OTTAWA -- Brian Mulroney admits he is jealous of George Bush's sensational ratings in the popularity polls.
Canada's role in the Persian Gulf war has not brought the political benefits to its prime minister that President Bush has enjoyed in the United States.
In fact, polls here show that Mr. Mulroney, dragged down by the constitutional crisis over the separatist drive in Quebec, still draws numbers nearly opposite that of Mr. Bush -- in the teens compared to the president's whopping 91 percent in some polls.
"Because of our close relationship . . . I know the president will want to pool his ratings with me," Mr. Mulroney quipped during a ceremony yesterday. "We can add them, George, divide by two, and we'd both be popular."
Toward that end, the prime minister made a game effort yesterday at basking in Mr. Bush's reflective glow. He devoted most of his public remarks to praising Mr. Bush's leadership.
Mr. Mulroney also noted that he had consulted and offered advice to Mr. Bush.
Their remarks were interrupted by the ringing of a phone on the platform. Mr. Mulroney let it go twice, then announced, "That's Gallup calling, Mr. President."
After a moment, Mr. Mulroney confided, "I expected a push, but not this fast."