The transition of power to Gordon Brown--slated to take over as British prime minister on June 27--should not affect the close US-UK relationship, outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair told reporters in a Rose Garden press conference with President Bush on Thursday.
"I believe that we will remain a staunch and steadfast ally in the fight against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere," adding later that, "I believe (Gordon Brown will) make a great Prime Minister. And I know he believes in the relationship with America, too."
As Blair explained," It's not about us remaining true to the course that we've set out because of the alliance with America. It is about us remaining steadfast because what we are fighting."
Tony Blair has been under intense criticism for his close relationship with the United States, and it has become a pervasive belief that his support of the US strategy in Iraq led to the demise of his political career.
When asked by a British journalist if he believes himself partly to blame for Blair stepping down from his position as prime minister, the President first joked, "I haven't polled the Labour conference, but could be," before hedging his answer, "The question is, am I to blame for his leaving? I don't know."