Putin speaks

Deep within President Bush’s memoir Decision Points is this recollection of a conversation with Vladimir Putin:

I was especially worried about [Putin’s] arrests of Russian businessmen and his crackdown on the free press. “Don’t lecture me about the free press,” he said. “Not after you fired that reporter.” It dawned on me what he was referring to. “Vladimir, are you talking about Dan Rather?” I asked. He said he was. I said, “I strongly suggest you not say that in public. The American people will think you don’t understand our system.”

If this story came from just about anybody but President Bush, I’d suspect its veracity. As it is, it’s mind-boggling.

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