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Bush's economic adviser joins "resign" list

Decadence atmosphere is establishing in the White House as its top officials step down one by one. The head of President George W. Bush's National Economic Council Al Hubbard says that he plans to resign, too.

Hubbard, assistant to the president for economic policy, will announce that he's leaving the White House after three years, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been formally made. Hubbard is to submit a formal letter to the president later in the day.

His departure continues an exodus of key Bush aides and confidants. Earlier this month, Fran Townsend, Bush's terrorism adviser, announced she was stepping down after 4 1/2 years. Top aide Karl Rove, along with press secretary Tony Snow, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and senior presidential adviser Dan Bartlett, have already left.

Hubbard, of Indiana, was a low-profile economic adviser to the president whose strength came from his closeness to Bush. The two both attended Harvard University. Hubbard also has close ties with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Hubbard accompanied Paulson on some of his trips to China to lend White House support to efforts to get China to reform its economy and narrow the huge trade imbalance between the two nations.

Among other issues, Hubbard has been deeply involved in the debate over State Children's Health Insurance Program and Bush's proposal for a major shift in tax policy to, for the first time, treat health insurance costs as taxable income.

He has not yet announced his future plans.

Hubbard, who is married and has three children, has owned and operated several businesses. He served in the Bush-Quayle administration as executive director of a council on competitiveness. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard School of Business Administration.

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