Bush, Putin Get Off to Chummy Start
Russian leader's brief visit to Maine starts with lobster, protests
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2007 6:44 AM CDT
Former President George Bush, background, looks on while visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin meets his dog at Walker's Point, the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, Sunday, July 1, 2007....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The US-Russia mini-summit kicked off with flowers and kisses, but the subtext was less collegial. Vladimir Putin presented bouquets to the current and ex-First Ladies, then joined the Bush family for a lobster and swordfish dinner last night in an atmosphere that exceeded his expectations. "We could not have predicted the warmness and hospitality from President Bush," a spokesman said.

Kennebunkport's cool ocean breezes match recent relations between the countries, a situation Putin's 24-hour visit is unlikely to thaw much, the AP reports. Outside the Bush compound, protesters created gridlock without help from the usual out-of-town crowd. "There are a lot of protesters and media and Secret Service, but there's no tourists," one business owner told the Kennebec Journal.