Your President Speaks

From Holden:

Once again, Chimpy is an international embarrassment. This time the occasion is his joint appearance with EU leaders at the White House.

Q Mr. President, you spoke of common values were with Europe and the United States, and a strong Europe. Would you say that today, after the two summits between European Union and the United States, that the partnership has even become again a friendship between Europe and United States, and how you see the role of the Luxembourg presidency in that issue?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I appreciate that. First, the relations with Europe are important relations, and they’ve — because we do share values. And they’re universal values — they’re not American values or European values, they’re universal values. And those values, being universal, ought to be applied everywhere. [So that’s what “universal” means, I always wondered.] And that’s human rights, human dignity, rule of law, transparency when it comes to government, decency. And, obviously, if the EU and the U.S. speak with one voice on these issues, it’s more likely to hear — people will hear it.

I think the friendship between our respective countries in the EU are strong. Obviously, there’s been a difference of opinion recently on certain issues, but that doesn’t prevent the American people from holding the good folks of Luxembourg or Portugal in high esteem. There’s a lot of traffic between our country, a lot of tourism, a lot of trade, a lot of commerce between individual countries within the EU and the United States. And that’s because of mutual respect and the desire for people to get to know the world better.

In terms of your Prime Minister, he’s an interesting guy. (Laughter.) He’s a lot of fun to be around. He promotes serious business in a way that endears himself to people. And so I think his presidency has been an important presidency for the EU during difficult times, and he’s handled it well. And I was going to say he’s a piece of work, but that might not translate too well. Is that all right, if I call you a “piece of work”? (Laughter.)

Piece of work? As in “a complicated, difficult, or eccentric person”? Damn, that’s almost Boltonesque.

Q Mr. President, we were told that you planned to sharpen your focus on Iraq. Why did this become necessary? And given the recent surge in violence, do you agree with Vice President Dick Cheney’s assessment that the insurgency is in its last throes?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Adam, I think about Iraq every day — every single day [like when he was preparing those WMD jokes for last years White House Correspondents’ dinner] — because I understand we have troops in harm’s way, and I understand how dangerous it is there. And the reason it’s dangerous is because there’s these cold-blooded killers that will kill Americans or kill innocent Iraqis in order to try to drive us out of Iraq. I spoke to our commanders today — Commander Abizaid [would that be General Abizaid?] today, and will be speaking to General Casey here this week, getting an assessment as to how we’re proceeding. We’re making progress toward the goal, which is, on the one hand, a political process moving forward in Iraq, and on the other hand, the Iraqis capable of defending themselves. And the report from the field is that while it’s tough, more and more Iraqis are becoming battle-hardened and trained to defend themselves. And that’s exactly the strategy that’s going to work. And it is going to work. And we will — we will complete this mission for the sake of world peace. [Acckkk! Gag!!]

And you just heard the EU is willing to host this conference with the United States in order to help this new democracy move forward. And the reason why is many countries understand that freedom in the heart of the Middle East will make this world more peaceful.

And so, you know, I think about this every day, every single day, and will continue thinking about it, because I understand we’ve got kids in harm’s way [whaddaya mean we Bushboy?]. And I worry about their families; and I obviously, any time there’s a death, I grieve. But I want those families to know, one, we’re not going to leave them — not going to allow their mission to go in vain; and, two, we will complete the mission and the world will be better off for it.