Bush and President Putin Talk to Crawford Students
Crawford High School
November 15, 2001
10:48 A.M. CST
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you all. Sit down, please. Thank you all for that warm
welcome. This is a great day for Central Texas. It's a great day because Laura
and I have had the honor of welcoming the Putins to our beloved state. It's
a great day because it's raining. (Laughter.)
It's a great day, as well, because I just got off the telephone with two Central
Texas women, Heather Mercer, who used to live in Crawford -- (applause) -- and
Dayna Curry. They both said to say thanks to everybody for their prayers. They
realize there is a good and gracious God. Their spirits were high and they love
I remember clearly when I stood up in front of the Congress and said we have
three conditions to the Taliban. One, release those who are being detained;
two, destroy terrorist training camps so that country can never be used for
terror again either against us or against Russia, for example; three, bring
al Qaeda to justice.
Yesterday I was able to report to the nation that one of those conditions had
been met, with the release and rescue of the humanitarian aid workers. And make
no mistake about it, the other two will be met -- particularly bringing al Qaeda
to justice. (Applause.)
I wanted to bring President Putin to Crawford. I wanted him to see a state that
Laura and I love. I particularly wanted to be able to introduce him to the citizens
of Crawford, because this part of the state represents the independent-minded
nature of Texans. It represents the hard-working Texans, people who have great
values -- faith and family. The people here, Mr. President, love their country,
and they like countries that work with America to keep the peace. (Applause.)
We had a great dinner last night; we had a little Texas barbecue, pecan pie
-- (laughter) -- a little Texas music. And I think the President really enjoyed
himself. I told him he was welcome to come back next August -- (laughter) --
to get a true taste of Crawford. (Laughter.) He said, fine, and maybe you'd
like to go to Siberia in the winter. (Laughter and applause.)
It's my honor also to introduce President Putin to Crawford. I bet a lot of
folks here, particularly the older folks, never dreamt that an American President
would be bringing the Russian President to Crawford, Texas. (Laughter.) A lot
of people never really dreamt that an American President and a Russian President
could have established the friendship that we have.
We were enemies for a long period of time. When I was in high school, Russia
was an enemy. Now the high school students can know Russia as a friend; that
we're working together to break the old ties, to establish a new spirit of cooperation
and trust so that we can work together to make the world more peaceful.
Russia has been a strong partner in the fight against terrorism. It's an interesting
story for me to report. I was on Air Force One the day of the attack, working
my way back to Washington via Louisiana and Nebraska -- (laughter) -- making
sure that the President was safe and secure. The first phone call I got from
a foreign leader was President Putin. He told us that he recognized that I had
put our troops on alert. I did so because, for the first time in a long period
of time, America was under attack. It only happened once -- twice, I guess --
the War of 1812 and Pearl Harbor.
In the old days when America put their troops on attack, Russia would have responded
and put her troops on alert, which would have caused the American President
maybe to put a higher alert, and Russia a higher alert, and all of a sudden,
we would have had two conflicts instead of one. But not this President. This
President recognized we're entering into a new era and his call was, don't worry,
we know what you're up against, we stand with you and we will not put our troops
on alert, for the good of the United States of America. (Applause.)
I brought him to my ranch because, as the good people in this part of the world
know, that you only usually invite your friends into your house. Oh, occasionally,
you let a salesman in, or two, but -- (laughter.) But I wanted the Putins to
see how we live. And even though we changed addresses, our hearts are right
here in our home state.
We've got a lot to do together. We've had great discussions in Washington, as
well as here in Texas. We're both pledging to reduce the amount of nuclear weapons,
offensive weapons, we have in order to make the world more secure. We're talking
about ways to cooperate in anti-terrorism and anti-proliferation. We're talking
about ways to make sure our economies can grow together. What we're talking
about is a new relationship -- a relationship that will make your lives better
when you get older, and it will make your kids' lives better as they grow up.
But in order to have a new relationship, it requires a new style of leader.
And it's my honor to welcome to Central Texas a new style of leader, a reformer,
a man who loves his country as much as I love mine; a man who loves his wife
as much as I love mine; a man who loves his daughters as much as I love my daughters;
and a man who is going to make a huge difference in making the world more peaceful,
by working closely with the United States -- please welcome Vladimir Putin.
