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Bush Takes Stock

President Bush Friday reviewed the legislative record of his first six months in office and found much accomplished. He said his achievements are important for American voters.

Flanked by members of his Cabinet, President Bush said the administration has changed the way of doing business in Washington, bringing civility and high standards to the business of government. "Together with Congress, we're proving that a new tone, a clear agenda, and active leadership can bring significant progress to the nation's capital," he added.

In a speech in the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Bush said he has succeeded in breaking through government gridlock and political drift. He is pleased by the progress of his legislative agenda in the first six months, including passage of a major tax cut and getting both houses of Congress to agree on education reform. Mr. Bush said he is encouraged that the Republican controlled House of Representatives has approved measures protecting patients rights and his administration's energy policy.

He said the administration has put America's foreign policy on a "sound-footing" and now has a stronger relationship with its allies.

The president leaves Saturday for Texas where he will have a month-long "working vacation." When he and Congress return in September, Mr. Bush said, the American people will be looking for more bipartisan progress. "Our nation has needs that will not wait. Americans, come September, will be watching," he went on to say. "They want us to be principled not partisan. They want us to look for agreement instead of looking for fights and arguments. Americans know obstructionism when they see it, and when necessary, I will point it out."

Mr. Bush will take time away from vacation on his Texas ranch for a series of appearances to discuss defense, the environment, and labor. "In a few days, I am headed home to the heartland to listen to the American people and to talk about the values that unite and sustain our country," he said. "Members of Congress are going home as well. When we all come back in September, so many accomplishments are within our reach. And I look forward to the work ahead."

When the legislature reconvenes, President Bush said he wants to finish education reform and the patient's bill of rights. He said it is important for Congress to live within the current budget limits, warning that irresponsible spending is a threat to the economy.

With Democrats controlling the Senate and some moderate Republicans splitting with the president, political observers say Mr. Bush will likely find his next six months with the legislature more difficult than his first.