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Bush plans 50th ranch trip in five years
WASHINGTON (AP) — Following the Congress in a midsummer exodus, President Bush plans a Texas ranch respite for several weeks, while Supreme Court nominee John Roberts has August to think about Senate confirmation hearings.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Friday that Bush will leave after signing into law the Central American Free Trade Agreement that Congress gave final approval to earlier this week.

It will be the president's 50th trip to the ranch since he was elected nearly five years ago.

McClellan said Bush looks forward to being able to "shed the coat and tie" at his more casual home near the small town of Crawford, Texas. Bush plans to travel to seven states from the ranch and hold at least 10 events to tout his agenda, including the war on terror and his economic priorities.

Members of Congress can pick among meetings to reacquaint themselves with their constitutents, march in parades and attend barbecuers and, doubtless, take some official trips as well.

Bush's first speech from his away-from-Washington life will be Wednesday, just about 150 miles up the road in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine. Bush plans to speak to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative-leaning, bipartisan group of state lawmakers and business leaders.

On Thursday, Bush plans to host Colombian President Alvaro Uribe at his ranch.

The White House said the date of Bush's return to Washington has not been set, but McClellan said the president will be in Texas throughout August. Bush has gone to Crawford every August since he's been president.

Despite the stifling heat, Bush typically likes to spend time outdoors when he's at his ranch, doing things like clearing brush and riding his bike. McClellan said Bush will use that time to encourage other Americans to get physically active.

McClellan said Bush also will be preparing for a busy September, when he plans to deliver major addresses on the war on terror and push the Senate to confirm Roberts.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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