Thursday, April 22, 2004


Submitted in advance.

Speaking to a large gathering of newspaper editors, publishers and executives this afternoon, President Bush defended his policies on Iraq and the war on terror, saying "We're changing the world for the better."

Asked about an editorial in today's Washington Post noting that Sen. John Kerry now called for a stable Iraq but not necessarily a full democracy, Bush repeated his own view that democracy in that country "is necessary and it will change the world." He later added: "We're not gonna cut and run as long as I am in the Oval Office."

The whole issue of questions from the audience at the Associated Press annual luncheon was a running joke for the president during his talk. He opened his speech by saying, "I kind of like ducking questions," and said he would be "glad to duck any questions like my mother once told me to do" following his remarks.

In the end he only took three questions, from those submitted in advance by AP members, and read by Burl Osborne, the AP chairman. After replying to one question he apologized for "the long answer, but at least I answered it."