PRESIDENT PUTIN: Dear friends, when we were riding here in the presidential
car, I'll divulge to you a small secret of ours. The First Lady of the United
States told me, you know, some kind of special people live here. These are people
with a special kind of pride of their position and of their heritage. And the
more I come to know the President of the United States, the more I realize that
the First Lady was right -- he is right from the heart of Texas and he is a
Texan. And, herself, being a wise woman, she complimented her husband in an
indirect and very sensible way. (Laughter and applause.)
My wife and myself are also trying to help ourselves as we go along this life.
And it gives me pleasure to introduce my First Lady, my wife, Lyudmila Putin.
And like President Bush did, I would also like to congratulate three Texans
and two people from Waco, with the liberation by the U.S. official forces and
their withdrawal from the land of Afghanistan. (Applause.)
Of course, it is very important to be born under a happy star and to have destiny
facing your way. And, indeed, I'm in agreement with the President, perhaps God
was looking quite positively on this.
But there are different approaches to addressing such kind of problem. There
are people deeply religious who usually say that God knows what is to befall
a nation, a people, or a person. But there are people no less devoted to God,
but who still believe that the people, a person should also take care of their
own destiny and lives. And it gives me great pleasure to deal and to work with
President Bush, who is a person, a man who does what he says. (Applause.)
And I congratulate those who have been liberated by the Armed Forces, and their
relatives. And also, I would like to congratulate on this, President Bush. (Applause.)
On our way here, we didn't expect at all that things would be so warm and homey
as they were at the ranch of President Bush here. Yesterday, we had a surprise,
but today's meeting is yet another and very pleasant surprise, indeed, for us.
Indeed, in any country, the backbone of any country is not only the people who
live in the capitals, but also and mostly, the people who live hundreds and
thousands of miles from the capital.
It is especially pleasant and pleasing for me to be here in your high school.
And my being here brings me to remembering those distinguished Russian Americans
who contributed so much to the development and prosperity of this nation --
including a world-known composer and musician, Rachmaninoff; a well-known designer
and inventor of aircraft, helicopters and airplanes, Sikorsky; and a world-renowned
economist and Nobel Prize winner, Leontiev; and many others. And it is extremely
pleasant for me to know that here in this room we have some people, boys and
girls from Russia who have come here to study. (Applause.)
Of course, serious people work in the capital cities and much depends on them.
But in any circumstances and in any situation, what they must do is to fulfill
the will of their people. And being here I can feel the will of these people,
the will to cooperate with the Russian Federation, the will to cooperate with
Russia. And I can assure you that the Russian people fully share this commitment
and is also committed to fully cooperating with the American people. (Applause.)
Together, we can achieve quite a lot, especially if we are helped in this by
such a young and active and beautiful generation as the one we are meeting with
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Okay. The President and I have agreed to take a few questions
from the students. I figured this would be a pretty good opportunity for you
all to ask --
PRESIDENT PUTIN: Only questions. No math questions, please. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Good idea. Particularly no fuzzy math questions. (Laughter and
Anybody got any questions? Yes, ma'am. Hold on, we've got a mike coming so everybody
gets to hear it, too. What is your name and what grade are you in?
QUESTION: I'm Amanda Lemmons (phonetic.) I'm a senior.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Senior? Good.
QUESTION: Have you decided on whether you're going to go to Russia or not?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well -- (laughter) -- the President invited me and I accepted.
We haven't figured out a time yet. But, in that I'm from Texas and kind of like
the warm weather, I was hoping to wait a couple of months. (Laughter.) I'm really
looking forward to going to Russia. I would hope that I could not only go to
Moscow, but maybe go to the President's home town of St. Petersburg, which they
tell me is one of the most spectacular cities in Europe. But I look forward
to going. I think it is going to be a very important trip.
We have met four times now. We have made a lot of progress on coming together
on some key issues. There is more work to be done. I believe the U.S.-Russian
relationship is one of the most important relationships that our country can
have. And the stronger the relationship is, the more likely it is the world
will be at peace, and the more likely it is that we'll be able to achieve a
common objective, which is to defeat the evil ones that try to terrorize governments
such as the United States and Russia. And we must defeat the evil ones in order
for you all to grow up in a peaceful and prosperous world. (Applause.)
Okay. Wait for the mike. I'm kind of getting hard of hearing.
QUESTION: My name is Jana Heller -- (phonetic) -- and I'm in the eighth grade.
