Bush Not Worried About Low Approval Ratings

BUSH: Well, there's a difference -- well, there's a difference between somebody who has made up their mind regardless of the facts, and the facts, and so I want to hear what -- again, I want to see the same facts presented to the Congress, and -- but the 45-day period is a, is a good opportunity for people to find out the facts.

I do want, when people start paying attention to this, the facts, one is ask the question whether or not, you know, doing business with this company is going to jeopardize the security of the United States, first. And secondly, if not, what kind of signal does it send to say it's OK for a British company but not OK for an Arab company to manage this port, when in fact, this same company manages ports all around the world?

Here we are trying to put a coalition of the willing together to protect America, to win the war on terror, and I would ask the critics and the people who are skeptical, "What kind of signal does it send to our friends in the Arab world, people who are joining us in the war on terror, people who want to fight off the terrorists, to say it's OK for one company from one country to be able to have this management contract but not you?"

And I also want to remind people that in the year 2000, prior to my arrival in Washington, D.C., our country sold F-16s to the very country from which this company comes from. In other words, there had been a security analysis done on whether or not the UAE, for example, is a valid ally and our valued ally and -- but, anyway, look, I can understand people's concerns, and our job is to address them.

VARGAS: Are you at all concerned about the fact that the Coast Guard had concerns about intelligence gaps in assessing whether or not this was a risk?

BUSH: I think if you looked at that full study, you'd find that the Coast Guard had some questions, but then those questions were answered. I would be concerned if the questions weren't answered. And so the Coast Guard questioning was the beginning of the process, in all fairness to the process. And to me it shows the process worked. Those people had these initial concerns. These concerns were addressed with the company, and those who analyzed the deal from a security perspective said that the questions were addressed.

VARGAS: I guess I just want to know if you're open to the possibility of this deal not happening, if that is an option here.

BUSH: You know, it -- and the only way it won't happen is if there is a true security threat to the United States of America.

VARGAS: Something unearthed that you're not aware of in the next 45 days.

All right. You're on your way to India and Pakistan.

BUSH: I am.

VARGAS: You've called Pakistan one of our more important allies in the war on terror. But roughly 75 percent of Pakistanis have an unfavorable opinion of the United States; 51 percent think Osama bin Laden would do the right thing on the world stage; only 10 percent say the same about you.

This is our ally in the war on terror. What does this say about the state of your effort to change the opinion of the United States in the Muslim world?

BUSH: You know, if I made decisions based upon polls, I guess I would be hamstrung. I make decisions based upon how to protect the American people and how to do my job and how to work with others to spread liberty and democracy no matter how hard it is.

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