Saturday, August 11, 2007

Busy Week for President Bush

Congress might have left town (thank God!) but President Bush was busy.

On Saturday, he had a get together with the new French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Walker's Point, the Kennebunkport, Maine summer home of the Bush family. Sarkozy has been vacationing in nearby New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee where he already got a taste of how intrusive the U.S. "news" media can be.

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President George W. Bush and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France ride in a boat driven by former President George H. W. Bush during a visit to Walker’s Point Saturday, August 11, 2007, in Kennebunkport, Maine.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France is welcomed to Walker’s Point by President George W. Bush, former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush Saturday, August 11, 2007, in Kennebunkport, Maine. White House photo by Shealah Craighead

This simple and informal visit is clear and visible proof that relations with France are improving, just as they have improved with the more pro-Bush and pro-American governments elected to lead the countries of our other key allies like Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia.

President Sarkozy had intended to bring his wife and children to Kennebunkport, but as the President and his family had to fly back to France earlier in the week for the funeral of Cardinal Lustiger on Friday, they were suffering from jet lag perhaps and unable to make another trip the next day.

A member of the press, behaving somewhat better towards Sarkozy, asked if this was a new page in U.S. French history:

PRESIDENT SARKOZY: I just finished reading a biography of Lafayette, and I wanted to tell President Bush about that. The U.S. and France have been allies and friends for 250 years. At the birth of the United States, France chose the side of the U.S. -- there were 4 million Americans at that time, and France was the friend of the Americans. Afterwards we, the French, were involved in the war -- the West were on our side. And on the East Coast, we see a lot of cemeteries with small white crosses -- on the French coast -- and those are young Americans who came to die for us. And that is a lot more important than Mr. Sarkozy or Mr. Bush, because after Mr. Bush, after Mr. Sarkozy, we'll continue to be friends of the Americans.

The U.S. is a large, big democracy. It's a country of freedom and it's a country that we've always admired because it's the county that brought a constitution and freedom to the world. And France is friends with democracies, not with dictatorships.
Thursday Press Conference

Before leaving for Maine, President Bush held a press conference in the White House.

A few highlights:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, thank you. When I came into office in 2001, our nation was headed into a recession. So we cut the taxes across the board. And hardworking Americans have used this tax relief to produce strong and lasting economic growth.

Since we began cutting taxes in 2001, our economy has expanded by more than $1.9 trillion. Since the tax cuts took full effect in 2003, our economy has added more than 8.3 million new jobs, and almost four years of uninterrupted growth. Inflation is low, unemployment is low, real after-tax income has grown by an average of more than $3,400 per person since I took office. The American economy is the envy of the world, and we need to keep it that way.
Q Mr. President, thank you. There is more evidence of Iranian weapons ending up in Iraq and ultimately killing U.S. troops. And I'm wondering today, sir, if you have a message to the regime in Tehran about these weapons ending up in Iraq and obviously doing harm to American citizens?

THE PRESIDENT: One of the main reasons that I asked Ambassador Crocker to meet with Iranians inside Iraq was to send the message that there will be consequences for people transporting, delivering EFPs, highly sophisticated IEDs that kill Americans in Iraq. Prime Minister Maliki is visiting in Tehran today. His message, I'm confident will be, stabilize, don't destabilize. And the sending of weapons into Iraq is a destabilizing factor. That's why we -- yes, we've sent the message, Peter, and in that meeting.
Back to Iraq, no question they haven't made as much progress as I would have hoped. But I also recognize how difficult the task is. And I repeat to you the fundamental question is, does it matter whether or not there is a self-governing entity that's an ally in the war on terror in Iraq? Does it matter? Does it matter to a guy living in Crawford, Texas? Does it matter to your children? As you know from these press conferences, I have come to the conclusion that it does matter. And it does matter because enemies that would like to do harm to the American people would be emboldened by failure.

I recognize there's a debate here in America as to whether or not failure in Iraq would cause there to be more danger here in America. I strongly believe that's the case. It matters if the United States does not believe in the universality of freedom. It matters to the security of people here at home if we don't work to change the conditions that cause 19 kids to be lured onto airplanes to come and murder our citizens.

The first question one has to ask on Iraq is, is it worth it? I could not send a mother's child into combat if I did not believe it was necessary for our short-term and long-term security to succeed in Iraq. Once you come to the conclusion that it's worth it, then the question you must ask is, how difficult is the task of a young democracy emerging? Those who study the Articles of Confederation would recognize that there are difficult moments in young democracies emerging, particularly after, in this case, tyrannical rule.
In the case of Iraq, it's a lot more complicated than just the passage of four laws, even though I would hope they would get the four laws passed. But again, I repeat, the threshold question, does it matter, does it matter to our security here at home? And the answer is, absolutely, it does. It does. And then the second question really for a lot of Americans is, can we succeed? And in my mind, the answer to that is absolutely, not only we must succeed, we can succeed.
President Bush meets with Afghan President Karzai at Camp David

President George W. Bush, addresses the media during a joint press availability with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai Monday Aug. 6, 2007, at Camp David near Thurmont, Md., saying, “ We’re working closely together to help the people of Afghanistan prosper. We work together to give the people of Afghanistan a chance to raise their children in a hopeful world. And we’re working together to defeat those who would try to stop the advance of a free Afghan society.” White House photo by Chris Greenberg

President Karzai expressed his gratitude and thanks to the American people for all we have done to help Afghanistan. And particularly here:
PRESIDENT KARZAI: Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Mr. President, for seeing me in Camp David. You and the First Lady are generous and kind hosts and thank you very much for that.

Mr. President, I am here today to once again thank you and the American people for all that you have done for Afghanistan; for our liberation first, and then for our stability and prosperity. We have gone a long way.

I have been here many times before in America, thanking the American people for what they have given to Afghanistan. I have spoken of roads, I have spoken of schools, I have spoken of clinics, I have spoken of health services, I have spoken of education, I have spoken of agriculture, I've spoken of lots of achievements. I've also had requests for help that you have delivered to us.

But today I'm going to speak about only one achievement that means so much for the Afghan people, and surely to you and the rest of the world. That is that Afghanistan today, with the help that you have provided and our other allies have provided can save, is saving the life of at least 50,000 infants after they are born, and the life of 85,000 children under five.

Mr. President, when you and I begin to think of the mothers who can have their babies safe today, then we know the value and the importance of this achievement. And thank you very, very much for this tremendous help. Afghanistan would have not had 85,000 children living today had you not been there to help us with the rest of the world.
The above is just a small sampling of the visible part of the President's week. A week, dedicated as are all the others in his presidency to keeping Americans safe, our economy prosperous and working with allies and friends around the world to extend the blessings the liberty in order to create a better, more peaceful world.

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