Blair Bids Farewell

President Bush's long time ally began his farewell tour. Prime Minister Tony Blair announced last week he will step down on June 27, 2007.

The step-down will end a decade-long premiership that has partly been defined by his close relationship with Bush and the United States.

Blair came to Washington to say a personal goodbye, because next month he prepares to end 10 years in office. Under his leadership, Britain has been America's strongest ally, which the president noted when the prime minister last visited the White House in December 2006.

"Britain and America are old allies and the prime minister and I are strong friends," Bush said.

That strong friendship and Blair's continuing support for the Iraq War cost Blair much of his political capital and will largely define his legacy.

"Hand on my heart, I did what I thought was right," Blair said.

British Treasury Chief Gordon Brown will become Britain’s next prime minister. Brown is not expected to have the same closeness with the White House.

"He may feel it necessary to distance himself a little bit from Washington for presentational purposes, so as not to become poodle number two, to Blair's poodle number one," said Dale Brown, European Political Analyst.

Brown has also said he will honor his country's commitments in Iraq, but he is also determined to win back public support for his Labor party, which could make Britain a much less reliable ally.

"One of my first acts as prime minister would be to restore power to Parliament in order to build the trust of the British people in our democracy," Brown said.

Bush and Blair have been talking this morning about a wide range of issues, which include Iraq, climate change and trade.
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