Bush: I Can't Read Hu's Mind

President Bush said that though he addresses a "full range" of issues whenever he meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao, he can't "read his mind."

Bush made the remark when asked by NBC's Bob Costas Monday whether he talks about Americans' human rights concerns with the Chinese leader. Bush said that "it's hard to tell" whether Hu is receptive.

"All I can tell you is, is that it is best to be in the position where a leader will listen to you. I went to church here, and I'm sure the cynics say, well, you know, it was just a state-sponsored church," Bush said.

He added: "On the other hand, it gave me a chance to say to the Chinese people, religion won't hurt you, you ought to welcome religious people. And it gave me a chance to say to the government, why don't you register the underground churches and give them a chance to flourish? And he listened politely. I can't read his mind, but I do know that every time I met with him I pressed the point."

Bush said that it's better for future U.S. presidents to remain engaged with China "and understand that we can have a cooperative and constructive, yet candid relationship."

Responding to a question about the conflict between Russia and Georgia, Bush said that he has spoken to both Russian leaders who attended the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies.

"I said this violence is unacceptable -- I not only said it to [Prime Minister] Vladimir Putin, I've said it to the president of the country, Dmitriy Medvedev," Bush said. "And my administration has been engaged with both sides in this, trying to get a cease-fire, and saying that the status quo ante for all troops should be August 6th. And, look, I expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn bombing outside of South Ossetia."

"It was just interesting to me that here we are trying to promote peace and harmony and we're witnessing a conflict take place," Bush said.