NEW YORK -- President Bush drove past thousands of anti-war protesters lining Sixth Avenue last night to tell an enthusiastic audience composed of many of nation's most powerful financiers, "We are in a recession, no question about that, but it will be shallow."
"I think we have had too much pessimism," the president said in response to a question. "I can understand why and if I were an autoworker laid off, I guess I would have every reason in the world to have doubts. But I think the fundamentals are still there. I do not think this war will add an unacceptable burden."
More than 2,000 people attended the event sponsored by the Economics Club of New York, a loose federation of the city's largest businesses that periodically invites high-profile speakers.
President Bush took advantage of the supportive crowd to defend his new budget, proposals for banking reform and his war policy. He urged business leaders to continue investing in Eastern and Central European.