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Bush to Usher in New Year Quietly - 2003-12-31

President Bush is ushering in the New Year with family and friends in Texas. After spending a quiet New Year's Eve at his ranch, he plans to travel to southern Texas for a hunting trip.

The president will spend most of the day on a quail hunt with a group that includes his father, former President George Bush.

James Baker will also join the hunting party. An old family friend, the former secretary of state is now working to help secure a restructuring of Iraq's substantial foreign debt.

Mr. Baker just returned from trips to Europe and Asia, where he got promises of help from several governments, including some which opposed the invasion of Iraq.

White House aides stress the hunting trip is a social event, and emphasize the participants plan a private day far from reporters, microphones and television cameras.

President Bush is expected to shun the spotlight during the remainder of his holiday vacation in Texas. He returns to Washington on Sunday and immediately leaves again the next day for a series of campaign events in the state of Missouri.