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Remarks by President George W. Bush at Town Hall Meeting 


CNN Transcripts (excerpts),  4 December 2001 

Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG),  globalresearch.ca,  12 December 2001

Orlando, Florida  

PRESIDENT BUSH: (Cheers, applause.) Thank you all very much. (Continued cheers, applause.) Thank you all! Thank you all very much. (Continued cheers, applause.) Thank you very much. Please be seated. (Continued cheers.) Okay.

Well, thank you all very much. It's -- I'm really happy --


PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm really happy to visit Florida. (Cheers, applause.) The weather's beautiful. (Cheers.) There's a lot of interesting things to do here. (Laughter.) I recommend people from outside of Florida to come and take a look at Florida. (Cheers, applause.) It's a nice place to visit, and a great place to live. One reason why is 'cause you've got a great governor. (Cheers, applause.) I'm not very objective! (Laughter.)


PRESIDENT BUSH: Hi, Patricia. How are you?

How old is Patricia?

Q Five, and Jordan's in third grade. And Jordan has the question, if I could give him the microphone.

PRESIDENT BUSH: You bet. That's -- your mother's relaying the mike to you, Jordan.

Q One thing, Mr. President, is that you have no idea how much you've done for this country. And another thing is that -- how did you feel when you heard about the terrorist attack?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well -- (applause) -- thank you, Jordan.

Well, Jordan, you're not going to believe where -- what state I was in when I heard about the terrorist attack. I was in Florida. And my chief of staff, Andy Card -- well, actually I was in a classroom, talking about a reading program that works. And it -- I was sitting outside the -- the classroom, waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower of a -- of a -- you know, the TV was obviously on, and I -- I used to fly myself, and I said, "Well, there's one terrible pilot." And I said it must have been a horrible accident.

But I was whisked off there; I didn't have much time to think about it. And I was sitting in the classroom, and Andy Card, my chief of staff, who is sitting over here, walked in and said, "A second plane has hit the tower. America's under attack."

And Jordan, I wasn't sure what to think at first. You know, I grew up in a -- a period of time where the idea of America being under attack never entered my mind, just like your daddy and mother's mind, probably.

And I started thinking hard, in that very brief period of time, about what it meant to be under attack. I knew that when I got all the facts, if we were under attack, there would be hell to pay for attacking America. (Applause, cheers.)I tried to get as many facts as I could, Jordan, to make sure I knew, as I was making decisions, there were -- that I knew exactly what I was basing my decisions on. I've got a fabulous team. A president can't possibly be president without a good team. Starts with having a great wife, by the way. (Applause.)

And so I got on the phone from Air Force One asking to find out the facts. You've got to understand, Jordan, during this period of time, there were all kinds of rumors floating around. Some of them were erroneous. Obviously, we -- for example, there was a news report saying that the State Department had been attacked. I needed to know what the facts were. But I knew I needed to act. I knew that if the nation's under attack, the role of the commander-in-chief is to respond forcefully to prevent other attacks from happening. And so I talked to the secretary of Defense, and one of the first acts I did was put our military on alert.

An interesting thing happened shortly thereafter. Condoleezza Rice, who was not with me but was with the vice president because they were in the White House compound, called me on Air Force One after that and said she'd gotten a call from Russia, from Vladimir Putin, who understood why we were putting our troops on alert and therefore wasn't going to respond. That was an important phone call, because when I was coming up -- and a lot of other older-looking people here were coming up with me -- (laughter) -- that would never have happened in the past. A alert by the United States would have caused Russia to go on alert, which would have created a -- complicated the situation. But that wasn't the case.

By the way, we're heading into a new era. One of the positive things that come out of the evil was we're reassessing relationships in order to make the world more peaceful. I believe it's important for us to have positive relations with our former enemy, and to rethink the defenses of the United States of America. (Applause.)

At any rate, I knew I had a job to do. And I was quoted in the press the other day as saying I haven't regretted one thing I've decided, and that's the truth. Every decision I made I stand by, and I'm proud of the decisions I made. (Applause, cheers.)

Q Mr. President, peace and blessings be unto you.

I'm representing the Muslim community of Orlando.

And I would really like to thank you for being such a great role model, practicing what this country believes in, the high ideals that this country believes in. Your support for the Muslim community in combatting racism. I am an educator, I am a mother, and I have a strong faith. Thank you so much for holding these values high and trying to wipe the stereotypes that the Taliban has represented of Muslim women. I am an educator educating Muslim children in this Orlando city.

Thank you very much.

PRESIDENT BUSH: God bless. Thank you. (Applause.)

Listen, I -- I've got a job to do. (Laughter.) I gotta get back to my temporary home. By the way, my address is in Washington; my home is going to be back in Texas one of these days. But I am -- I am -- (scattered applause) -- I have got to go back. I wish I could stay and answer questions all night, but I've got -- I'll be right there, ma'am. He's fine. I -- I've got to get back and go to work.

I can't tell you what an honor it is to have been here. I want to thank you all for your great questions and for your incredibly warm reception. It's a huge honor to be the greatest -- to be the president of the greatest country in the world.

God bless you all. And may God bless America. (Cheers, applause.)


LOAD-DATE: December 5, 2001


Copyright,  W     2001. For fair use only

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