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White House to keep offices on AIDS, race relations

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration will not scrap offices on AIDS policy and race relations, with a spokesman describing Chief of Staff Andrew Card's comments to USA Today that the offices would be closed " a "misunderstanding."

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters the Bush administration will continue to have an Office of National Aids Policy, which is currently located on Jackson Place, and would also name an AIDS coordinator who will work out of the White House as part of the Domestic Policy Council.

President Bush said his administration would be focused on the AIDS problem "inside our White House, make no mistake about it."

"Ours is an administration that will fight for fair, just law in the country," said Bush following an event to tout his $1.6 trillion dollar across-the-board tax cut plan.

Karen Hughes, counselor to the president, said that Card was not made aware the AIDS office was continuing, which includes some "detailees" from Health and Human Services employees. Hughes described the situation as a "misunderstanding."

Fleischer said that Card was correctly quoted in USA Today, but that he was unaware the Office of Aids Policy would continue.

The Bush spokesman also said that the Office on the President's Initiative for One America would remain, but would be "broadened." The office will be called the Working Group on Uniting America, and would work include a variety of senior administration officials working through the Office of Public Liaison and the Domestic Policy Council, Bush aides said.



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