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Old 08-30-2005, 11:47 AM   #1
thomas144
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Bush Returning to Monitor Hurricane Effort

Bush Returning to Monitor Hurricane Effort

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer 12 minutes ago

President Bush will cut short his vacation to return to Washington on Wednesday, two days earlier than planned, to help monitor federal efforts to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina, the White House said Tuesday.

"We have got a lot of work to do," Bush said in his speech Tuesday, referring to the damage wrought by the hurricane along Gulf Coast areas.

The president had been scheduled to return to the nation's capital on Friday, after spending more than four weeks operating from his ranch in Central Texas. But the White House decided to move the president's return up to Wednesday.

Bush was here to deliver a speech commemorating the Allies' World War II victory over Japan and promoting his war-on-terror agenda. Later Tuesday, he was flying back to Texas, but spending only one night at his ranch.

"This morning, our hearts and prayers are with our fellow citizens along the Gulf Coast," Bush told Navy sailors and World War II veterans, the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier at his back. "We know that many are anxious to return to their homes. It's not possible at this moment."

The president said that the urgent need for search-and-rescue operations put the priority on saving lives.

"I urge everyone in the affected areas to continue to follow instructions from state and local authorities," Bush said. "The federal, state and local governments are working together side-by-side to help people get back on their feet. And we have got a lot of work to do."

The president asked individual Americans to get involved with the relief effort, suggesting anyone who wishes to help could call 1-800-HELPNOW, log on to the Red Cross Web site at https://http://www.redcross.org

or get in touch with the Salvation Army.

"The good folks in Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama and other affected areas are going to need the help and compassion and prayers of our fellow citizens," Bush said.
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