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Some people say the people you trust are your closest friends and they will give it to you with the bark off. But nobody in your administration will talk about any instances in which you've gotten it with the bark off. When have you, and have you listened to them?
Of course, I listen. I get all kinds of good advice. I remember when I named Condi, somebody said, "Well, you're being criticized because you put somebody in office who agrees with you." Yes. I mean, we've got some important things to do in the world: deal with North Korea, deal with Iran, Middle Eastern peace, make sure the Iraqi elections go forward. I mean, I think it makes sense to have somebody who understands how I think, understands the philosophy and agrees with it, in order to move an agenda forward.
Margaret Spellings is a classic example. She's a close friend, no question about it. We've toiled together on education issues for years. She worked her heart out here inside this White House. And when the opening came up for the Secretary of Education, I couldn't think of anybody better. One, I know her well. I know how she thinks, in terms of education. But I also love the fact that somebody who has been working so hard has now got to be Cabinet Secretary. I mean, I look forward to seeing Margaret Spellings sometime after we've all served together, and saying, "Madam Secretary, how are you?" You know what I'm saying? To me, that brings me great joy.
You've also said you don't like people to walk in and just say, "Nice tie, Mr. President."
Well, Margaret Spellings walks in and tells me exactly what she thinks.
Right. Give us a for instance.
I can't think of an incident right now, but it happens all the time. I'll say something provocative; part of my management style is to provoke thought and to get people thinking, is to lay something out there. And they'll say, "That's not a good idea, Mr. President," or "You know, I can't believe you said that."You know, I get input all the time from different sources members of Congress who come up here are constantly McCain is a guy who we get along well, we agree a lot, and sometimes we don't agree. A lot of my friends are people that don't understand or agree with some of the decisions I've made and question why I made the decision I made. So, yes, quite a bit of input that way.
We know how you feel about short-term history, but you now have joined a very small group of people who actually will have been "Man of the Year" more than once Winston Churchill and Mikhail Gorbachev and Deng Xiaoping.
First of all, I'm honored. I thank you for the honor. And you know what it says to me? It says I'm the President of a great country, the most influential country ever, and that I believe that this nation must lead. I tell people all the time, to whom much has been given much is required. And I believe we are where we are and we've got to use it for freedom and peace. And freedom and peace means more than just elections in a country; it means fighting disease and hunger. I think the honor reflects the fact that America is where she is in the world today, and I happen to be the President, and I'm grateful. And you know, it's a fantastic opportunity to seize this moment. You know, I see clearly the task ahead. We're dealing with the Salafist movement, and I believe we better deal with it now and because, otherwise, it will strengthen in nature. I see this as an historic moment, a time to change the dynamics of the world in a positive way. And I look forward to convincing other nations that this is an historic moment. Many get it; some don't. But now that the elections are over, I'm going to reach out to other nations and explain to them as clearly as I can what I'm trying to explain to you: that together we can do some really positive things.