And I was wondering what is President Putin's favorite thing about Texas.
PRESIDENT BUSH: What does he think about Texas?
QUESTION: Yes, sir.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Oh, favorite thing. Favorite thing. Crawford, of course. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT PUTIN: We in Russia have known for a long time that Texas is the most
important state in the United States. (Laughter and applause.) But, seriously
speaking, we in Russia somehow tend to know about Texas rather better than about
the rest of the United States somehow. Except maybe for Alaska, which we sold
to you. (Laughter and applause.)
In my view, first of all, because, like in Russia, here in Texas the oil business
is quite well-developed and we have numerous contacts in this area. And we have
very many contacts in such areas as high-tech and the exploration of space.
And the fact that the parliament of the state of Texas declared April the 12th
-- the day when Yuri Gagarin, the first man to fly to space, accomplished this
-- as a state holiday, like it is a national holiday in Russia, is yet another
testimony of the closeness of our outlook and achievements. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Name and grade?
QUESTION: I'm Brian Birch -- phonetic.) I'm a senior here. In what ways has
this summit helped bring Russia and the U.S. closer together?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, first of all -- his question is in what ways has the summit
brought us together. Well, in order for countries to come together, the first
thing that must happen is leaders must make up their mind that they want this
to happen. And the more I get to know President Putin, the more I get to see
his heart and soul, and the more I know we can work together in a positive way.
And so any time leaders can come together and sit down and talk about key issues
in a very open and honest way, it will make relations stronger in the long run.
There's no doubt, the United States and Russia won't agree on every issue. But
you probably don't agree with your mother on every issues. (Laughter.) You still
lover her, though, don't you? Well, even though we don't agree on every issue,
I still respect him and like him as a person. The other thing is, is that the
more we talk about key issues, the more likely it is we come to an understanding.
And so the summit enabled us to continue a very personal dialogue. As well,
we agreed to some significant changes in our relationship.
I, after long consultations with people inside our government, I announced that
our government was going to reduce our nuclear arsenal to between 1,700 and
2,200 warheads over the next decade. That's a tangible accomplishment. I shared
that information with President Putin. He, too, is going to make a declaration
at some point in time.
In other words, this particular summit has made us closer because we've agreed
on some concrete steps, as well, specific things we can do together. We're working
on counter-proliferation, which is an incredibly important issue, to make sure
that arms and potential weapons of mass destruction do not end up in the hands
of people who will be totally irresponsible, people that hate either one of
And so we made great progress. And I look forward to future meetings with the
President because there's more to do, to make sure the relationship outlives
our term in office. It's one thing for he and me to have a personal relationship.
The key is that we establish a relationship between our countries strong enough
that will endure beyond our presidencies. And that's important so that in the
long run, as you come up and as your kids grow up, that Russia and the United
States will cooperate in ways that will make the world more stable and more
peaceful, and ways in which we can address the common threats. And terrorism
and evil are common threats to both our governments, and will be tomorrow, as
well as today, unless we do something about it now. And that's exactly what
we're doing. (Applause.)
Yes, ma'am. Ask the President a question. The other one.
QUESTION: We, the women of America, are very appreciative of all the rights
we have. So, with the fall of the Taliban government, how do you think that
women's rights will affect Afghanistan?
PRESIDENT BUSH: How do I think what?
QUESTION: How do you think the fall of the Taliban government will affect women's
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, I appreciate that. I'm going to answer it quickly, and
then I want Vladimir to discuss that. He knows about women's rights and the
importance of them because he's raising two teenage daughters. (Laughter.) He
and I share something in common.
I'll tell you an interesting story, and then I'm going to let him speak about
it. First of all, there's no question the Taliban is the most repressive, backward
group of people we have seen on the face of the Earth in a long period of time,
including and particularly how they treat women. (Applause.)
But President Putin, I think it would be interesting for him to discuss the
concept of women's rights inside of Russia and his vision of how Afghanistan
treats women. But I'll tell you an interesting story.
So we are getting ready to have the first press conference we had together in
Slovenia. And by the way, there was I think a thousand reports there -- it seemed
like a thousand. (Laughter.) And we were walking in. I said, say, I understand
you've got two daughters. He said, yes; he said, they're teenagers. I said,
I've been through that myself. (Laughter.) I said, who did you name them for?
He said, well, we named them for our mothers, my mother and my mother-in-law.
