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Quijano: Bush not planning to leave G-8 meeting

CNN Correspondent Elaine Quijano



On the Scene
George W. Bush
Acts of terror

(CNN) -- CNN Correspondent Elaine Quijano is in Scotland where the G-8 is meeting. She talked with CNN's Soledad O'Brien about President Bush's reaction to four explosions in London's transport system Thursday.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Elaine, we heard from not long ago a very somber President Bush, who talked not only about condolences of the nation, but also about resolve. (Related story.)

ELAINE QUIJANO: Absolutely, Soledad. And as we have heard President Bush say so many times before, really setting an unyielding tone. In fact, the language he used, saying that he will not yield to the terrorists. He said, "We will find them. We will bring them to justice. At the same time, we'll spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate."

Now, certainly those are the same kinds of words, the same language that President Bush has used time and time again. And what is most interesting to note is that included at the G-8 summit here in Scotland are people who have not necessarily seen eye to eye, European allies who have not always agreed with President Bush's approach in what the president has said is necessary action in the war on terror, i.e., Iraq, but President Bush saying quite clearly today that he was impressed by the resolve that he felt in that room today.

A little bit of background now on how this all unfolded from the White House's perspective here in Scotland.

We understand that the president, first of all, continues to be apprised by not only his chief of staff, Andrew Card, but his national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, as well. We understand that initially it was the deputy chief of staff, Joe Hagin, who first notified Andy Card. Andy Card, again, then notifying the president.

But from there, we understand that calls were made to notify the various government agencies back at home in the United States. Those agencies including Homeland Security, of course. Also putting out a call to the director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, as well as the White House Military Office.

Now, President Bush himself said that he has been in touch with Homeland Security officials about precautions, making sure that precautions are being taken. No reports of any specific intelligence at this particular point, but we understand that the G-8 meeting that was going on at the time was actually temporarily postponed in order that the leaders who were taking part in the meeting could be briefed.

The leaders, of course, including Prime Minister Blair, as well as President Bush. And it was at that time that the president returned to an area near his suite here in Gleneagles, Scotland, and convened by secure video conference a meeting with his national security, as well as homeland security advisers to be kept up to date on what was happening, and, as I said, ensuring that precautions were being taken.

The president then returned to the meetings, but the White House keeping, obviously, a very close eye on the event in London, and also back in the United States as well.

One more thing, Soledad, we should mention. The word from the White House is that there are no plans for the president to leave the G-8 summit early.

S. O'BRIEN: Elaine, you mentioned that the leaders of the G-8 have often not seen eye to eye on many, many issues. But I thought it was interesting that not only President Bush, but also the prime minister, Tony Blair, really emphasized in this instance solidarity. Not only with their words.

They literally said that experience with terrorism among these -- among all of these nations at the G-8 was something that sort of bound them together. But also, you could clearly see in their actions as they stood together as a group, with President Bush to the camera left of the prime minister, and Jacques Chirac, the French president, the camera right of the prime minister, standing together, deadly serious, frankly. This after a day of their sort of friendly back and forth and rivalry over the Olympic bid.

It is, Elaine, one would imagine, an issue where these leaders will be united.

QUIJANO: And what we have seen, as you point out, has certainly indicated that.

Of course, we're in the immediate moments now after these events have unfolded in London, and that really appears to be the goal, is to send a message directly to those responsible for these acts that, in fact, these leaders who Tony Blair said felt perhaps this was timed to coincide with the G-8 summit, that these leaders will not be shaken in their resolve. And again, you heard President Bush use that very same language, very determined language, in laying out what his position and the sentiment of others in the room there, what their positions were as well.

This is a president that we should also note in a war on terrorism, although his larger approval ratings may have not always hovered as high, for the most part, his approval ratings in the war on terrorism when it comes to how he has handled the war on terrorism in the United States, remain quite high. This is an issue that he very much is a strong leader on, Americans feel.

And at the same time, though, the European leaders wanting to stand shoulder to shoulder in the aftermath of this and present a very united front as they move forward and try to determine what happened.

But President Bush remaining very firm, as we have heard him say so many times before, that whoever is responsible will be brought to justice.

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