President George W. Bush said Thursday that he was confident his Republican Party would retain the White House in next year's presidential election.
"I'm confident we'll hold the White House and I'm confident we can pick up seats in both the Senate and the Congress," Bush said at a press conference.
"I believe ours is the party that understands the nature of the world that we live in and that the government's primary responsibility is to protect the American citizens from harm," he added.
Bush said he would not comment on the primaries between the candidates seeking the Democratic and Republican party presidential nominations for the November 2008 vote.
"I will wait and reserve judgment," he said. "I will be patient, and after the primaries are over, I will help my party unify.
"I'm looking forward to doing my bit," he said. "In the meantime, I'm out raising money for the Republican Party, trying to make sure that once the primaries are over ... that we're united and ready to go."
Asked whether a candidate's religious views were important, Bush said the most important quality he looked for in a candidate for the White House was their "principles."
"What's important to me will be this: the principles by which people will make decisions," he said.
"People develop principles all different kinds of ways. But you can't be the president unless you have a firm set of principles to guide you as you sort through all the problems the world faces," he added.
"I would be very hesitant to support somebody who relied upon opinion polls and focus groups to define a way forward for a president," Bush said.
Religion has played a prominent role in the current presidential campaign, particularly on the Republican side where one leading candidate, Mitt Romney, is a Mormon, and another, Mike Huckabee, is an ordained Baptist minister.
Copyright AFP 2007