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One week afterPresident George Bush's highly public resignation from the National Rifle Association, the NRA is sheepishly backing away from the fundraising letter that outraged Bush,describing federal agents as "jack-booted thugs."Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has apologized for the letter, saying that his harsh words were misunderstood and were not intended to apply to all federal law enforcement officials. "That letter was intended to apply to a number of specific cases where we thought the government's conduct was improper," LaPierre said. "We're very pro-law enforcement."TIME senior Washington correspondent Jeff Birnbaumsays LaPierre's new tune is a only a partial apology. "It's meant to cool things down but not go so far as to anger his membership on the right."