George Bush laughs off a serious allegation about his friend Prince Bandar, a friendship that goes back to the late 1960s (which is coincidentally about the time that the benchmark oil market shifted from West Texas to the Middle East) --
And Prime Minister, if I could ask you about another matter: Were you aware that your government was approving payments to a friend of President Bush's as part of British Aerospace's kickback system, and is that why you suspended a fraud inquiry?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Glad you're answering that question. (Laughter.) A friend of mine. (Laughter.)
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: On the point you asked me -- let me make one thing very clear: I'm not going to comment on the individual allegations. And a lot of this, of course, relates to things that go back to the 1980s.
But let me just make one thing very, very clear to you: This investigation, if it had gone ahead, would have involved the most serious allegations and investigations being made of the Saudi royal family, and my job is to give advice as to whether that is a sensible thing, in circumstances where I don't believe the investigation (inaudible) would have led anywhere, except to the complete wreckage of a vital strategic relationship for our country in terms of fighting terrorism, in terms of the Middle East, in terms of British interests there. Quite apart from the fact that we would have lost thousands -- thousands -- of British jobs.
An exchange that encapsulates much about the Bush-Blair relationship -- Bush dumping a hot potato into Blair's lap, and Blair apparently not understanding how it looks when the guy who by all accounts was egging Bush on his war plans for Saddam might have skimming off the top of defence contracts. An interesting incentive system to say the least.