President Vladimir Putin is positive President Bush and he can "do a lot to the benefit of our peoples", he said in remarks at Rice University in Houston Wednesday. Former President George Bush Sr. said in opening remarks that the incumbent leaders of the United States and Russia had developed a personal relationship. He characterized the current level of ties between Russia and the US as "very good" and noted that Putin was the first foreign leader to call President Bush to offer condolences in the wake of the September 11 tragedy. "I have first-hand knowledge that it meant a lot", Bush Sr. underscored.
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign