President George W. Bush will not retain power after his term as president ends as Vladimir Putin does.
Speaking with reporters Friday, Bush said he had no direct knowledge of the events in Moscow, where Putin's constitutionally final second term as Russia's president ends next year.
"We just better let the elections play out and see what happens," Bush said when asked.
On Monday, Putin endorsed a trusted aide, Dmitry Medvedev, to run for president in the 2008 elections, which all but guarantees Medvedev will win. on Tuesday, Medvedev asked Putin to become prime minister rather than leave public life. Putin has not said "yes," but acceptance is considered likely for the job that could be a platform for Putin to retain government control.
Would Bush consider staying around after Jan. 20, 2009, if the U.S. Constitution would allow it?
"Just let me say this: It is not something I would want to do," he said in an interview with ABC News. "I want to serve my time as president of the country and move on and let somebody else take the helm, and that is exactly what is going to happen here."
Other conditions exist that would help Bush's decision not to try to stay and Putin's to hold on to power: Putin's popularity is about 80 percent, Bush's in the mid-30s.
Friday was not the first time Bush dismissed a post-second-term role for himself. Shortly before the 2004 elections that gave him his second term, Bush hosted friends, supporters and bankrollers at a private lunch in Washington.
"I'm going to come out strong after my swearing in," Bush said, according to The New York Times Magazine. His victory and a Republican sweep in Congress would give him "two years, at least, until the next midterm. We have to move quickly, because after that I'll be quacking like a duck."
In American politics, a politician serving in his last term is called a "lame duck."