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JIM LEHRER: Now, excerpts from what President Bush said today. Speaking from the Oval Office, he called New York Governor George Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani, announcing his plans to come to New York and thank the rescue workers. Then he talked to reporters. The questions included those about the international coalition he was trying to build.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I’ve been on the phone this morning, just like I was yesterday, and will be on this afternoon, on the phone, with leaders from around the world who express their solidarity with this nation’s intention to rout out and to whip terrorism.
They understand… fully understand that an act of war was declared on the United States of America.
They understand as well that that act could have easily been declared on them. These people can’t stand freedom. They hate our values. They hate what America stands for.
Many of the leaders understand it could have easily have happened to them. Secondly, they understand that, unlike previous war, this enemy likes to hide. They’ve heard my call loud and clear, to those who feel like they can provide safe harbor for the terrorists– that we will hold them responsible as well.
And they join me in understanding not only the concept of the enemy, that the enemy is a different type of enemy; they join me also in solidarity about holding those who fund them, who harbor them, who encourage them, responsible for their activities. I’m pleased with the outpouring of support. Jiang Zemin, Vladimir Putin; had a great visit this morning with His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. I will continue to stay on the phone.
And there is universal support for the American people, sadness in their voice, but understanding that we have just seen the first war of the 21st century. And there is universal approval of the statements I have made, and I am confident there will be universal approval of the actions this government takes. Yeah, stretch?
REPORTER: Mr. President, if this is a different kind of war, it might require perhaps a different kind of coalition. Many people believe that for a real war on terrorism to work, you’ll need cooperation from governments that haven’t necessarily done so in the past– specifically Pakistan and Afghanistan. Have you made any progress on that front?
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I would refer you to the statements that the Pakistani leader gave about his… I don’t have the exact words in front of me, but his willingness to work with the United States. And I appreciated that statement. And now we’ll just find out what that means, won’t we?
REPORTER: Mr. President?
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We will… We will… We will give the Pakistani government a chance to cooperate and to participate as we hunt down those people who committed this unbelievable, despicable act on America. You know, through the tears of sadness, I see an opportunity. And make no mistake about it, this nation is sad. But we’re also tough and resolute.
And now is an opportunity to do generations a favor by coming together and whipping terrorism– hunting it down, finding it, and holding them accountable. The nation must understand this is now the focus of my administration. We will… We’re very much engaged in domestic policy, of course. I look forward to working with Congress on a variety of issues. But now that war has been declared on us, we will lead the world to victory– to victory.
REPORTER: Could you give us a sense as to what kind of prayers you are thinking and where your heart is for yourself as you work on that?
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I don’t think about myself right now. I think about the families, the children. I’m a loving guy, and I’m also someone, however, who’s got a job to do, and I intend to do it. And this is a terrible moment, but this country will not relent until we have saved ourselves and others from the terrible tragedy that came upon America.