President Bush says next month's elections in Iraq are "just the beginning of the process" toward democracy, and he has asked the American people to remain patient.
In his third formal news conference of the year, Mr. Bush said he is "wise enough" not to predict when U.S. troops could come home. But he said he is optimistic that Iraqi forces will eventually be able to secure their nation, despite what he called the "mixed results" of their training so far.
On the domestic front, President Bush says he will give Congress a budget proposal next year that will maintain discipline in spending tax dollars. He vowed to stick to his goal of cutting the budget deficit in half in five years.
Mr. Bush argued that some systems must be reformed to keep up with changing times, mentioning the tax code and Social Security, without offering specifics.