CRAWFORD, Texas – President Bush is discussing trouble spots around the globe with senior members of his national security team in meetings this week.
Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) and his deputy, Richard Armitage (search), arrived in the blazing heat of central Texas Tuesday afternoon for dinner with the president. They were meeting again with the president Wednesday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. The Middle East and North Korea were expected to be at the top of the agenda.
Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney (search) arrives ahead of a meeting Friday with Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. They and other military leaders are to discuss Rumsfeld's plans to transform the military into a sophisticated, lighter force able to mobilize quickly in response to crises around the world.
National security adviser Condoleezza Rice (search) flew to Texas with Bush when he began a monthlong vacation Saturday.
The visit by the State Department leaders came a day after The Washington Post reported that Powell and Armitage intend to leave the administration at the end of Bush's first term, even if Bush should win a second term.
In response, officials at the State Department and White House would not say whether the two men plan to stay, saying it is premature to speculate about a second term 15 months before the next election. White House spokesmen denied, however, a report that Armitage had told Rice that he and Powell would step down.
The meetings with Powell and Armitage had nothing to do with their possible futures in the Bush administration, officials said. Bush jogged with about 30 military personnel, mostly Marines, on his ranch at midday Tuesday. They waited until early afternoon to allow temperatures to reach their forecast high of 102 degrees.
That allowed the Marines to earn a coveted spot in Bush's "100-degree club."