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INSIDE POLITICS readers advise the president



George W. Bush
White House

(CNN) -- Bring home the troops. Shake up the White House staff. Focus on issues at home. Listen to voices on the right; listen to voices on the left.

When asked how they would advise the president, readers posed these and many other ideas to lift the administration's lagging approval ratings.

A year after President Bush was elected to a second term, he and his administration face an array of troubles, including rising energy prices, the indictment of a former top White House official and waning public support for the war in Iraq.

How can Bush turn his presidency around? readers offered suggestions on a variety of themes:

1. Take responsibility.
Many advised the president to admit mistakes and move on. Drew Hunt of Normal, Illinois, cited Harry Truman's famous advice, "The buck stops here," and wrote, "If this administration would take responsibility for its wrongdoings, rather than placing the blame elsewhere or, worse still, forging ahead regardless of the wisdom of the decision, it would go a long way toward restoring the integrity of our government."

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2. Clean house.
Others suggested the best way to shake off problems would be to shake up staffing at the White House. Judith A. Shaffer of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, advised Bush to fire his chief political strategist, Karl Rove, who has been entangled in an investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name. Brett Finnell of Greenville, North Carolina, recommended finding a new defense secretary.

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3. Bring home the troops.
An anonymous U.S. soldier serving in Pyongtek, South Korea, said the president should show "humility to the U.S. soldiers in both Iraq and Korea and let them come home ... and be with their families."

Martha Prater of Rusk, Texas, agreed but expressed concern that it may be too late now to pull troops out: "We have gotten ourselves so deep already that pulling out now would only put our country at greater risk of terrorist attacks or worse."

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4. Focus on issues at home.
Some of those who wrote in suggested the president turn his attention toward problems at home, putting priority on gas prices, disaster relief and support for the poor.

"Remember that you are the president of the United States, not the world," advised Mary from Temecula, California.

Andy Park of Key Largo, Florida, posed this idea for combating high energy prices: "Push legislation to regulate oil companies as public utilities -- just like electric, natural gas and telephone companies. This would require that companies obtain regulatory approval before raising gas prices." Hurricanes Katrina and Rita knocked out oil platforms and pipelines as they cut back-to-back paths through the U.S. Gulf Coast, causing a spike in energy prices.

Andrew M. Herold of Beltsville, Maryland, said the president could give jobs and wages a boost by closing the country's borders to illegal immigrants.

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5. Lean to the right (or to the left).
Many of those who wrote in advised the president to follow the lead of a particular group. Respondents did not, however, agree on which group that would be.

Cheri Windsor of Colorado recommended the president get "off the evangelical tract." But Pedro Delgado of Miami, Florida, gave opposite advice: "Give full true backing (no lip service) to the people that voted twice to put a man in office to gain back our country. No euthanasia, no abortion, no persecution of Christians, no judicial tyranny, no homosexual privileges, no attacks on the institution of marriage, no attacks on the family."

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