May 06, 2004

Prez pauses to comfort teen

It was a moment lost on most; the media, for the most part, missed it -- they're too wrapped up in trying to pin the Iraqi abuse photos on him.

President Bush, at an appearance near Cincinnati yesterday, paused for a moment and morphed from the "leader of the free world," and became "simply" a father and a man.

As the President walked down a line of supporters and well wishers, he passed Lynn and Ashley Faulkner, and their neighbor, Ashley Prince.

Prince said to him, "This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11."

Bush stopped and turned back.

"He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man," Faulkner said. "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest."

Faulkner snapped one frame with his camera.

"I could hear her say, 'I'm OK,' " he said. "That's more emotion than she has shown in 21/2 years. Then he said, 'I can see you have a father who loves you very much.' "

"And I said, 'I do, Mr. President, but I miss her mother every day.' It was a special moment."

It was obvious to Faulkner that this is a man who truly cares.
"I'm a pretty cynical and jaded guy at this point in my life," Faulkner said of the moment with the president. "But this was the real deal. I was really impressed. It was genuine and from the heart."

"The way he was holding me, with my head against his chest, it felt like he was trying to protect me," Ashley said. "I thought, 'Here is the most powerful guy in the world, and he wants to make sure I'm safe.' I definitely had a couple of tears in my eyes, which is pretty unusual for me."

Now there are those who will continue to assail this guy -- and why? Because they want to blame him for all the ills in the world. Because they didn't get their way four years ago. Because he personifies something they don't like.

Those folks will call this a "convenient photo op."

But it's obvious that it is something more. Otherwise, the networks wouldn't go out of their way not to show it. They don't show it, because it makes him more human, not less. And they want to make him as "inhuman" and "inhumane" as they possibly can.

Posted by mhking at May 6, 2004 09:26 AM

Didn't take long for the "photo op" bashing to start. Democratic Underground has a whole thread on it - about fifty or so disparaging remarks about this poignant moment.

If they don't want to see any goodness in our President, they won't. Nothing will change their views at this point, not even if he creates world peace or finds a cure for cancer.

Posted by: michele at May 7, 2004 06:21 AM

Good piece. As a Briton, Mr Bush comes across to me as essentially a decent man. As a small-govt libertarian-conservative, I have my quarrels with him, but don't doubt his good character. I hope he wins in November.

Don't get me started on the Dem Undergound creeps or Indiemedia et al. That a Republican has ordinary human feelings is a concept they cannot grasp. These folk are just sociopaths. Why did they become so warped? (Perhaps there is a phd thesis in that).

Great blog!

Posted by: Tom at May 7, 2004 08:17 AM

I disagree with many if not most of his policies. And he represents what I consider the most dangerous trend in American politics -- inherited power. (Like the Kennedys, the Senators Dole, President and Senator Clinton, the dowager Senator Carnahan, the junior Senator Gore...) Given a credible rival or even a decent third party candidate I would vote against the Shrub.

But I admire his character. This picture represents, IMO, the apology his opponents have demands. He knows that the attack, and the disaster it presents to the families, happened on his watch, and is his mess to clean up. I think he truly "feels the pain"; would like to kiss it and make it better. Knows he can't, and nobody can. That hug is a two-way thing.

"I'm sorry, baby."

"I know you are, boss. Don't do it again. And go fix it."

Posted by: pouncer at May 7, 2004 09:02 AM

Clinton is mostly to blame for 9/11, but Bush is bearing all responsibility for it. That is as it should be, since in a short 8 months, Bush was unable to undo the damage to the national security apparatus that Clinton did in a long 8 years.
There are many Ashleys to be comforted, and many more to be, in this terrorism war that has been declared by radical muslims against the west.
At least someone in power is willing to take a moment to hold an Ashley.

Posted by: RB at May 7, 2004 11:50 AM

Bleh. Neither Clinton nor Bush is to blame for 9/11. Terrorists are responsible for their own actions. It is as simple as that.

Posted by: Tracey at May 7, 2004 05:09 PM

That picture says it all, doesn't it?

Great blog.


Posted by: Bob Baird at May 7, 2004 11:28 PM

Hmm Tracy, while I partially agree with your argument, I have to admit that had Clinton acted differently, 9-11 would not have happened. And he had several opportunities to stop the attitude and Usama in particular.

It was Clinton that pulled US troops out of Mogadishu, after Black Hawk Down. Thereby giving Usama the idea that America was soft, and a mass casualty in America would cause us to cut and run. His actions in response to the African embassy bombings, the Doha towers (-2sp) in Saudi Arabia, and his refusal to take Usama from the Sudan all contributed greatly to the belief that whacking America was a safe bet.

On one level Tracy, you are right. It is the terrorist who did it. But on another level, they did it because they thought they could get away with it. They had in the past, with almost no consequence. Thanks to Clinton.

Posted by: Ben at May 8, 2004 04:48 AM

One more example that this President says what he means and has a special integrity. Another reason I'm proud of him.

Thank you for this blog, good work, mhk.

(A FReeper)

Posted by: hocndoc at May 8, 2004 06:02 PM

Great blog. Haven't found a single thing I agree with, yet I still haven't had my intelligence insulted. That's a rare combination. :)

I am personally devoted to getting Bush out of office, preferably on a political rail. I consider him a complete disaster in terms of political philosophy and in terms of execution of that philosophy.

But to take that view of his execution of the office he's so clearly unsuited to and assume that makes him completely worthless as a human being, a total fool, sociopath, etc is completely unfair.

And it shows the lack of "nuance" that the left accuses the right of (shrewdly enough, in general.)

No, I think he is in some ways the Republican version of Carter - shoved into office because he was electable, not because it was an intrinsically good idea. (Sigh)

Oh, by the way - I hated the idea of Gore about as much, and the reason I want to see his political scalp nailed to the Trueman balcony is that he did just about everything I was convinced Gore would have had we been so foolish as to elect him. And then went on to commit further errors of expansive big gumment Liberalism.

I was hoping against hope for at least a Nixon and what we got was LBJ, trying to impose a Great Society on the Middle East.

But personally speaking, LBJ was a nice man too.

Albeit a Texan. (Now running for cover....)

Posted by: Bob King at May 9, 2004 11:16 AM
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