Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush summoned Republican leaders to an emergency Oval Office meeting Friday and sought to reassure the nation about the rising unemployment rate.
"We've got a plan to get our economy moving so Americans can find work," the president said. Privately he considered calling for across-the-board budget cuts next year if the economy worsens and spending starts eating into Social Security reserves.
The president spoke from outside the Oval Office, where he and Vice President Dick Cheney had just finished meeting with House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., to discuss the economy, the rising unemployment and the Republicans' political predicament over Social Security.
The three GOP leaders, with an eye on next year's midterm elections, also are looking for ways to head off political damage should the economy worsen.