A White House spokesman denied that President George W. Bush's visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln was a costly political stunt that delayed the aircraft carrier's arrival home. Bush is seen speaking to crew aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1.
Howard Rosenberg comments: Light the flame, the moths will come. As they have since the invention of media stunts, even those less bold and imaginative than this one ... The president's message: Major combat in Iraq had ended. Which is what the White House had advised the media a day earlier that he would say. And also what Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had declared in Afghanistan hours earlier. Which meant there was no real need to repeat it -- except for dramatic effect in front of cameras -- and that doing so would not constitute news. Except that Bush would be the rare president to make a speech on a moving aircraft carrier, and to boot, a carrier returning to an emotional welcome in San Diego after active duty in the war on Iraq. To say nothing of a president arriving in the co-pilot seat of a Navy jet and debarking for cameras in a green flight suit. A former pilot in the reserves, he reportedly had even taken the stick himself. Get out! It was brilliant. So brilliant that a day later CNN's Carol Costello had upped Bush to "commander in chief of the free world," which must have been news to rest of the free world.
Gavin Kirk says: I saw a guy having some fun after what must have been 3 hellish months of tension as he navigated our country through war. My initial reaction was not all that different from yours, but as I saw him eagerly walk the flight deck shaking hands and having his photo taken I saw a smile on him that I had not seen for a while. That made me feel good.
Ben's opinion: It also should be remembered that Bush ate on the Mess decks and not in the wardroom. Meaning he ate with the enlisted folks, and got to chat and shake hands and pose for pics with them, thank them personally. The problem with the punditry is they thought the President was speaking to them, or "to the American People" He wasn't. He was saying thanks to the officers and crews, the soldiers, sailors, airman and Marines. (He was also sending a message to the mad mullahs in Iran, and Assad Jr. in Syria too )