I said, that's interesting -- that's exactly what Laura and I did, too. We named
our girls for our -- my mother and Laura's mom. And I said, gosh, the thing
I want most in life is for those girls to be able to grow up in a free world
and prosper and realize their dreams. He said, that's exactly what I hope, as
There's a lot in common, even though -- between our countries, even though it's
a long way away. And it all starts with the human element, the thing that matters
most in life, and that is our faiths and our families and our respected loves
as dads for our daughters.
But anyway, I think it would be appropriate for President Putin to talk about
women in Russia and his keen desire, like mine, to free the women of Afghanistan,
PRESIDENT PUTIN: I do agree with the President that, indeed, such a problem
does exist in the world. And in Afghanistan this phenomenon has taken an extreme
form, and the disrespect of human rights has acquired extreme dimensions. Overall,
women in Afghanistan are basically not treated as people.
And the testimony of the people's attitude towards this problem, this issue
in Afghanistan is in the liberated areas people burn their veils, or as they're
called, chadors. This is the testimony of the attitude of the people to this
In many countries of the world, especially in the poor countries, this problem
exists and has acquired quite dramatic dimensions. To overcome this, one needs
to develop specific gender-oriented programs that would include, primarily and
first of all, questions related to proper education for women. And I would like
to reiterate, there are many programs and many people devoted to implementing
such specific, special activities for the benefit of women.
And we should not allow any atrocities or violations of human rights to happen.
But what we should avoid in the course of the implementation of such programs,
and as an end result of their implementation, is that a lady would turn into
a man. (Laughter and applause.)
QUESTION: -- I'm a senior. At the end of the war, do you foresee the United
States and Russia being involved in the new implementation of a government in
PRESIDENT BUSH: I do. I think -- and it started yesterday, in my house in Crawford,
where the President and I had a very long discussion about how to make sure
that the post-Taliban Afghanistan accomplish some certain objectives: one, that
it be a peaceful neighbor to everybody in the region; secondly, that it never
harbor and serve as a training ground for terrorism again; and, third, that
it be a country that doesn't export drugs.
I don't know if you know this or not, but the Taliban government and al Qaeda
-- the evil ones -- use heroin trafficking in order to fund their murder. And
one of our objectives is to make sure that Afghanistan is never used for that
And so we had a long discussion about a post-Taliban Afghanistan. The President
understands, like I do, that any government, in order for it to achieve its
objectives, must represent all the interests in Afghanistan -- not only the
Northern Alliance, which has been very effective fighters on the ground, but
also the Pashtun tribes, which are generally in the southern part of the country.
And we are working to figure out a strategy to make sure that that happens.
There's three phases to this battle in Afghanistan. One is bringing al Qaeda
to justice -- and we will not stop until we do that, that's what people need
to know. (Applause.) Secondly, is to make sure that the good hearts of the American
people and the Russian people, and people all over the world, are affected.
By that I mean that we get the aid to the starving folks in Afghanistan.
By the way, they were starving prior to September the 11th, because of the Taliban
government's neglect. And we're doing everything we can to make sure we get
food and medicine into the regions. Part of the problem has been the Taliban.
They've been stopping the shipments of food, believe it or not. It won't surprise
the President, because he understands how evil they are. We're just learning
how evil they are in America.
The other problem is to make sure that the distribution lines are now open,
so that we can get food not only from places like Mazar-e-Sharif, that we have
now liberated, but from there into the remote regions of northern Afghanistan,
in particular. It's important that we do that. And so we're working hard to
make sure that we accomplish that mission.
And the third objective is to make sure that after we leave that there is a
stable government. As part of the way we built our coalition was to assure Russia
-- who has got a particular interest in this part of the world -- and other
countries that we weren't just going to come and achieve a military objective
and disappear. We were going to come achieve a military objective, but also
help this country become a reasonable partner in the world, a country that's
able to foster peace and prosperity for its citizens. And that's an important
part of this campaign. It's important.
It's also important that we stay the course and be strong, because the stronger
we are as a coalition, the stronger we are in achieving our objective, it is
less likely somebody else is going to try to harbor a terrorist. Our objective
is not just al Qaeda and Afghanistan. Our objective is to root out terrorism
wherever it may hide, wherever it may exist, so the world can be more free.
And that's a common objective of the President and mine. (Applause.)
You've got a question for the President? We just call him "Red." (Laughter.)
