Thursday, July 29, 2004


Awkward Silences Dominate Rose Garden Visit

As Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry crossed Boston Harbor in
a boat filled with his former Vietnam War comrades, President George W.
Bush attempted to upstage Mr. Kerry by holding a reunion of his Alabama
National Guard unit in the White House Rose Garden.

The former guardsmen arrived at the White House at noon and were
immediately issued "HELLO, MY NAME IS" tags before being reunited with the

"Hi there... Johnny," the President was heard haltingly greeting one of
the veterans before posing with him for a photograph, saying to
another, "Hey, how are you doing... Dan!"

The gathering was marked by a series of increasingly awkward silences
as the guardsmen struggled to summon memories of their training days
with Mr. Bush.

"I'm pretty sure I remember him," said Tracy Conner, 57, of Mobile.
"If I'm not mistaken, he called me late one night and said, 'Sign in for
me tomorrow, willya pal?'"

After the twelve-minute reunion appeared to lose steam, the president
brought the event to a close with a brief prepared statement.

Calling the assembled guardsmen his "band of brothers," Mr. Bush
attempted to draw a sharp contrast between his military service record and
that of Sen. Kerry.

Holding aloft his recently recovered Alabama National Guard payroll
records, "Unlike some people I know, I am proud of my military service -
and I will never throw these records away again."

In other political news, two out of three Kucinich voters say they will
vote for John Kerry, but the other one remains undecided.