Sunday, June 15, 2008

GW and Laura Bush in Rome

Bush walked past the Guardia D'Onore during his arrival Thursday, June 12, 2008
at the Quirinale Palace in Rome, where he met with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

ROME -- President Bush met with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi Thursday, a day after antiwar activists and hundreds of other demonstrators marched through the Italian capital to protest the U.S. president's visit....

Earlier Thursday, Mr. Bush met with Italian President Georgio Napolitano after spending time with Italian entrepreneurs. During a roundtable discussion at the American Academy in Rome, Mr. Bush encouraged young people to come get the "firsthand truth about America" and disputed what he called misinformation and propaganda about the U.S. "We're a compassionate, open country that cares about people," Mr. Bush said. "We love the entrepreneurial spirit."

Security is extremely tight for Mr. Bush's two-day stay in Rome. Commercial flights have been banned over the city and dozens of buses and trams have been rerouted. Thousands of policemen have been deployed as part of a plan to monitor further protests.

Although Wednesday's march drew far fewer demonstrators than previous visits by the president, it provided evidence that the Italian public still opposes the Bush administration.

Mr. Bush is scheduled to meet with Pope Benedict XVI on Friday before departing to Paris to continue his farewell European tour. It will be Mr. Bush's third meeting with the pope. The two last met in April in Washington.

Catholics in the Public Square: Pope Benedict gives President Bush a Warm Greeting at Vatican

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