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Bush takes Rice as his date to PM's

GEORGE W. Bush's first Dinner in Sydney kicked off with warm welcomes from Australia's leading men, a stand-in date for the US President and a request by him to see photos of Prime Minister John Howard's grandson.

Two New South Wales Police helicopters and at least 10 police and maritime boats were called into action to escort the leader of the free world to his evening engagements with Mr Howard and Governor-General Michael Jeffery.

Greetings and the exchange of pleasantries included a gesture by Mr Bush to invite US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be his dinner date.

The President's evening itinerary started around 5pm (AEST) when he boarded a luxury cruiser for a short voyage across Sydney Harbour for a brief gathering with Maj Gen Jeffery and his wife Marlena at Admiralty House, followed by dinner next door at Kirribilli House hosted by Mr Howard and his wife Janette.

Mr Bush's motorcade swept down from his hotel to the Sydney Opera House, where he boarded the white cruiser, which earlier today took him to lunch at the Garden Island naval base.

Surrounded by police inflatables and under the cover of police helicopters, the boat set off across the harbour for Kirribilli.

Upon his arrival at the Admiralty House jetty, Mr Bush and Dr Rice were greeted by Major General and Mrs Jeffery.

The group then ascended the steps from the foreshore to the rear lawn of the residence where they posed for photos before going inside.

Mr Bush added his name to the visitor's book, with Maj Gen Jeffery remarking: "Glad to have you here in our Sydney residence."

After 30 minutes at Admiralty House, the group made the 30m walk to Kirribilli House for dinner with the Prime Minister and Mrs Howard.

The Howards greeted Mr Bush and Dr Rice at the front door, where Mr Howard said: "Welcome to Kirribilli House."

The President politely responded, "thanks for your hospitality".

Mr Bush also said he was "looking forward to seeing the pictures of the grandkid".

Mrs Howard replied "oh good, I'll have to find one".

During the exchange, and while cameras were firing away, Dr Rice slightly distanced herself from the heads of state which was met by a comment and gesture from Mr Bush, who is travelling without his wife Laura Bush.

He outstretched his arm across her shoulders and said "you can be my date".

The group then moved inside Kirribilli House where champagne was being served prior to dinner.

Among the dinner guests were Federal Government frontbenchers Treasurer Peter Costello, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile, Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer and Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

This post first appeared on Megaworldnews, please read the originial post: here

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Bush takes Rice as his date to PM's


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