- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2002

President Bush yesterday said "the fundamentals for economic vitality and growth" are in place for a continued recovery and said media interest in his stock dealings from 12 years ago will soon disappear.
Mr. Bush also said Vice President Richard B. Cheney, who is being sued by Judicial Watch, will be cleared of any wrongdoing.
In a White House news conference with Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, the president echoed the recent statements of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan.
"The key thing for the American people is to realize that the fundamentals for economic vitality and growth are there: low interest rates, good monetary policy, productivity increases, economic vitality and growth in the first quarter. And that, as Chairman Greenspan said yesterday, we've got to change from a culture of greed to a culture of responsibility," Mr. Bush said.
Mr. Greenspan sought to calm jittery investor nerves this week when he predicted the economy would shake off the lingering effects of the recent corporate scandals and resume a solid expansion.
He told the House Financial Services Committee yesterday that U.S. consumers are underpinning the economy's recovery and aren't retrenching in response to concern over falling stocks and corporate accounting scandals.
Fed officials expect the economy to expand by as much as 3.75 percent this year, Mr. Greenspan said. That's faster than the 2.5 percent to 3 percent foreseen in February, and a sign the economy is weathering the drop in stocks, he said.
The president said yesterday that his own stock dealings will disappear from headlines because the Securities and Exchange Commission has examined the matter and determined "there is no case."
"It was fully investigated," he said.
The SEC investigated Mr. Bush after his June 1990 sale of 212,140 shares of Harken Energy Corp. stock at $4 a share, for a total of $848,560. Two months later, Harken announced a larger-than-expected loss for the quarter, driving the value of a share down to $1.25 by the end of 1990.
But the stock recovered and 14 months later hit $8 a share. The SEC dropped the investigation in 1991.
Mr. Bush also said interest in Mr. Cheney's case in which the vice president is under investigation by the SEC for accounting practices by the Dallas-based Halliburton Co. when he was its chief executive will dissipate soon.
"That matter will run its course, the Halliburton investigation, and the facts will come out at some point in time," Mr. Bush said. "When I picked him, I knew he was a fine business leader and a fine, experienced man. And he's doing a great job."
Asked if he was confident Mr. Cheney would be cleared, Mr. Bush said: "Yes, I am."
Judicial Watch, a conservative public-interest watchdog group, has sued Mr. Cheney and Halliburton, charging that they defrauded shareholders by overstating company revenues through the change in accounting procedures for cost overruns. Halliburton and the White House have dismissed the suit as groundless.
Mr. Bush, who treated the Polish leader to only the second state dinner in his 19 months in office, said the two nations have many similarities.
"America and Poland see the world in similar terms. We both understand the importance of defeating the forces of global terror," Mr. Bush said, flanked by his Polish counterpart in the East Room ceremony.
On other subjects, Mr. Bush:
Renewed his call for new leadership for the Palestinian people, but did not answer a question about whether a compromise could be reached to give Yasser Arafat a figurehead position in a new Palestinian government. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has suggested he is open to the idea.
Sought to quell European concerns about potential U.S. military conflict with Iraq. "We don't necessarily place one aspect on the war against terror as more important than the other."
Said the long-term cost to run his proposed Homeland Security Department is "going to depend upon how effective we are at defeating the enemy." The president acknowledged that some states will have trouble paying their share of new homeland-security costs, but predicted that their situation will improve as the economy prospers.

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