Nedra Pickler is seeing the irony:
"If it makes sense for the citizen out there to curtail nonessential travel, it darn sure makes sense for federal employees," Bush said. "We can encourage employees to car pool or use mass transit, and we can shift peak electricity use to off-peak hours. There's ways for the federal government to lead when it comes to conservation."
The White House also will be looking at ways to conserve, press secretary Scott McClellan said, although that didn't include curtailing the president's travel plans. Tuesday marked the president's seventh trip to the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of two devastating hurricanes in less than a month.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One as Bush headed here Tuesday, McClellan said the president has directed the White House staff to conserve energy by turning up thermostats, shutting down computers, faxes and copy machines after hours, using public transportation or carpools and reducing nonessential travel by relying more heavily on video conferencing.
Bush also has asked that his motorcade be scaled back, his spokesman said, and it was shorter upon his arrival in Texas. However, the multiple-vehicle caravan moved only a few yards from his presidential jet and dropped Bush off at an airport terminal for his meeting with Texas officials.
Bush returned Sunday from a three-day trip in which he stopped in four cities that have been a base for government response to the storm. As he has in most of his previous trips to the areas hit by the hurricanes, Bush spent most of the time in meetings with state and local officials — many of them reporting by videoconference.