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Card: Bush wants to reopen Reagan National 'as quickly as we can'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said Sunday that President Bush wants to reopen Reagan National Airport in Washington "as quickly as we can."

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"We have to be sensitive to the security concerns, not only for the passengers who go through Ronald Reagan Airport, but also for the residents of Washington, D.C.," Card said on "Fox News Sunday." "But I think we can work through that."

"I'm optimistic that we can find the right balance between security and economic opportunity that is necessary ... and we'll be striving hard to meet those challenges," Card said.

Card said Bush will be meeting on Monday and Tuesday to consider recommendations for the airport's future put together by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. He would not give a timetable for an announcement.

"We want to do what is right rather than do it fast," Card said.

Reagan National, located in the northern Virginia suburbs near the Pentagon, has been closed since the September 11 terrorist attacks. It is the only passenger airport in the United States to remain closed.

Officials in Virginia have been lobbying heavily to reopen the airport, saying its continued closure would have an impact on the area's economy.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also said he would like to see the airport reopened, saying it would be "unfortunate" to "alter our way of life" in the wake of the attacks.


• DCA - Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

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