Video: Bush vs. Blair
updated 6/30/2005 3:32:01 PM ET 2005-06-30T19:32:01

With the G8 Summit coming up July 6-8 in Scotland, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been pushing for President Bush to support initiatives such as increased aid for poverty and around the world.

Con Coughlin, MSNBC Analyst and Executive Editor of the London's Sunday Telegraph, joined MSNBC's Amy Robach on Thursday to discuss the upcoming summit.

To read an excerpt of their interview, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the 'launch' button to the right.

Amy Robach: Tony Blair has been trying to push President Bush intp at least acknowledging more aid for Africa, more aid for poverty (and) worldwide poverty in general. Realistically, what is Blair expecting from President Bush?

Con Coughlin: Well he's expecting a significant gesture. But the problem is, what we're seeing here is the political differences between Bush and Blair. They're been very close allies in the war on terror, particularly on Iraq, but now we are seeing that they are basically different fiscal animals.

Tony Blair is an international socialist who wants to save the world, George Bush is a hardheaded realist, he says, 'I'm not writing blank checks for anyone, not in Africa, not in anywhere.' And so you see this clash of wills and ideologies, and I fear that Tony Blair, despite all the support he's given George Bush in the war on terror, is not to get much out of the American president at the G8 Summit next week.

Robach: You mentioned the close ties between President Bush and Tony Blair when it comes to the war in Iraq, lets talk a little about the Downing St. Memo, how has Blair emerged from that potentially politically destructive memo, given when many are saying, hey, this intelligence was manipulated.

Coughlin: Well what's really interesting Amy, in the U.K., this is not a story, and I come to the United States and it's a firestorm.  And everyone is saying to me, what do you think about the Downing St. Memo. Well, the reality is, that this memo, so far as the U.K. is concerned, just provides an insight into the difficulties Blair had in dealing with Washington during the buildup to the war in Iraq.

I think most Americans know that there was an enormous political battle going on in Washington between Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, the president, and Dick Cheney, all these people were basically trying to get there opinions across. Tony Blair was down on the sidelines and he's trying also too to find out what's going on, he's sending officials over to America, they're reporting back, but what Tony Blair says, he gave an interview yesterday on the subject, he said basically, you're not getting the whole picture, these were just some of the reports I've been getting, they've been taken out of context, and the bottom line is, we did go to the U.N., we did go sit down with chance, and in the spring of 2002, I did not decide to go war. That's really what he's saying.

MSNBC Live with Amy Robach and Randy Meier can be seen weekdays from 9 a.m.-Noon.

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