Bolten: Time To 'Get Our Mojo Back'

President Bush's staff leave the White House, Friday, April 21, 2006, with Bush, not shown, for a four day visit to the West Coast. Left to right are Joe Hagin, deputy chief of staff, Scott McClellan, outgoing press secretary, Nicole Devenish, communication director, Josh Bolten, chief of staff, and Blake Gottesman, personnel assistant to the president. AP

It's time for the White House to go on offense and "get our mojo back," Josh Bolten said Sunday in his first interview since taking over as the president's chief of staff.

Bolten made no promises of pulling up President Bush's all-time low approval ratings, but he said he and President Bush have decided they want to be more open with the media and the public.

"We've taken advice from a lot of folks that we ought to put the president out more in ways that the American people can see what he's really like," Bolten said on "Fox News Sunday."

But he said that does not mean the president's policies are going to get an overhaul. "I don't think we need to change, but we do need to refresh and re-energize," Bolten said.

For example, he said the White House is "thinking actively" about immigration and putting the president out front on an issue that has split him off from some in his own party. Bolten added that it is vital that the White House communicate effectively about the importance of the fight against terrorism so Americans will support the mission.

Bolten, formerly President Bush's budget director, took over for longtime chief of staff Andy Card on April 14, amid administration tensions with Congress, waning public support for the president and calls for fresh ideas in the White House.

"What the change does provide is an opportunity for the White House to step back, refresh, re-energize at a time when we're 5 1/2 years into an administration - normally a slow point, a low point, in many administrations - and a chance for us to get our mojo back, to go back more on the offensive and to get people within the White House to look at our operations, re-energize them for the next six months up through the election, the next 1,000 days through the end of this president's term," Bolten said.

  • Francie Grace

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