Speers: You've had a very close relationship with John Howard. You famously called him the ‘Man of Steel'. If he doesn't win the election and Kevin Rudd does become Prime Minister, given you have differences over such a big issue as Iraq will the alliance still be the same?
The correct answer is: "Australia is a close ally and we will work closely with the democratically elected government, no matter who the winner is."
Bush: I refuse to accept your hypothesis.
Speers: Well if, if he wins.
Bush: Well that's if. I mean you're asking me to answer a hypothetical. I'm...
Speers: But will the alliance change?
Bush: All I can tell you is is that I remember John Howard has been behind in polls before and he's won it, so I... certainly I'm not going to prejudge the, ah, the decision of the Australian people, and I will end up dealing with whomever and work hard to make sure that the Australian and U.S. relationship is good, but I don't buy into your hypothesis.
Speers: But essentially the relationship won't suffer if Kevin Rudd becomes Prime Minister?
Bush: Look, I'll be glad to deal with the situation. See, that's a loaded question.
Kevin Rudd is the leader of the opposition Australian Labor Party currently favored to defeat John Howard in the next election. Howard is so far behind in the polls that he may lose his own seat in parliament as well as his position as leader of Australia.
Americans may remember John Howard as the man who said that al Qaida is praying for an Obama victory.
Dick Cheney is suspected of arranging the secret plea bargain that freed Guantanamo detainee David Hicks (complete with temporary gag order) to aid in Howard's reelection effort.