QUESTION: My name is Danny White and I'm a senior.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Danny White or Danny Red? (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Danny White.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Oh, Danny White.
QUESTION: You say that we've reached an agreement to declare to reduce our nuclear
weapons. In reducing our nuclear weapons, are we talking about de-alerting them
and taking them off of alert status? Or are we actually talking about taking
apart the warheads and destroying the weapon?
PRESIDENT BUSH: We are talking about reducing and destroying the number of warheads
to get down to specific levels, from significant higher levels today to significantly
lower levels tomorrow. And, as well, most of our weapons are de-alerted. They're
not on alert. However, it doesn't take them long to fire up, if we need them.
Our mission is to make sure we never need them on each other. We need to get
beyond the notion that in order to keep the peace, we've got to destroy each
other. That's an old way of thinking. Now we're working together to figure out
ways to address the new threats of the 21st century.
I would like for the President to address that, as well.
PRESIDENT PUTIN: First of all, I would like to say that it gives me great pleasure
to be here in this room. And it's not quite clear for me whether I am here in
the school or at NASA. (Laughter.) Looking at the questions of the 12th graders,
it comes to my mind that everything is fine with this nation and in this school.
PRESIDENT BUSH: That's right.
PRESIDENT PUTIN: There, indeed, exists a number of scenarios of behavior in
this situation. And the question was quite professionally put, mind you. You
can just dismantle the warheads and rest them by the weapons, and to preserve
the so-called strike-back capability, in order to be able to retaliate. But
one may, on the other hand, destroy the arsenal. What you would do with those
arsenals is subject to negotiations, with the result of those negotiations depending
on the level of trust between the United States and Russia.
Yesterday, we tasted steak and listened to music, and all of this with a single
purpose and objective, to increase the level of confidence between the leaders
and the people. And if we are to follow this road further, we will certainly
arrive at a solution, decision acceptable both to Russia, to the United States
and, indeed, to the entire world. (Applause.)
QUESTION: I am Zalacia Stanford -- (phonetic.) I'm a senior. As we go out into
the world, do you have any advice for us?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, listen to your mother. (Laughter and applause.) I do. I
think, follow your dreams, would be my advice. Work hard; make the right choices;
and follow your dreams. The other thing is, you never know where life is going
to take you. I can assure you, when I was a senior in high school, I never sat
in an audience saying, gosh, if I work hard I'll be President of the United
States. (Laughter.) Didn't exactly fit into my vocabulary in those days. (Laughter.)
But you never know. You never know. Trust the Lord, too. (Applause.)
QUESTION: Did President Putin like the barbecue last night?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Ask him. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT PUTIN: Just I had a hard time imagining how could a living person
create such a masterpiece of cooking. A fantastic meal. And when I said so to
the President, he said, indeed, this cannot be done except for in Texas. (Laughter
PRESIDENT BUSH: I think, Mr. President, we ought to ask one of the Russian high
school students for a question. Please.
QUESTION: My name is Maria Vasulkova.
PRESIDENT BUSH: How old are you?
QUESTION: Eighteen. What do you think, how are the improved relations between
the two countries would influence the Russian economy and the future prospects
for the entire world? In general, what do you think of this?
PRESIDENT PUTIN: Russia has changed greatly recently. And today, the Russian
economy is on the rise. The growth rates are considerably higher than the average
for the world. Last year, the growth rate was about 8.3 percent; this year we're
expecting the growth rates close to 6 percent.
I would like to say that, unlike other economic negotiations and negotiators,
Russia is not seeking and is not expecting any preferences or any free-buys.
We even pay -- return the debts of Russia to the international financial institutions
ahead of schedule. Russia needs only one thing to develop normally. We need
normal standards, conditions and relations with all the leading economies of
the world, and primarily with the United States. And we have to get rid of the
ideological barricades of the preceding decades. And the President is helping.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Let me tell you an interesting story. We've sent teams of our
economic people over to Russia. And Don Evans, who is a Texan, from Midland,
Texas, who is now the Secretary of Commerce, came back and told me about an
encounter her had. He met a guy, a young man in Russia who told him that five
years ago he was really not a business guy, but he had a dream and he realized
that he could buy bread in Moscow and transport it to St. Petersburg, and make
a little profit -- which was a pretty new concept for the Russian Federation.
