Friday, June 23, 2006

U.S. a bigger threat than Iran? Bush calls idea "absurd"

By Seattle Times news services

VIENNA, Austria — An angry-sounding President Bush said Wednesday it was "absurd" to call the United States a greater threat to world stability than Iran, despite a poll showing that's what many Europeans say.

But the atmosphere of goodwill during Bush's meeting with Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel and other EU officials was tested when European reporters pressed Bush on widespread anti-American sentiment in Europe.

"I thought it was absurd for people to think that we're more dangerous than Iran," Bush snapped when asked, in general terms, about the poll results. His irritation grew when an Austrian reporter read him some specific poll numbers.

"Look, people didn't agree with my decision on Iraq, and I understand that. ... People can say what they want to say. But leadership requires making hard choices based upon principle," he said during a news conference in historic Hofburg Palace.

In Vienna, a few hundred students chanted "Bush Go Home" at a train-station rally. Cindy Sheehan, whose soldier son was killed in Iraq and who has protested outside the president's ranch in Texas, led student protesters in Vienna.


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