Thursday, March 27, 2008

I remember the rainbow most of all

Headline of the day (AFP): “Moves to Damp down Mozzarella Crisis.”

Yesterday Bush spoke with journalists from European countries he will soon be visiting.

IN THE INTERESTS: On the Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO: “I believe it’s in the interests that there is that clear path forward. ... So the first step, however, is for there to be a clear path forward, so that people understand -- and I believe it’s in our collective interest that we offer a clear path forward.”

He asked a Romanian reporter about a speech he once gave in Romania. Evidently there was a rainbow. He was very impressed by that, and wanted to know if they’re still talking about the “rainbow speech” in Romania. “I remember the rainbow most of all. It was a startling moment.”

You could tell they were foreign reporters because they expected Bush to be able to answer questions like this: “how do you see Croatia future in the NATO architecture in southeastern Europe, regarding its capability to host joint military bases, and primarily NATO forces, and the further development of its armed forces and its readiness to take part in NATO missions and contribute to the common security of the alliance?” Isn’t that adorable? He responded: “Croatia has served as a very good example, following a very dramatic moment, and that is the breakup of Yugoslavia. ... Examples are very important. The question is, would people have predicted 15 years ago that we’d be having this kind of discussion about Croatia. And who knows -- I don’t think many people would have certainly 25 years ago.” He added later, “And Croatia occupies a crucial part -- a crucial space in an important part of the world.”

SNOTTY MUCH? His forthcoming decision not to reduce troop levels in Iraq “will be based upon not politics, or not who can scream the loudest, but based upon whether or not we can maintain the successes we’ve had.”

CHANGING THE CAPACITY: “Congress did change the capacity for -- to have a new look at visa waiver.”

The London Times reporter asked whether Bush’s infatuation with Sarkozy was eclipsing the special relationship. Bush said that he will always love that country, whatever it’s called, and its leader, whoever that might be: “And that relationship was never as special as it was during times of conflict -- whether it be the relationship in the past between, like, Roosevelt and Churchill, or whether it be the current relationship, more modern relationship between Tony Blair and myself. ... And so, your question, ‘our greatest ally’ -- it’s going to be hard for any nation to trump Great Britain as our -- United Kingdom as our greatest ally.”

He announced that he’ll be going to Russia and he might even do the looking-in-his-eyes-and-seeing-his-soul thing with Medvedev, or he may have already met him, he’s not really sure, he’s like a Russian guy, right, yea high? “I haven’t met President Medvedev yet. I may have met him once, but I haven’t had a talk to him, President-to-President, obviously. He’s not even the President yet. I’m looking forward to meeting him.”

“In other words, there’s an invitation out there, and this is really -- the way to look at this is a follow-up to Condi and Bob Gates’s meeting -- which is good.”

The BBC caption for this picture is “Candidates for South Korean parliamentary elections and their supporters bow to traffic in the southern city of Daegu.” Um, okay.

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