President Bush spoke very warmly about Berlusconi's visit, relationships of Italy and U.S., and the contributions of Italian Americans. Berlusconi decided to avoid reading from the script and spoke even more warmly from his heart:
BERLUSCONI: Mr. President, I, too, have a written speech, but you have already said all of the beautiful things I would have liked to say. (Laughter.) So I'm telling you what comes really straight from my heart. I've been honored over these years by the possibility of cooperating with you. I've found in you a man of great ideals, great principles, a man of vision, but in particular, a person who has been able to pursue those visions with firmness.
Never, ever I found, in all of the meetings we had over these years, in you the calculations that sometimes politicians made. I've always found in you the sincerity and the spontaneity of a person who strongly believes in what he does. And it was always easy for me to share your ideas, to share your visions, to be next to you, to stand next to you, because we are always bound by these common love for freedom, love for democracy, respect for the others, and the feeling, this common feeling that we are here just to serve our peoples. And I'm a hundred percent sure and positive that history will tell -- will say that George W. Bush has been a great, very great President of the United States of America. (Applause.)
As someone commented, that's what friends, or amici, are for.
.(Photos by Francesco Isgro)