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President Bush argued Monday that the government's dramatic rescue of Citigroup was necessary to "safeguard the financial system" and help the economy recover, and he said there could be more such moves if other institutions need help.

Bush said he approved the action, recommended by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, while flying back to Washington on Sunday evening from meetings in Peru with Pacific Rim leaders. He said he also spoke with President-elect Barack Obama on Sunday night, part of what he has promised will be "close cooperation" between his administration and the Obama camp until the transfer of power on Jan. 20.

Referring to the Citigroup rescue, Bush said: "We have made these kind of decisions in the past. We made one last night. And if need be we will make these kind of decisions to safeguard our financial system in the future."

Bush, who spoke after meeting with Paulson and other Cabinet members at the Treasury Department, said they all realize that Americans are concerned for their jobs and savings.

"We will safeguard the financial system as the first step necessary for economic recovery," the president said. "This is a tough situation. But we will recover from it."

Also while at Treasury, just across a sidewalk from the White House, Bush joined a meeting of top administration officials who are working on greater economic cooperation with China. Bush met on Friday in Peru with Chinese President Hu Jintao for talks focused in part on the global economic turmoil.


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