Tuesday, November 11, 2008

White House denies Bush holding on 2nd stimulus

The White House on Tuesday denied that President Bush is holding out support for a second stimulus and help for automakers until Democrats agree to approve a trade deal with Colombia.

"There was no linkage," said White House press secretary Dana Perino, speaking to reporters in New York, where the president traveled to give a speech on Veterans Day.

"They did speak about a range of issues, both domestic and international, and they did spend some time talking about the economy." She said. "But in no way did President Bush suggest that there was a quid pro quo when it came to Colombia free trade agreement or the other free trade agreements."

Mrs. Perino also played down rumors that Mr. Bush was angry over the leaks coming from the Obama transition team.

"I've also gotten several requests wanting to know if there is irritation at the White House towards the Obama team, and you're not going to hear that from me," Mrs. Perino said.

"When you're dealing with unidentified aides, as we have done over the past eight years, from all different types of aides that choose to be nameless rather than to say what they feel like they want to say on the record -- it happens."

Media reports on Tuesday said that President-elect Barack Obama on Monday pressed Mr. Bush to do more for automakers, but that Mr. Bush said he wanted the Democratic-controlled Congress to pass the Colombia free trade agreement, and wanted a quid pro quo.

The reports in the Washington Post and New York Times cited Obama aides as the source of the leak, and on Tuesday morning the Web site The Drudge Report reported that the president was angry at the leak.

"Bush anger: Obama aides leak chat details," screamed the banner headline across the Drudge home page, and the story cited a "top Bush source" as saying that "Senator Obama would be wise to keep close counsel."

"Senator Obama may not be familiar with a long-standing tradition of presidents holding their private conversations, private".

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