| Ari Fleischer
Washington, May 19 (Reuters): President George W. Bush’s spokesman Ari Fleischer today announced that he is resigning this summer “after 21 years of doing nothing but government and politics.”
“My heart tells me it’s time to go,” he said.
Fleischer, a 42-year-old New Yorker who got married six months ago, said he would spend the next 18 months trying to help Bush get re-elected then would move home to New York.
“I informed President Bush last week that after 21 years of doing nothing but government and politics, I have decided that my time has come to leave the White House. And I will leave later this summer, most likely in July,” Fleischer said.
A deputy press secretary, Scott McClellan, was seen as a likely replacement.
Fleischer, who has enjoyed a close relationship with Bush despite the fact that he is not from the President’s band of Texas advisers, said he told Bush last Friday of his decision in an emotional meeting at the end of which Bush kissed him on his bald head.
“This is a wonderful job. I love this job, I love President Bush, I believe deeply in President Bush, policies and the man. But there comes a time in public service when you have to know when it is time to go to pursue other endeavours,” Fleischer said.
Fleischer said his immediate future plans are to help Bush get re-elected, give speeches, do some writing, and eventually head into the private sector.
“Leaving the President, leaving the White House, it’s a hard thing to do. Today is a day of happiness for me and for Becky, but it’s also a day of sadness. Leaving is not easy,” he said.