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Monday, February 28, 2005

NEWSWEEK: Putin to Bush: 'We Didn't Criticize You When You Fired Those Reporters at CBS'

NEWSWEEK: Putin to Bush: 'We Didn't Criticize You When You Fired Those Reporters at CBS'

NEW YORK, Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- When George W. Bush confronted Vladimir Putin last week about the freedom of the press in Russia, Senior White House Correspondent Richard Wolffe reports, Putin shot back with an attack of his own: "We didn't criticize you when you fired those reporters at CBS." Details of the meeting, which included just the two presidents and their translators inside the historic castle that overlooks the Slovak capital of Bratislava, are reported in the March 7 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, February 28).

(Photo: )

It's not clear how well Putin understands the controversy that led to the dismissal of four CBS journalists over the discredited report on Bush's National Guard service. Yet it's all too clear how Putin sees the relationship between Bush and the American media -- just like his own. Bush's aides have long feared that former KGB officers in Putin's inner circle are painting a twisted picture of U.S. policy. So Bush explained how he had no power to fire American journalists. It made little difference, Wolffe writes.

When the two presidents emerged for their joint press conference, one Russian reporter repeated Putin's language about journalists getting fired. Bush (already hot after an earlier question about his spying on U.S. citizens) asked the reporter if he felt free. "They obviously planted the question," said one of Bush's senior aides.

(Read Newsweek's news releases at
Click "Pressroom.")

Photo: NewsCom:
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Source: Newsweek

CONTACT: Abigail Lorge of Newsweek, +1-212-445-4078

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