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

(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. (Read more George W. Bush stories.)

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