War Opponent Questions BushI tried to find a video of it but I only found one on a Lancaster newspaper site and they cut out his question but showed the answer and also showed other questions. But if you want to get annoyed, here is the link: Bush speaks to Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry at Jay Group Inc.
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg
WEST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Coincidence?
President Bush’s public appearances are usually polite affairs, held before friendly audiences. But when Mr. Bush appeared at a town-hall style meeting before a Chamber of Commerce group here in the Pennsylvania Dutch country today, the first question was hardly a softball.
It came from Gerry Beane, a 59-year-old real estate agent and opponent of the war in Iraq, who began by telling Mr. Bush he really appreciated that the president did not “govern by opinion polls.’’ Still, Mr. Beane went on, “We have reached a point in our political process where almost three quarters of American citizens’’ oppose the war. And so, he said, “I was hoping that I could say to you, man to man, and taxpayer to president, we need to cut back the amount of money we spend on Iraq. We need to bring our soldiers home.’’
The crowd was hushed – seemingly shocked – as a woman next to Mr. Beane quietly took off her jacket to reveal a pink shirt that said, “George Bush, your war killed my friend’s son.’’ Mr. Bush appeared not to notice, and went on to defend his policies, saying that he does intend to bring 5,700 troops home by Christmas, and that, “If I didn’t think the mission was necessary for our security, I wouldn’t have our troops there.’’
The president’s lengthy defense of the war brought hearty applause from the crowd. But it also raised a few eyebrows. Mr. Beane, as it turned out, had been quoted in the local newspaper before Mr. Bush arrived. He was the first person in line to get tickets to the town hall event, and he told his interviewer he hoped to ask Mr. Bush about the war. Is it possible the White House hand-picked him, to give Mr. Bush a platform to make his case?
The White House says it does not screen its questioners. “Absolutely not, must be a coincidence,’’ said Tony Fratto, the deputy press secretary. “We definitely do not do that.’’
So how was it, that out of the 400 people who attended the event, the president called on Mr. Beane first? Mr. Beane says he nodded his head vigorously as the president spoke, hoping Mr. Bush would think he was calling on someone who agreed with him. Conspiracy or coincidence? Coincidence, he says.
“I’m a lucky man,’’ he said.
Additionally I found a pic of the woman. I lifted it from the Lancaster Online website.
An article in the same Lancaster Online journal gave local people's opinions of Bush and the event:
Bush impresses many, but not all
By PATRICK BURNS, Staff
Published: Oct 04, 2007 2:29 AM EST
LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. - Jane Johnson of Strasburg arrived at Bush's town hall-style meeting Wednesday in full Bush-Cheney regalia in a Honda Accord flying a trio of American flags.
Johnson was one of the few people lucky enough to obtain a ticket to see the president at The Jay Group offices in West Hempfield Township.
"I am so thankful that he has protected us here since 9/11," Johnson said.
Bush's plan was to talk about the importance of low taxes, the "proper relationship" between government and small business risk-takers, and his veto of a proposed expansion of SCHIP, a health insurance program for low-income children, but he veered off to touch on nearly every hot-button issue of the day.
Johnson, who lost a brother in the Korean War and has a nephew serving in Iraq, was unable to speak to Bush, who took about a dozen questions from the audience. She had hoped to publicly detail "a list this long of things he's accomplished," Johnson said while stretching her arms wide.
"I see a window opening up in Iraq, and the No Child Left Behind (Act) is getting good results," Johnson said as her late brother's dog tags dangled around her neck.
Mike Brubaker, a farmer from Mount Joy, said the president gave excellent explanations of why our troops are in Iraq and why he is committed to his economic and immigration policies.
"He had common-sense answers to a lot of questions that verified my belief that he is a good leader," Brubaker said. "He listens to his advisors and uses that advice for the practical purposes of running the country."
Liz Martin of Millersville was impressed with Bush's humble and sometimes spiritual tone.
She was touched by the president's mention of the West Nickel Mines tragedy. Bush said his "soul and spirits were lifted" by the Amish community's compassion and forgiveness toward the family of Charles Carl Roberts IV, who fired 18 shots in an Amish schoolhouse a year ago Tuesday, killing five girls and seriously wounding five more.
"Whether you agree with his policies or not, he truly has a passion for what he does, and you have to appreciate that," Martin said.
Martin, who owns an insurance agency in Millersville, said Bush also impressed her by maintaining control even when confronted with tough questions. He occasionally used self-deprecating humor, calling himself a "C student" and responded to another query: "Good question. I would have never thought of that."
"He didn't criticize anyone for their questions, and he got some pretty tough ones," Martin said. "I really like the fact that he thanked people for asking questions even if they were controversial or challenging to him."
Sherry Wolfe of Lancaster viewed the president differently. Wolfe wanted to challenge the president and had an aide present a letter to him during the meeting.
He didn't read the letter, but Wolfe was able to manage what many others have not: a visual protest in the president's presence.
During the question-and-answer segment, Wolfe removed her jacket to reveal a message on her shirt: "George Bush, your war killed my friend's son." The back said, "Brent Adams killed Dec. 1, 2005, Ramadi, Iraq."
Wolfe doffed her jacket quietly, and there was no visible reaction from the president or the audience.
Wolfe, who said she was the first in line at 4 a.m. for the 11:40 a.m. meeting, said she attended on behalf of Bill Adams of Millersville, who questioned the official account of his son's death.
Sgt. 1st Class Brent Adams was assigned to the Army National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, based in Washington, Pa.
According to Department of Defense records, Adams died when an improvised explosive device detonated near his 5-ton military truck during combat operations. However, Wolfe said military officials offered conflicting details about the day Adams was killed.
"The (Adamses) were told there was no violence in Ramadi that day. There was. They were told the official report said there was no one was killed in Ramadi, but his son was. (Adams) wants these questions answered," Wolfe said.
I also found this video about the protest in Lancaster County, PA prior to Bush's arrival.