POLITICS

Bush: "I'm Sure People View Me As A War Monger"

Mar 28, 2008 | Updated May 25, 2011

In Riyadh today, the president danced a traditional sword dance with one of the princes of the royal family. It was a public -- and a little awkward -- display of affection, all part of Bush's first visit to Saudi Arabia aimed at repairing strained relations between the world's biggest oil producer and the world' s biggest oil consumer.

The president sat down with "Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran at one of the vast royal palaces, and it became clear who holds the cards right now in the oil markets, with the price up near $100 a barrel...

..."I have talked to these leaders face to face," he said. "I have asked them point blank, 'Do you understand how difficult these issues are?' Yes. 'Are you prepared to make the painful political compromises?' They say they are."

Despite that optimism, the president also said that he does feel misunderstood in the Middle East.

"My image [is] 'Bush wants to fight Muslims.' And, yes, I'm concerned about it. Not because of me, personally. I'm concerned because I want most people to understand the great generosity and compassion of Americans," he said.

"I'm sure people view me as a war monger and I view myself as peacemaker," the president said. "They view me as so pro-Israeli I can't be open-minded about Palestinian peace, and yet I'm the only president ever to have articulated a two-state solution. And you just have to fight through stereotypes by actions."

Read entire article.

See a slideshow of Bush in Saudi Arabia.