TRANSCRIPT: Charles Gibson Interviews President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush

Transcript of Nov. 20, 2007 interview between ABC News World News anchor Charles Gibson and President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

CHARLES GIBSON: Let me start with, did you put too much faith in President Musharraf?

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: President Musharraf is, right after September the 11th, was asked whether he was with the United States or with the radicals and extremists who had come to kill our citizens. And he said, he's with you, he's been a loyal ally in fighting terrorists.

He's also advanced democracy in Pakistan. He has, he has said he's going to take off his uniform, he's said there will be elections. Today he released prisoners, and so far I've found him to be a man of his word.

And the fundamental question I have for President Musharraf is, will these elections be under emergency rule or law, because if they are, it's going to be hard for --

CHARLES GIBSON: It'd be a sham.

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: -- well, it'll be hard for those of us who, have belief that he's advanced Pakistan's democracy to, to say that's, that's still the case. So, we'll see. Things are unfolding in Pakistan. But he's been a strong ally of the United States, and I certainly hope he succeeds.

CHARLES GIBSON: Is there a line he cannot cross, that he cannot cross, something that would go too far, where you might say to yourself, 'OK, that's enough?'

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: Well, he hasn't crossed the line. As a matter of fact, I don't think that, uh, he will cross any lines. I think he truly is somebody who believes in democracy. And he made a decision, we didn't necessarily agree with his decision, to impose emergency rule, and I, my, hopefully he'll get, get rid of the rule. Today I thought was a pretty good signal that he released thousands of people from jail.

CHARLES GIBSON: But he says he believes in democracy but this state of emergency, which he says he needs to do to fight terrorism, all he's done is arrest political opponents, he's arrested lawyers, he's arrested human rights people. It looks more about saving his own political skin?

PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: Well, as I say, he has done more for Democracy in Pakistan than, than any modern leader has, and one of the reasons you're seeing the blowback that you're getting in Pakistan is because of the reforms that, that President Musharraf has put in place. Are we happy with the emergency rule? No, we're not. Do we, do I understand how important he is in fighting extremists and radicals? I do. And do I believe that he's going to end up getting Pakistan back on the road to democracy? I certainly hope so.

CHARLES GIBSON: Mrs. Bush, you were very outspoken when the Myanmar situation occurred, and the monks were protesting, and very outspoken about the call for sanctions when they would not tolerate protest. Why is Myanmar and different than Pakistan?

FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH: Well, that isn't my … I can't answer that. I can talk to you about Burma, because that's what I know the most about, and what I've studied the most, and know most about what's going on in those countries.

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