STAFFORD, Va. – President Bush, working to reassure Americans, said Monday the nation's credit crunch and mortgage problems pose challenges but that the overall economy is sound.
"We've had a pretty good economic run," the president said in a speech intended to show he is aware of the public's edgy mood these days. Consumer confidence has eroded as turmoil in the housing and credit market have battered the economy.
Bush said he would veto any attempt by Congress to raise taxes. "I don't think Congress needs any more money," he said.
After months of bickering with Congress, Bush pronounced himself pleased with the shape of spending levels that Congress is expected to approve this week. He said any measure must include money for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We're making some pretty good progress toward coming up with a fiscally sound budget," Bush said. He said that the next couple of days "will be interesting to watch."
The president, seeking some grassroots authenticity, chose the setting of the Rotary Club of Stafford. The White House skipped its normal stagecraft and simply had Bush join in, like a guest speaker who didn't want to upstage the local business and professional leaders.
Also in the audience were members of Congress, state and local officials and business and community leaders from the Fredericksburg Rotary Club, the Rappahannock Rotary Club, and also the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.