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Vladimir And George

This column was written by CBS Early News co-anchorHarry Smith.

Russia's Vladimir Putin is spending some time with the Bush family in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The current President Bush once said of Putin, back in 2001, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be straightforward and trustworthy; I was able to get a sense of his soul."

Well, the soul man has come for dinner, and I have to wonder how something like this goes. Is President Bush looking at this guy over lobster roll, thinking he's Dr. Evil? Putin has a little more of a track record than he did six years ago and, among other things, we know what he does to free speech: He silences it. He has reporters who disagree with him killed. And, to former satellites that have fallen too far out of orbit, he shuts off the gas in the middle of sub-zero winters.

Do former spies play golf? What happens if you don't catch any fish? When the wall came down in 1989, what did we think Russia was going to turn into? Canada? Yeah, Canada ... with a bad attitude.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith

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