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Bush says Hillary best under pressure; compares hi

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\ And that’s why Sen. Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, he said. \

\ “She understands the klieg lights and the pressure,” Mr. Bush said, in an interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson. “There is no question that Senator Clinton understands pressure better than any of the candidates … because she lived in the White House and sees it first … could see it first-hand.”\

\ “Having said that, I do believe our candidate will beat her, if she happens to be the nominee,” said Mr. Bush, who conducted the interview at Camp David, along with First Lady Laura Bush. \

\ In the far-ranging interview (full transcript here), Mr. Bush predicted that the current primary system for presidential elections could be reformed to shorten it, said that Sen. Barack Obama’s commitment to meet with rogue dictators is “odd,” and guaranteed that Congress will give him the federal funding needed to continue the war in Iraq.\

\ Having suffered through months of some of the lowest presidential approval ratings in history, Mr. Bush also indicated that he thinks he may be viewed more favorably over time.\

\ “I spent a lotta time reading about Abraham Lincoln,” Mr. Bush said. “Abraham Lincoln had no earthly idea that the Gettysburg Address was a great speech. All he knew is after having given it, he was condemned by a press corps that thought the person that preceded him was much better.”\

\ “I’ve always felt that there needs to be a long leash to history, that you can’t judge a administration immediately … particularly one that has pushed hard for some big ideas, like my administration has done,” Mr. Bush said.\

\ Regarding the most pressing current issue — the crisis in Pakistan — Mr. Bush said he was hopeful that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will return the country to constitutional rule, and confident that the country’s nuclear arsenal is still safely protected from terrorists and Islamic radicals.\

\ “I think he truly is somebody who believes in democracy,” Mr. Bush said of Mr. Musharraf. “He has done more for Democracy in Pakistan than any modern leader has, and one of the reasons you’re seeing the blowback that you’re getting in Pakistan is because of the reforms that President Musharraf has put in place.”\

\ “Do I believe that he’s going to end up getting Pakistan back on the road to democracy? I certainly hope so,” the president said.\

\ As for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, Mr. Bush said he feels “pretty comfortable” that they are still under Mr. Musharraf’s control \

\ “I feel good about it right now,” Mr. Bush said.\

\ — Jon Ward, White House correspondent, The Washington Times

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