CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — President Bush is starting his sixth year in office with a flurry of activity designed to trumpet upturns in the economy, defend U.S. action in Iraq and challenge critics who claim his methods of fighting terrorists infringe on civil liberties.
On Sunday, the president strongly defended a program that allows domestic spying on those suspected of having ties to terrorist groups.
“If somebody from al Qaeda is calling you, we’d like to know why,” Bush said in San Antonio.
While the president makes his case in public, his aides will be girding behind the scenes for looming battles with Congress over the renewal of the Patriot Act and the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.
White House officials hope this week sets the tone for its top priorities as Bush visits the Pentagon on Wednesday to discuss the war on terror and then flies to Chicago, Illinois, on Friday to try to convince Americans that the economy is on solid footing.