And as a result of working hard and having an environment which President Putin
is working hard to create, which is an environment where there is a tax system
that's fair -- and, by the way, they've got a flat tax in Russia. (Laughter
and applause.) He built his own business. He now owns a grocery store-type business.
To me, that's an example of where the reforms that the President is putting
in place are making sense, where people can own something -- own their own business,
own their own land, own the opportunity if you work hard to be able to have
a future that you dream about. And the President understands that.
Our job as a country is to help where asked. If there's ways that we can work
together for our mutual interest, we will do so. And so one of the areas where
I think the average Russian will realize that the stereotypes of America have
changed is that it's a spirit of cooperation, not one-upmanship; that we now
understand one plus one can equal three, as opposed to us and Russia we hope
to be zero. It's just a different attitude in a different era. It's time to
get the past behind us and it's time to move forward. And that's exactly why
we're here in Crawford, to show the world we are moving forward.
A couple more questions, then I've got to go have lunch, and so does the President.
Back there in the back.
QUESTION: My name is Sean Law -- (phonetic.) I was wondering if you've come
to a conclusion about whether or not to deploy a national missile defense system?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Are you with the national press corps or -- (laughter.) I noticed
my friends in the national press corps are giving you a thumbs-up. (Laughter.)
Oh, you're a debater. That's okay, then. (Laughter.)
This is an area that we've had a lot of discussions about. As you might remember,
in the presidential campaign I said, in very plain terms, that I felt the ABM
Treaty signed in 1972 is outdated; that the treaty was signed during a period
of time when we really hated each other and we no longer hate each other; that
I view the treaty as something we need to move beyond.
And I made this very clear to the President. He understands our position, that
it is in our nation's interest, and I think, in his nation's interest and other
peaceful nations' interest to be able to explore the ability -- to determine
whether or not we can be able to deploy defensive systems to prevent people
who might have weapons of mass destruction from hurting us, or holding us hostage,
or being able to blackmail free nations.
He'll be glad to give you his position. We have a difference of opinion. But
the great thing about our relationship is our relationship is strong enough
to endure this difference of opinion. And that's the positive development. We've
found many areas in which we can cooperate and we've found some areas where
we disagree. But, nevertheless, our disagreements will not divide us, as nations
that need to combine to make the world more peaceful and more prosperous.
So, Mr. President, if you'd like to address defenses, you're welcome to.
PRESIDENT PUTIN: I feel that time was not wasting by coming here. (Laughter.)
The President told me that we'll just limit ourselves to generalities, but he
was mistaken. (Laughter and applause.) You are applauding yourselves. (Laughter.)
Our objective is a common both for the United States and for Russia. The objective
is to achieve security for our states, for our nations, and for the entire world.
We share the concerns of the President of the United
States to the fact that we must think of the future threats. And here is a common
ground for our further discussions.
What we differ in is that we differ in the ways and means we perceive that are
suitable for reaching the same objective. And given the nature of the relationship
between the United States and Russia, one can rest assured that whatever final
solution is found, it will not threaten or put to threat the interests of both
our countries and of the world. And we shall continue our discussions. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: This is the last question. And then what we're going to do is
we're going to walk around and say hello to everybody, and then we're going
to go back to the ranch.
QUESTION: My name is Judy Swinson (phonetic) and I'm in seventh grade.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Seventh grade. Good.
QUESTION: And if you do go to Russia, are you going to be taking some kids from
Crawford? (Laughter and applause.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: No. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT PUTIN: I am extremely grateful for this question. The whole audience
basically started on this note and you finalized the whole thing with your question.
(Laughter.) This is not a mere coincidence, I believe. On our way here, the
President invited to come here when it's plus 40 Celsius, more than 110, and
he invited me to join a plus-40 club who jog when it is 110 and more. (Laughter.)
Well, I'll think about it. (Laughter.)
Indeed, in our country, there are regions where people live, by the way, in
Siberia, where, for one, last year, for two weeks in a row, the temperatures
were about around or below minus 50 Celsius -- for two weeks running. My promise
is I will not terrorize your President with such low temperatures -- (applause)
-- and would be glad to see any of you present here in Russia.
But, first of all, I would like to address here at this juncture our hosts,
the schoolchildren, the young audience here. At the count of three, those who
want your President to come to Russia, raise your hands and say, yes.
One, two --
AUDIENCE: Yes. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you all. Very good night. (Applause.)