Excerpts from President Bush's news conference yesterday on the Persian Gulf crisis:

Q: Sir, you're going to return to Kennebunkport this afternoon. May I ask how bothered you may have been by the opinion of many Americans, many of whom think you're doing a great job in this crisis, who nonetheless are bothered by you going out fishing and golfing while in command of the troops in the gulf?

Bush: No, I'm not bothered by it, I've expressed myself on that. If I were bothered, I wouldn't be going back there for the Labor Day weekend with my family, and I think the American people are supporting strongly what I'm doing, and so I -- and I would repeat -- I'm in very close touch, done a lot of the diplomatic work that has gone into this project from my house there, received a couple of foreign visitors there, have had many briefings there, and I think -- I think the American people are fundamentally fair, and I think they see that. So it -- I'm not troubled by it; if I were, I expect I wouldn't be going back again.

Q: {White House press secretary} Marlin Fitzwater at one point said that you were pretty adamant, stubborn about it, thinking -- saying to him at one point that you needed a rest. Is that what it boiled down to?

Fitzwater: I beg your pardon.

Bush: Yes, I need some rest, and I haven't gotten as much as I'd like. But I wouldn't call it adamant or stubborn, because I refuse to -- better not have, either.

Marlin's going through kind of a downer, though, because the Iraqi spokesman has the matching tie and hankie, you know. So it's been a little difficult. {Laughter.}