tuesday that he looks forward to recommendations from his new chief of staff on "how to get the White House to function in an effective way."
/ Source: The Associated Press

Signaling possible further changes to his staff, President Bush said Tuesday that he looks forward to recommendations from his new chief of staff on "how to get the White House to function in an effective way."

Budget director Joshua Bolten is preparing to take over leadership of the president's staff soon from Andrew Card, who resigned last week.

"I told Josh that he will organize the White House in such a way that he is comfortable with and that meets my needs," Bush responded when asked if there would be far-reaching changes at the White House under Bolten. "And my needs are to have good crisp information so I can make decisions on behalf of the American people. I look forward to Josh's recommendations as to how to get this White House to — for the last two and a half years of my administration — to continue to function in an effective way."

Bush spoke after meeting with advocates of his health care plan in the West Wing's Roosevelt Room. Among those seated at the table was Treasury Secretary John Snow, who some have speculated may be leaving the administration soon.

When asked if Snow would be staying on, Bush replied, "He has been a valuable member of my administration and I trust his judgment and appreciate his service."

Prodding Iraqi leaders
At the same session, Bush also urged Iraq to move quickly to form a unity government, calling on elected leaders “to stand up and do their job.”

He said the formation of a new government would give Iraqis confidence in their future.

His statement came on the heels of a similar admonition by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a visit to Iraq. Rice had spoken of a “sense of drift” nearly four months after Iraqis held parliamentary elections.

Bush said insurgents were using violence to prevent democracy from taking hold. “One way to help bring confidence to the Iraqi people that those few will not be able to determine the future of that country is for there to be unity government that steps up and says, ‘I’m willing to lead.’

“And so I sent Secretary Rice to Iraq with that message,” Bush said. “And the message is that the people of Iraq have voted and now it’s time for the elected leaders to stand up and do their job.” He said he looked forward to a unity government “that will reject the sectarian violence, will reject the militias, reject (terror leader Abu Musab) al-Zarqawi and the terrorists that are trying to create enough chaos so that America loses it nerve.

“And I’m not going to lose my nerve as the president,” he said.