Bush: “[D]emocracies have certain things in common; they have a rule of law, and protection of minorities, a free press, and a viable political opposition.”
Bush also portrayed himself as a good example of a political leader who can’t get away with hiding his mistakes.
“I live in a transparent country,” Bush said. “I live in a country where decisions made by government are wide open [!!!] and people are able to call people [like] me to account, which many out here do on a regular basis. … I’m perfectly comfortable in telling you, our country is one that safeguards human rights and human dignity.”
One Russian questioner challenged Bush on the issue of press freedom, apparently referring to pressure that Bush’s conservative supporters have brought to bear on U.S. news organizations to oust journalists who have criticized Bush.
“Why don’t you talk a lot about violation of rights of journalists in the United States, about the fact that some journalists have been fired?” the questioner asked.
Bush responded with a joke, which played to the U.S. journalists in the room.
“Do any of you all still have your jobs?” Bush joshed….