President Bush has again defended his defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, saying the secretary cares deeply about U.S. troops and the grief war causes.

Asked at a news conference if he was offended that Mr. Rumsfeld has not been personally signing condolence letters to families of troops killed in Iraq, Mr. Bush said he "knows Mr. Rumsfeld's heart."  He said the secretary's demeanor may be rough, but underneath he is a good, decent man. 

The defense secretary is under criticism from a number of Republican and Democratic senators over his handling of operations in Iraq. Mr. Rumsfeld said in a statement Sunday that from now on, he will sign condolence letters in his own hand, instead of using a machine.

Two leading Republican senators said Sunday it would be disruptive to have Mr. Rumsfeld leave office now.