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Bush: Economy Still Strong Despite Job Concerns

President Bush speaks during a news conference, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007, in the press briefing room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Ron Edmonds
President Bush speaks during a news conference, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007, in the press briefing room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

President Bush acknowledged that Americans are concerned about job security, health care and retirement but maintained that the U.S. economy remains strong.

"There's a variety of reasons why people are uncertain," Bush said in a taped interview with CNBC's Maria Bartimoro. "But when they take a hard look at the statistics--and the reality--I hope it brings them some comfort to know this economy is strong and is setting all kinds of records."

The president also said:

-- He was "glad" that the UAW and General Motors were able to reach a new contract agreement "in an expeditious way."

--He continues to worry about trade protectionism, though he said he "understands" that people are worried about losing their job. But he reiterated that free trade is good for the economy and the consumer.

--The solution to the current housing problem "is not more government or more regulation but to help people refinance their homes." He added that "so far the softness is regional...There are parts of our country that are doing just fine in the real estate markets."

--Declined comment on the Fed's recent interest rate cuts, saying "I never send Ben Bernanke any instructions and he doesn't expect me to send him any instructions."

--Defended his veto of additional health-care coverage for low-income children, saying the measure actually included higher income people and would have expand government health care.

--Economic goal for the rest of his term "is to keep taxes down and to have good, wise fiscal policy."