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US President George W Bush has denounced "misinformation and propaganda" which he says are sullying his country's image abroad.
On a visit to Italy, he told young entrepreneurs on an exchange programme that going to the US would show them it was compassionate and open.
Mr Bush will later hold talks in Rome with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The two leaders are expected to discuss further sanctions against Iran, and the role of Italian troops in Afghanistan.
As Air Force One touched down, hundreds were gathering in the city centre in protest at the Bush administration and Italy's involvement in Afghanistan.
Another group of demonstrators chanted "Bush, go home" outside the American Academy in Rome's Villa Aurelia while the president met young entrepreneurs inside.
Mr Bush urged them to ignore the "misinformation and propaganda" spread about his country and to learn the "first-hand truth about America" by visiting.