Is it me, or is W's latest venture to Europe and parts abroad seem like the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars? Perhpas we should bill the trek to him as a vacation well spent.
Putin's defense has been that Russia must adapt democracy to its own conditions and will not allow the issue to be used by other countries for their foreign policy goals.
"The fundamental principles of democracy and institutions of democracy must be adapted to the realities of Russian life today, to our traditions and our history. And we will do this ourselves," he told Slovak media on Tuesday.
A senior Bush administration official, pointing to Putin's statements to Bush in previous meetings that the Russian people have a long history of strong czars, was skeptical.
"I always get suspicious when people put any adjective in front of democracy -- People's Democracy, Proletarian Democracy, Aryan Democracy, Managed Democracy," he said.
"I am still very much for a constructive relationship with Russia: cooperate where we can but remain true to your values ... that is easy to say but hard as hell to do."
Bush said in Brussels on Monday: "For Russia to make progress as a European nation, the Russian government must renew a commitment to democracy and the rule of law."