Dan Bartlett

White House communications director Dan Bartlett was Wednesday's guest. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On charges that President Bush's Social Security reform proposals will spread financial pain:

"The part that often does not get recognized is that the pain is coming under the status quo. And what we have an opportunity to do is to fulfill the promise of Social Security by making choices now that will stave off much more difficult choices for future generations."

On the link between Social Security change and tax reform:

"Social Security will be addressed first. Whatever decision is made on that with regard to how we're going to finance it on a more permanent basis ... will have to shape the debate on how we deal with taxes."

On whether Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is a liability to the White House, as critics suggest:

"He has a vast wealth of knowledge and experience.... President Bush has all the confidence that he is the right person at the right time for the challenges we face."

On whether alleged 'arrogance' will hurt the second Bush term:

"I don't think so. It is his goal to work with our friends in the world to pursue a common agenda. [Arrogance] is not the nature of [the president] personally, and I think he will set the tone for our administration.... We guard heavily against that."

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