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Monday, 6 August, 2001, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
Bush's holiday mission
Crawford has been described as a dusty dot on the map
By the BBC's Tom Carver in Washington

Inside the White House press room there was an end of term mood last weekend.

Washington is turning out the lights for August and Mr Bush is leading the way. For the next month the world's superpower will be run from a farm seven miles down Prairie Chapel Road in Texas.

Rest assured, the president will be receiving his daily intelligence briefings from the CIA but not much else.

He'll do a little policy . . . and a little cedar clearing

White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer
"I am sure he will have friends and family over to the ranch," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

"He is also enjoying a little downtime, a little running and a little cedar clearing.

"He'll do a little policy, he'll keep up with events but it is going to be a working vacation - it's going to include part work and part vacation."

Contrast with Clinton

The spokesman battled repeated questions from a White House press corps unhappy at having to leave their homes for Crawford, Texas - a dusty dot on the map.

President Bush
President Bush is taking a month off
Mr Bush left the capital on a high note. He surprised many by managing to persuade the House of Representatives to pass his energy Bill and a Bill of Rights for patients which has enormous implications for America's healthcare industry.

All this in stark contrast to his predecessor who had the same aversion to holidays as cats have to water.

Heartland tour

Jim Jordan, strategist for the Democrats, said: "It almost killed Clinton to take one-week vacations during August.

"He would take one week almost every summer in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts and he was famously 'antsy' when he was doing so. But the other weeks of the vacation he was very, very busy."

Camera crews arrive in Crawford
Camera crews arrive in Crawford
Conscious that a month's holiday is rather longer than most of his constituents' entire annual leave, the Bush people are calling this the home-to-heartland tour.

Two days a week the president will drop in on various parts of the country, and actually the idea of a president who is not enslaved to the Washington Beltway does resonate with many Americans.

"Washington DC is an important part of the American community but it is not the only part - the president looks forward to going home for a working vacation," said Jim Jordan.

"He looks forward to travelling throughout the country. He is not of the Beltway, he is not from Washington - he is from the state of Texas and he enjoys going home to Texas."

The BBC's Tom Carver
"Washington's turning out the lights for August"
See also:

29 Jun 01 | Americas
Cheney: Bush's elder statesman
30 Apr 01 | Americas
Who runs the Bush White House?
05 Mar 01 | Americas
Bush cabinet profiles
22 Nov 00 | Americas
Cheney suffers 'slight heart attack'
23 Jun 00 | G-I
Treatments - operations
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