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Bush Announces Selection of Friedman

Aired December 12, 2002 - 16:05   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Here's President Bush with Steven Friedman.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... pleased to introduce the newest member of my economic team, Mr. Steve Friedman.

Welcome, Steve.

I also want to welcome Barbara and Suzie (ph) and Caroline (ph) and David (ph) and Sam (ph). We're glad you all are here, and thank you for your sacrifice.

Steve Friedman has spent a career at the center of American enterprise and finance and job creation. He's an innovative economic thinker, he's a proven manager and he's a business leader of national standing.

He has served the country as a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and as chairman of a task force on modernizing financial management at the Pentagon.

Steve is a graduate of Cornell University, and he holds a law degree from Columbia University and serves as chairman emeritus of that university's board.

I'm delighted that Steve will be joining the White House staff as assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the National Economic Council. He replaces a dear friend, Larry Lindsey.

I appreciate so very much Larry's service to our country. He had a distinguished career here in the White House. He's earned the respect of the president and everybody who's worked with him.

I selected Steve for his wide experience and steady and sound judgment. He understands the free enterprise system. He knows how the economy works. And he shares my objectives for stronger economic growth, high standards of corporate integrity, more small businesses across our nation and greater trade across the world.

I will work with Steve and others on a growth and jobs package that we will present to the new Congress. In order to continue our economic recovery, we will propose further steps to add new jobs, reduce the burden on our taxpayers and to strengthen investor confidence. Our economy is strong, and we're going to make it even stronger. It's important work, and Steve Friedman will be a key member of our team. And I'm pleased to welcome him to full-time public service.

Thank you very much, Steve.

FRIEDMAN: Thank you so much, Mr. President. Thank you.

Mr. President, I have been deeply impressed by your leadership of our nation and I am honored to join your economic team. I know the other members of your team personally or by the great respect they've earned in their distinguished careers.

FRIEDMAN: I look forward to working with them to achieve the goals of greater growth in the American economy and more jobs for the American people.

As you've said, growth has returned to the American economy. We must increase the momentum of the recovery.

Your administration entered office facing a recession. Your economic policies helped make it one of the shortest on record.

Still, we must address pressure on family budgets and savings, the need to create more jobs, slow growth in our overseas export markets and disappointing business investment. Faced with these challenges, I strongly share your conviction, sir, that now is the time for a robust growth and jobs policy.

I also share your great confidence in the energy, the resilience and the creativity of American workers and businesses. Now is the time to help them achieve their full potential.

I thank you, sir, for having me serve.

BUSH: You're welcome. Glad you're here.

Thank you all for coming.

QUESTION: Mr. President, can we ask about your comments about Senator Lott today, sir? Why you thought it was necessary to make them?

WOODRUFF: John King, President Bush asked about -- was just asked about Trent Lott, he didn't comment on that. But again on Steve Friedman, I think -- I could count about six or seven times they said -- they mentioned the words "economic growth."

Clearly trying to get the message across that they noticed that the economy has not picked up as much as they would like to, and that's going to be a priority.

KING: And Steve Friedman, Judy, obviously, trying to put to rest any conservative concerns that he is not a tax cutter, complementing the president's economic policy, the centerpiece of course, the big ten-year Bush tax cut for getting the United States out of recession much more quickly, that he said, and he endorses a robust jobs and growth package.

That, of course, is economic code for more tax cuts as well. So Steve Friedman trying to quiet his critics. The president welcoming the newest member of his team.

And Judy, one quick point on Trent Lott, the president refusing to answer a question on the way out of the room, aids say the president made his case and made his point, he does not want to be involved in the hourly debate or the daily debate over whether Senator Lott should stay resign. They want to leave that now to Senator Lott.


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