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At a White House news conference, President Bush played down a reported Pentagon paper that suggests the United States maintain its role as the pre-eminent military superpower and not rely on collective security arrangements.

Bush said that if such a policy is actually proposed by the Pentagon, he expected the secretary of defense would come by and discuss it with the president. He said the United States continues to have a burden to bear but emphasized "we have worked successfully" with international organizations such as the United Nations.On domestic economic matters, Bush said a plan by congressional Democrats to permit more domestic spending would send interest rates "through the roof." He also pledged, "I'm going to veto" legislation Congress is considering that would raise taxes on the wealthy to finance a cut for the middle class.

Speaking with reporters on the morning after routing Buchnanan in all eight Super Tuesday primary states (story on A1), the president thanked the voters who supported him and said he would "turn the economy around." Buchanan has been gaining roughly 30 percent of the vote in Republican primaries this year, and exit polls say the reason is the poor economy.

Bush was critical of Congress and suggested he would be stepping up his attack on the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate as the campaign unfolds.