QUESTION: So, first of all, may I remark, sir, that you are the fist President of the
United States who grants an interview to the public television. And I thank
you very much for that.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm honored. Thank you. And I'm so looking forward to coming
to Romania. It's going to be an exciting trip for Laura and me.
QUESTION: To what extent, sir, Romania's candidacy has helped to implement your vision
of a broad, robust NATO expansion?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I believe in the concept of Europe -- free,
whole and at peace. And I think the fact that Romania will be a part of NATO
recognizes that vision.
Secondly, Romania will be an active participate in the war against terror. And
as we change the NATO strategy to reflect the true threats we face, Romania
will work alongside the United States and other nations to make the world more
Thirdly, I think it's very important for us to recognize that new countries
that -- admitted -- countries which had lived under a totalitarian state will
bring a breath of fresh air, a vigor to the relationship because you remember
the difference between freedom and a non-free state. You remember the difference
between -- you've seen the difference between good and evil. And that spirit,
that strong determination for freedom is important in this alliance.
QUESTION: Sir, more than 80 percent of Romania's population supports NATO membership
of my country. How important is this popular support in promoting America's
policy towards a world of freedom and prosperity?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, you got to understand some of my view on
freedom, it's not American's gift to the world. See, freedom is God -- is God
given. And -- but we believe so strongly in freedom that we believe that when
people have a taste of freedom, they will demand the institutions necessary
to make sure freedom lasts.
And the Romanian people want to be free. People everywhere want to be free if
they've seen the other side. And so the fact that Romania is a strong supporter
of NATO really reflects more about Romania than it does reflect about us. What
we want to do is we want to have an alliance that is strong enough and capable
enough to meet the true threats that we all face. And global terror is a threat.
Believe me, it is a threat.
It is a threat not only to the United States, but it's a threat to any country
which embraces freedom. No one is immune from global terror. And therefore --
but we're more likely to succeed if we work together, which means work to cut
off money; work to cut off access; work to share intelligence; and if need be,
work together in the military way to defeat terror.
QUESTION: What are the challenges facing the common people, the taxpayers once Romania
is a part of NATO?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the biggest problem that is going to face the taxpayers
is to make sure the economy grows. But that's the problem we all face. I mean,
we want to make sure people work. The most important criterion for success of
any country -- NATO or otherwise -- is: Can people find a job? Will the economies
flourish? Will open markets be able to yield the fruits of the labor for the
common person? And the answer is, yes.
Romania is on its way to reform. We've got to be patient with Romania because
Romania has come from a history of state-dominated -- state-dominated industry,
which failed. And it failed to provide for the people. And so the reforms to
the marketplace are going to take time. But the reforms will yield -- will yield
great prosperity, in my judgment. And it's a matter of time for that to happen.
QUESTION: What do the United States expect from their new allies, from Romania and the
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we expect friendship. We expect that concept that says
if one of us is attacked, we're all attacked. That works both ways. If Romania
is attacked, the alliance comes to Romania's defense. If another country is
attacked, we all go to that country's defense. That common defense will help
make the world more peaceful.
Secondly, as we develop a new strategy as to how to face the new threats of
the 21st century, a new military strategy, Romania will be called upon to do
its part, as will the United States. And together, the sum of our parts will
be significant in terms of keeping the peace.
QUESTION: What is going to be the message you will deliver to the Romanian people when
you meet some of the inhabitants in the city of Bucharest?
THE PRESIDENT: The message is, for a long time you struggled; you're now free,
and you've got a great friend in the United States of America.
QUESTION: Mr. President, it's been a great honor and privilege to interview you. Thank
you very much for sharing your views with our public.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I am so looking forward to coming. It's going to be an
honor to be there. I have -- I'm working on my speech to the Romanian people.
It's going to be a powerful moment for me and my wife, to see the people and
to be in the famous square and to look at the statues of people who represent
freedom. And it's going to be one of the highlights of my presidency.
QUESTION: You'll be most welcome, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir.
QUESTION: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Good to meet you.
QUESTION: Good to meet you, sir, and I hope you'll have a very good and successful trip.