Bush admits to `tension' with press over secrecy

President speaks to editors at Washington convention

April 15, 2005|By Mark Silva | Mark Silva,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

WASHINGTON -- Acknowledging a "tension" between his administration and the press, President Bush confronted an often critical audience of newspaper editors yesterday with a heavy helping of the disarming charm and self-confidence he has exuded since his re-election.

"I know there is a tension now," Bush told members of the American Society of Newspaper Editors pressing him to make the work of his White House and many agencies more open to the public. "I understand there's a suspicion that ... we're too security-conscious."

The president is so concerned about the security of his own personal communications that he exchanges no e-mail with his daughters.

"I believe in open government," Bush said. "I don't e-mail, however, and there's a reason. I don't want you reading my personal stuff. ... I don't think you're entitled to be able to read my mail between my daughters and me. And so I've made an easy decision there. I just don't do it."

In a casual, conversational session peppered with jokes for editors assembled in a downtown Washington hotel, Bush asserted his confidence in the correctness of his stance on the most controversial items on his second-term agenda -- ranging from Social Security to the war in Iraq to immigration reform.

The confidence stems in part from the fact that Bush will never face another election. "I do find myself much happier than I've been in a long time in Washington," the president told the editors.

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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