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Candy Crowley: Bush remarks aimed at conservatives

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CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley

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Candy Crowley
George W. Bush

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In his first solo press conference since May, President Bush on Tuesday went to bat for Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and addressed a range of other issues facing the nation.

CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley talked with news anchor Tony Harris about the president's remarks:

HARRIS: On Harriet Miers, did you get a sense that perhaps the president has been stung by the criticism?

CROWLEY: We know the White House seemed a little bit surprised by it, by talking to aides yesterday, that the vociferousness of the conservative response, well, some of the conservative response, still it is, I think what you're getting at, and what to me was interesting about this news conference, is what the president himself chose to talk about.

And usually when presidents have news conferences, they'll start out with a warning to Democrats if they are a Republican, or vice versa, but this started out with the president talking directly to the people who are responsible for helping put him in office, who have kept him in office and who have pursued his agenda with him.

What was the first thing he said? I want to assure you that Harriet Miers shares my philosophy. She will not legislate from the bench. That's a message to conservatives.

What was next? We need to be fiscally responsible about our response to Rita. That's directly to conservatives, both social and economic conservatives.

The truth is, by the numbers, the president could get a lot of his agenda through without Democrats. He has a Republican majority. He can't do it without Republicans.

So it is both meaningful politically and interesting that his remarks -- that he chose to say at the beginning -- were aimed directly at his conservative base, both on spending and on the choice of Harriet Miers.

HARRIS: The president's tone at the beginning, did you notice that?

CROWLEY: You know, I share with you -- I mean, my sort of first thought is because we do this sort of thing for a living, is he seems tired. He usually gets out there and he's peppy, and he, you know -- I thought he picked up afterwards. It's hard to know, bad night, who knows.

But I agree with you, at the beginning, I sort of to myself thought he looks tired. But you know what, it's been a rugged two months. There has been a lot coming at them.

I mean, look at this news conference and just sort of the breadth of what was out there -- the Plame investigation, deficit spending, Harriet Miers, Iraq, poverty and race.

I mean, all of these things have come at him in a fierce way over the past couple of months. That's bound to take a little of the spark out of a guy.

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