Q A question to President Barroso and President Bush. Do you actually share the view that Russia is using its energy resources to oppress other countries? And in what respect does your cooperation help you now to position yourselves against that?Ah, but the President doesn't get off the hook so easily. And, when queried again, decides to hurl the ever so lucrative Nine Eleven political snake oil at the Europeans. Did they buy it? What about you?
And if I may, to President Bush, you've got Iran's nuclear program, you've got North Korea, yet, most Europeans consider the United States the biggest threat to global stability. Do you have any regrets about that?
PRESIDENT BUSH: That's absurd. The United States is -- we'll defend ourselves, but at the same time, we're actively working with our partners to spread peace and democracy. So whoever says that is -- it's an absurd statement....
...Q Chancellor Schüssel, the European public is deeply worried by these secret prisoners that the CIA has been transporting, is transporting through Europe. Did you get assurance today from the President that this is not going to happen anymore, that there won't be anymore in the kidnapping of terror suspects in Europe, that this is a thing of the past?
And to the President, Mr. President, you said this is "absurd," but you might be aware that in Europe the image of America is still falling, and dramatically in some areas. Let me give you some numbers. In Austria, in this country only 14 percent of the people believe that the United States, what they are doing is good for peace; 64 percent think that it is bad. In the United Kingdom, your ally, there are more citizens who believe that the United States policy under your leadership is helping to destabilize the world than Iran. So my question to you is, why do you think that you've failed so badly to convince Europeans, to win their heads and hearts and minds? Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, yes, I thought it was absurd for people to think that we're more dangerous than Iran. It's a -- we're a transparent democracy. People know exactly what's on our mind. We debate things in the open. We've got a legislative process that's active. Look, people didn't agree with my decision on Iraq, and I understand that. For Europe, September the 11th was a moment; for us, it was a change of thinking. I vowed to the American people I would do everything to defend our people, and will. I fully understood that the longer we got away from September the 11th, more people would forget the lessons of September the 11th. But I'm not going to forget them. And, therefore, I will be steadfast and diligent and strong in defending our country.
I don't govern by polls, you know. I just do what I think is right. And I understand some of the decisions I made are controversial. But I made them in the best interest of our country, and I think in the best interest of the world. I believe when you look back at this moment, people will say, it was right to encourage democracy in the Middle East. I understand some people think that it can't work. I believe in the universality of freedom; some don't. I'm going to act on my beliefs so long as I'm the President of the United States. Some people say, it's okay to condemn people for -- to tyranny. I don't believe it's okay to condemn people to tyranny, particularly those of us who live in the free societies.
And so I understand, and I'll try to do my best to explain to the Europeans that, on the one hand, we're tough when it comes to the war on terror; on the other hand, we're providing more money than every before in the world's history for HIV/AIDS on the continent of Africa. I'll say, on the one hand, we're going to be tough when it comes to terrorist regimes who harbor weapons. On the other hand, we'll help feed the hungry. I declared Darfur to be a genocide because I care deeply about those who have been afflicted by these renegade bands of people who are raping and murdering.
And so I will do my best to explain our foreign policy. On the one hand, it's tough when it needs to be; on the other hand, it's compassionate. And we'll let the polls figure out -- people can say what they want to say. But leadership requires making hard choices based upon principle and standing -- (President's mike goes out) -- and that's how I'm going to continue to lead my country.
Thank you for your question.