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Bush and Putin Hold Press Conference
Aired June 27, 2002 - 10:48 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We have got President Bush speaking right now from Canada. Some tape we just -- we heard President Bush had some comments about the big news this morning about the Pledge of Allegiance made unconstitutional by a court decision.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I first want to say how pleased I am to meet with Vladimir Putin again. Every time we meet, we have a very constructive dialogue and we have a very important dialogue, and I appreciate so very much his leadership and his continued willingness to find a new common ground in this most important relationship.
Yesterday, a court in America made a ruling that I want to comment on. America is a nation that is a nation that values our relationship with an almighty. The declaration of God and the Pledge of Allegiance doesn't violate rights. As a matter of fact, it's a confirmation of the fact that we received our rights from God as proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence.
I believe that it points up the fact that we need common sense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God. Those are the kind of judges I intend to put on the bench.
Mr. President, you want to make a comment?
BUSH: I just answered a question.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)
BUSH: You want to interpret this for the American press?
PUTIN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I want to say that I'm also very glad to meet with President Bush. And moreover, I'd like to emphasize that the president and I are having very good personal relations. And our colleagues in our capitals also note that interaction between our countries is becoming very efficient not only from the viewpoint of bilateral relations and solving bilateral issues, but also as regards to resolution of major international problems.
And there is one subject that is of particular importance and responsibility the U.S. and Russia undertook, that is the promotion of international security.
And during the time since the signature of international treaties on stability -- international stability between our countries, we have had an opportunity to evaluate these documents and pass them to the parliament for further ratification. I mean the treaty between the United States and Russia on our continent's strategic offenses.
And I am simply very glad to meet George again and have a chat with him and discuss all the problems that are of concern for both our nations.
BUSH: Thank you. Patience please.
QUESTION: Mr. President, there are some Democrats who think they can make some political hay out of WorldCom failure and other business gambles by first (inaudible) a lot of Americans think you're too close to big business, and, second, arguing that, because of that, your reform proposals aren't tough enough. What do you think the political impact of WorldCom will be? Are you concerned about it?
BUSH: I'm concerned about the economic impact of the fact that there are some corporate leaders who have not upheld their responsibility.
If you are a responsible citizen and you run a corporation in America, you must fully disclose all assets and liabilities, and you must treat your shareholders and employees with respect.
PUTIN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): During the general discussion, the G-8 and president played attention to this issue. And as for me and my other colleagues, it was very important to listen to the president's opinion, because, under the circumstances of the globalized community and world, a lot depends on the state of the U.S. economy these days.
And therefore, the willingness of the president of the United States to secure the stock market and market of the securities is very important as well as the notion of transparency in the U.S. business. It is a very good signal.
BUSH: I want to call on the Russian media.
QUESTION: President Bush, astonished by the European reaction to your report...
QUESTION: Were you astonished by the European reaction toward your proposal in regards to Arafat?
BUSH: I'm very pleased with the response to my proposal in the Middle East. The response has been very positive. And the reason why is, most European leaders understand something has to change in order for there to be peace, and that starts with free elections, a new Constitution, transparency, rule of law amongst the Palestinians. And that's the hopeful way to get to where we need to get, which is two states living side-by-side in peace. The response has been very positive. And for that, I'm grateful.
QUESTION: In one of the comments you just made about the Pledge of Allegiance, I'm wondering if you could talk about how your personal faith has helped you as president?
BUSH: Well, I appreciate you saying that. You know, yesterday when I went to see the -- or two days ago when I was -- or yesterday -- let's see.
Two days ago, I went...
BUSH: Let me at least finish the answers. I was amongst people whose lives were hurting a lot. And I was trying to figure out how to bring a sense of, you know, hope. And I thought that the best thing I could say was that there is a God who loves them. And I believe that's the case. And as a result, I feel comfortable in my life because I have that belief and that understanding. You know, it's interesting, there is a universal God in my opinion.
And the first conversation I ever had with Vladimir Putin was about God in Slovenia. It was a way -- we never met each other. And the first discussion we had was about our personal beliefs.
I appreciate -- you hear me say that I appreciate the fact that our country prays for me and Laura. And I do, I do. I feel the prayers of the people. I think that the Almighty is, obviously, important part of my life, but important part of the life of our country. And that's why the ruling of the courts was out of step with the traditions and history of America.
QUESTION (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): The G-8 was supposed to carry out the six points, having to do with terrorism. What is the relationship of the United States and Russia vis-a-vis this battle against terrorism jointly?
BUSH: It sounds like he speaks better English than some of us.
STAFF: Thank you very much.
BUSH: Yes, Fornier (ph) included.
First of all, President Putin has been a stalwart in the fight against terror. He understands the threat of terror, because he has lived through terror. He's seen terror firsthand, and he knows the threat of terrorism.
One of the first -- go ahead. You want to translate.
STAFF: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN)
BUSH: He understands what I understand that if terrorists are allowed to kill and take innocent life.
Therefore, have you, President Putin, as an ally, a strong ally in the war against terror and his actions are more than -- speak louder than his words. He has been a man of action when it comes to fighting terror, and I appreciate that very much.
PUTIN: (SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN.)
BUSH: Thank you all, we've got to have our bilateral. Thank you.
Thank you all.
PUTIN: I would like to say that the military of our nation and the special services of our countries are built up in a way so that they carry this global nature. And unfortunately, terrorism is of a global nature as well today.
And therefore, we have repeatedly mentioned that joint efforts are essential if you want to be a success in this fight.
Therefore, we welcome the position of the president in this regard. And therefore, we welcome his courage and consistency with which he persists his policies in spite of any elements that interfere with that.
HARRIS: We've been listening to some videotape that was made just moments ago of some comments that President Bush and President Putin made before they went off to their bilateral meeting there at the Calgary summit. We wanted to get President Bush's reaction to the news of the morning. That news being an appeals court ruling that Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because of the words "under God."
President Bush says that America is a nation that values our pledge of allegiance ruling. President bush said America a nation that values our relationship with the almighty, and he says it underscores -- this decision underscores the need for common sense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God.
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