Russia's recent actions in Crimea have shown a lot about Russian President Vladimir Putin's character and resolve, but perhaps something Putin once said to former President George W. Bush years ago tells you all you need to know.
President George W. Bush and former President George H. W. Bush greet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Bush family house in Kennebunkport, Maine, in July 2007. (AFP/Getty Images/Jim Watson)
Bush revealed on NBC's "Today" that Putin once actually "dissed" his dog — and then followed up a year later by showing off his own "bigger, stronger and faster" hound.
“As you know ... our dear dog Barney, who had a special place in my heart, I introduced him to Putin, Putin kind of dissed him — ‘You really call that a dog?'" Bush told his daughter, "Today" correspondent Jenna Bush Hager. The Scottish terrier, who lived with the Bushes during their eight years in the White House, died last year.
Bush was publicly unveiling some of his portraits of world leaders, including one of Putin.
“A year later, your mom and I go to visit, Vladimir … says, ‘Would you like to meet my dog?’" Bush said. "Out bounds this huge hound, obviously much bigger than a Scottish terrier, and Putin looks at me and says, ‘Bigger, stronger and faster than Barney.’"
Former President George W. Bush's portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Image via the Bush Center/Flickr)
Bush added: “I just took it in. I didn’t react. I just said, ‘Wow. Anybody who thinks ‘my dog is bigger than your dog’ is an interesting character.’ And that painting kind of reflects that.”
Watch Bush's "Today" interview, with more looks at his paintings: