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Elvis main topic of news conference

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Washington (Reuters): The president of the United States and prime minister of Japan held a news conference to discuss affairs of state but it was the king of rock 'n' roll who stole the show. US President George W Bush got it rolling after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Referring to the title of an Elvis Presley song, he told reporters waiting to ask questions: '''Don't Be Cruel', keep that in mind.'' Bush, who is set to visit Graceland, the late Presley's home in Memphis, with Koizumi today, said he had given the prime minister a jukebox during their meeting, probably the last before Koizumi leaves office in September.

Koizumi said the first song he will play on the old-fashioned jukebox that plays vinyl 45 r.p.m. records will be Presley's ''I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.'' After the two spoke about topics ranging from North Korea's missile program to the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance, Koizumi wrapped up the news conference, suddenly switching to English. ''Thank you very much, American people, for 'Love Me Tender'.'' Most of the questions from the US media were about yesterday's US Supreme Court ruling declaring Bush's Guantanamo Bay military tribunals illegal. As one Japanese diplomat put it: ''It started with 'Don't Be Cruel', finished with 'Love Me Tender' and in the middle was 'Jailhouse Rock.''' In dinner remarks, Bush likened Koizumi to a famous visitor to the White House in 1970.

''Like you, he had great hair. Like you, he was known to sing in public. Like you, he won admirers in countries far from home. That man was Elvis,'' Bush said. In a nod to another passion they share, Koizumi gave Bush a ''giant portrait'' of Babe Ruth in Japan and a contemporary ink drawing of the baseball legend, said White House spokesman Tony Snow.

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