Thursday, July 13, 2006

Hunting, Putin, The Free Press & Common Values: The Twisted Logic Of George W. Bush

I've said this before, but I love W unscripted in front of the press. It shows us how he thinks and what he really is thinking. Have a gander as he exposes his twisted logic. The real question is, should we trust this man to have discussions with other world leaders in an unscripted fashion?
Q Madam Chancellor, Mr. President. Terry Hunt with the AP. Looking ahead to St. Petersburg, I'd like to ask you, do you think that Russia is honoring human rights and democratic freedoms and has a responsible approach to energy security?

And, Mr. President, were you surprised by President Putin replying to Vice President Cheney's criticism, saying that it was an "unsuccessful hunting shot?"

PRESIDENT BUSH: Did I think it was a clever response? It was pretty clever. Actually, quite humorous -- not to dis my friend, the Vice President. I don't know, do you want to start with this? I'd be glad to -- (laughter.) No, I think our job is to continually remind Russia that if he wants to do -- have good relations, that she ought to share common values with us. We share common values -- free press is a common value we share. And I've expressed my opinion to President Putin. You might remember my visit with him in Slovakia where I was quite pointed in my concerns about whether or not there is a free and vibrant press in Russia. We share concerns about the ability for people to go to the town square and express their opinions, and whether or not dissent is tolerated, whether or not there's active political opposition.

And so I will continue to carry that message. My own view of dealing with President Putin, though, is that nobody really likes to be lectured a lot, and if you want to be an effective person, what you don't go is scold the person publicly all the time; that you remind him where we may have a difference of opinion, but you do so in a respectful way, so you can then sit down and have a constructive dialogue.

And that's exactly how I'm going to continue my relations with President Putin. I'll be firm about my belief in certain democratic institutions; I'll be firm in my belief about the need for there to be an active civil society and NGOs should be allowed to function in Russia without intimidation. But I'm also going to be respectful of the leader of an important country. And I may not tell you exactly what I talked to him about in private. And I would hope that he wouldn't tell you what he talks to me about in private.

But, yes, we've got issues. Listen, we've got common problems that we need to work together to solve -- North Korea and Iran are two. And we've also got -- I hope he continues to understand that it's in his country's interest to implement the values that Germany and Russia -- Germany and the United States share.

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