"The enemy would like nothing better than to see me cut short my vacation and get back to the White House," Mr. Bush told reporters. "They hate my freedom."
While the president said that he would withdraw from Crawford "soon," he refused to set a timetable for his departure from the ranch, saying that much work there still needs to be done.
Mr. Bush, who has been spending much of his vacation clearing brush, said that he is making great progress in training ranch hands to take over that job for him, but cautioned that they are not yet prepared to do the job themselves.
"Once the ranch hands have shown that they are able to clear the brush on their own, I will withdraw from Crawford, but that day has not yet come," the president said.
Mr. Bush was dismissive of polls showing that the public thinks his current vacation is becoming a quagmire, much like his August 2001 vacation. At the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan defended the president's decision to remain in Crawford indefinitely: "President Bush deserves August off, especially when you consider how many summers he had to go to school."
Elsewhere, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Iran's decision to produce nuclear materials "scary, but not as scary as that Bolton guy's mustache."
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