Bush praises his ‘gallant friend’

PRESIDENT Bush made a very moving, personal and true tribute to Tony Blair today when presenting him with the Medal of Freedom. 

Hat-tip to Guido, who has published it in full without comment. I’ll do the same:

The first day I met Tony Blair, almost exactly eight years ago, he was in his second term as Prime Minister and I was just starting out. After our first meeting, a reporter asked if we’d found anything in common, and I jokingly replied that we both used Colgate toothpaste. (Laughter.)

The truth is I did feel a close connection to Tony Blair. As I said after the first meeting, I knew that “when either of us gets in a bind, there will be a friend on the other end of the phone.” My friend was there, indeed, after America was attacked on September the 11th, 2001. And it just wasn’t on the phone line. When I stood in the House Chamber to ask the civilized world to rally to freedom’s cause, there in the gallery was the staunch friend, Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He was there in a moment of trial to affirm the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. And he was there to show America, and all nations, that he understood the stakes in the war on terror. As he said, “just as the terrorist seeks to divide humanity in hate, so we have to unify it around an idea. And that idea is liberty.” Under Tony Blair’s leadership, the might and the moral authority of Great Britain have been applied to the war on terror from the first day. Our nations have worked proudly together to destroy terrorist havens, liberate millions, and help rising democracies to serve the aspirations of their people.

Tony Blair’s entire career is defined by his devotion to democratic values and human dignity. At his very center, this man believes in freedom — freedom from oppression, freedom from hunger, freedom from disease, and freedom from fear and despair. In the House of Commons, as the longest-serving Labour Prime Minister in history, he fought to lift up his nation’s communities and better the lives of all its people. He helped turn generations of violence in Northern Ireland into years of peace. He drew the attention and conscience of the world to the suffering in Africa, and he continues to serve the cause of peace and democracy as the Quartet Envoy to the Middle East.

Out of office but still in public life, Tony Blair remains on the world stage as a man of high intelligence and insight — and above all, as a man of faith and idealism and integrity. The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will stand tall in history. And today the United States of America proudly honors its gallant friend, Tony Blair.
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11 Comments

Filed under International, United States

11 responses to “Bush praises his ‘gallant friend’

  1. Johnny Norfolk

    It takes one to know one.

  2. John

    ““just as the terrorist seeks to divide humanity in hate, so we have to unify it around an idea. And that idea is liberty.”

    Hahahahahaha! Is that why on both sides of the pond they’ve decided to urinate on the “idea of liberty” by eroding everyone’s liberty with the excuse that we’ll get a little more security, and that giving up our liberty for a little more security is well worth it?

    As i’ve said in the past, I am a staunch Blairite, but oh my days what a slip up a claim like that was.

  3. Jay

    Tom, I really don’t know what to say – perhaps the first paragraph of your quote sums up my feelings. You describe ‘the most powerful man in the world’ making a quip. My feeling is that he approached his ‘war on terror’ with the same degree of arrogant flippancy. As for Blair, when he stood against Major, for the first time in my life I voted Tory because I saw a vacuous opportunist who would subvert a genuinely sound idea, a ‘middle way’, to meet his own ambition. In fact, I suspect that the ‘middle way’ was cynically conceived. My scepticism has been confirmed.

    My consolation (and it’s an empty one) is that the Americans seem to have seen through Bush for the pygmy that he is. Blair, I hope, is no longer a figure of influence (if he ever was without Bush) and at least his departure has perhaps opened the eyes of many to the spin on which this Government has depended and of which Gordon is not such a maestro.

  4. Nice to see an american president acknowleges that the ‘special relationship’ exists.

  5. wrinkled weasel

    Well. For two leaders of the free world who chose to bypass the United Nations and invade another country for the purpose of regime change, who also lied to their respective countries, and for the deaths of over half a million Iraqis, and on behalf Valerie Plame and David Kelly, I salute them. May they both rot in hell.

  6. Simon

    At least TB had to good grace to look very uncomfortable when accepting this.

    Probably hoping no-one would ask why his “devotion to democratic values and human dignity” could justify invading Iraq on a made-up premise, but not lift a finger to help the citizens of Zimbabwe.

  7. Has Tony confided in you as to when he will c9llect his other american ‘gong’, the Congressional Gold Medal? And any idea what the customised image will be?

  8. Simon

    The design of the Congressional Gold Medal was released to the media yesterday.

    One side will depict Tony Blair passing a poisoned chalice to Gordon Brown.

    The other side will depict TB laughing all the way to the bank.

  9. John Doole

    From one war criminal to another. At least Bush has the excuse of being an idiot. What a tasteless joke, although not as tasteless as Blair being made a Middle-East peace envoy. ‘Peace’ is not a word that one really associates with Blair and the Middle-East. Words like ‘death’, ‘war’, ‘lies’ and ‘hubris’ are much more fitting.

  10. Dave H.

    It is a pity for Blair that positive achievements in Northern Ireland will be overshadowed by Iraq. A journalist wrote that the joke ‘Jones the Sheepshagger” sums it up.

    I once watched a live Bush press conference on CNN. He said, with apparent care and sincerity, “it will take time to restore chaos in Iraq.” I don’t think it became as famous as other Bushisms.

    Presumably the explanation is that some of his neurons were irretrievably lost to Jack Daniels.

  11. Auntie Flo'

    “PRESIDENT Bush made a very moving, personal and true tribute to Tony Blair today”

    As Mandy Rice Davis said: Well, he would, would he?

    The only place these two should be appearing t0gether is in court, for their joint war crimes.

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