Bush's First 100 Days: Linda Chavez interview

But China is a potential adversary, and their behavior, not just with respect to our planes, but with respect to Taiwan, the way in which they've tried to intimidate Taiwan, and now tried to intimidate the United States, I think makes us have to be much more sober in our appraisal of the Chinese.

It seems to me that fits in nicely with President Bush's own instincts about the Chinese. He is different, I think, with respect to his attitude towards the Chinese than his father was. His father, having been the ambassador, I think was much softer on the Chinese, and I thought it was interesting that the President's initial instinct was a pretty hard line, and ultimately, certainly once we had our troops back, the administration as a whole has, I think, been quite hard line in its rhetoric. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

I think we have to recognize that China can represent a threat in the future, and that we have to deal with them, not just as somebody who represents a market, but somebody who may represent a potential adversary in the not-too-distant future.

Conservatism

There seems to be a lot of talk about the president being more conservative than people thought, perhaps governing to the right of where he campaigned.

I don't think he's more conservative than he campaigned. I think if you listened carefully during the campaign, certainly all of his policy prescriptions he's followed through on. I think the one thing that was a little surprise to some people were some of his early picks. Some of his nominees at the cabinet level were clearly conservative. And I think some people were a little surprised. They were bold choices, and I think maybe they didn't expect that kind of boldness.

But I think he is a conservative, never pretended to be anything else than a conservative, but because of his tone, because of his personality, which is much more moderate, he has a — a softer side to him in one-on-one in his personal interactions, and because of that, I think that was misinterpreted as somehow political softness. It's not. I think he's very hard-nosed, and he is a conservative through and through. He's a West Texas boy. That's where he grew up. Those are the values that helped create the political man, and anybody who knew him, and who watched what he said during the campaign, I don't think should be very surprised by what he's done.

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