This press pool report on President Bush conducting an impromptu review of troops leaving for Iraq is touching. Bush and the departing soldiers were scheduled to be at the Bangor airport at around the same time, and the troop flight hit the gas pedal to arrive in time for President Bush to board their plane. The funny thing is that one of the authors of the article is the appalling Dana Milbank, one of America’s worst, most biased reporters. Still, here is part of what he says:
The soldiers mostly had cameras ready to take snapshots of Bush. Several requested autographs. They called out phrases such as “this is awesome.” The president put a tie and suit jacket on after the rally and walked down one aisle and back up the other, offering gentle smiles and words such as “I’m proud of you” and “thank you.”
As he got to the rear of the plane, Sgt. Wanda Dabbs, 22, of the 230th, called out, “That’s my president, hooah!” and there were cheers. At the end of the handshakes on the packed, hot plane, Bush got on the PA system from the middle galley. “I appreciate being president to such fine men and women. May God bless you all. May God keep you safe.” Potus took the limo the few hundred yards between the two planes.
Brief interviews with a few of the troops: Sgt. Wanda Dabbs, 230th. On president: “This is very exciting.” On the mission: “I’m ready. I’m ready to go ’til the mission is done.” Sgt. Shelly Bivens, 230th, Enthusiastic about mission? “I’m excited to serve our country.” Master Sgt. Johnny Scott, 230th, a postal worker: “It’s unusual, very unusual. It’s pretty cool, a good morale boost.” Sgt. 1st class Bill Freeman, 230th, a steelworker union member with Goodyear tire in Tennessee, “I think he’s the best president of my lifetime. I can guarantee you right now this is the best thing that ever happened to me in my lifetime.”