Corridors of Power: Bush’s Visit to Rome and a Native American Apology

Corridors of Power: Bush’s Visit to Rome and a Native American Apology

Editor's Note: Corridors of Power, penned by WPR Editor-at-Large Roland Flamini, appears in WPR every Monday.

SORRY ABOUT THAT NO. 1 -- It's generally considered poor form in the international community for a foreign leader visiting a friendly country to have a private meeting with the leader of the opposition, but President George Bush wasn't going to be in Rome and pass up a chance to spend quality time with prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Prior to Saturday's presidential visit, the Italian government had made it clear to the White House that a meeting with Berlusconi would not be appreciated, and the newspaper La Repubblica, which is close to the left-of-center administration, warned that it would represent "a slap in the face of the Italian government." But the White House shrugged off Rome's objections, and the reunion with one of Bush's stalwart Iraq supporters went ahead as planned.

In Rome, Bush seems to have tackled the controversial meeting head-on, and explained his motives to Prime Minister Romano Prodi. According to Italian reporters, Bush later told them Prodi's response was, "I don't blame you." Berlusconi, the president said, "is a personal friend of mine." But in no other capital on Bush's five-country tour was a comparable meeting scheduled.

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