President gives final news conference

WASHINGTON, D.C.- President George W. Bush says he's told President-elect Barack Obama that he'd be willing to ask for the additional $350 billion in financial industry bailout money, if Obama thinks that should happen while Bush is still in office.

The president said Monday that Obama hasn't asked him to make the request, and that Bush doesn't intend to do so unless his successor specifically asks for it.

The Bush administration and Obama have both been appealing to uneasy lawmakers for the money.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd says he's been told the Obama team will be providing "specifics" on how the money will be disbursed.

The President also repeated his long-standing call for creation of a Palestinian state and says

Hamas must back off from its attacks on Israel.

At a news conference, Bush was asked how a cease-fire might be brought about to end the violence that has been running rampant in Gaza Strip.

He replied that a "sustainable" cease-fire can only be possible if Hamas retreats in its efforts to launch attacks on Israel.

The President said, "Israel has a right to defend herself," but he also that the Jewish state must be mindful of the risk of civilian casualties.

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