Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bush Faces Opposition in Pennsylvania

While reading through NPR's website last night, my husband came across an interesting article. Bush was speaking at a Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce meeting and after his speech, he took questions. The first person he called on happened to be an opponent of the war in Iraq. The woman next to him then took off her jacket to reveal a pink shirt that said “George Bush, your war killed my friend’s son." Questions arise about whether he called on him on purpose so he could defend the war. I wonder this because the man and the woman next to him were not arrested or escorted out as is alway the case when someone opposes Bush. Here is the article:
War Opponent Questions Bush
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.
I 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.
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
Intelligencer Journal

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.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Sherry Wolfe, the protestor who wore the t-shirt to a Bush event in Lancaster, Pennsylvania,Oct. 3, 2007.I am responding because it seems there is a theory appearing on a few blogs that I was in collusion with the Bush Camp, that they staged it to polish their image, and I was not really a protestor.Total baloney.I am most definitely real ,and most certainly not working for George Bush's goons. For those wondering if the President saw me wearing the shirt; YES INDEED he was looking right at me as I took off my blazer , then unbuttoned and removed my blouse revealing the t-shirt. I was so close I saw his eyes move up and down reading the words.My friend ,Gerry Beane was sitting next to me and was chosen to ask the first question. I absolutely could not believe it was really happening.I never expected to get in the place, let alone have a question answered.When Bush called on Gerry I was in total shock.(I must say ,I am far,far from a perfect Catholic, barely go to Mass any more,but I have seen the pain and grieving the Adams family is going through, and that morning I kept saying over and over and over " please god, please god,please god, let me get that letter to the president.Just let me get the letter to the President.I don't care if I'm arrested, just PLEASE GOD LET ME GET THE LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT."I am telling you, and you can laugh , but something happened that day that I truly believe was meant to be.The opportunity was
PERFECT, ( I can see why someone might think it was staged,I couldn't believe it was happening myself. I am actually still running on adrenaline, and have barely slept. )So ,as Gerry stood up to talk and the cameras focused and the crowd turned to listen to him...BINGO. After the shirt was exposed I kept my hand on my cell phone ready to hit the number of my attorney, in case I got hauled out of there.( I was actually stunned that I managed to make it through 3 security checkpoints. Even though I had a valid pass, I figured the secret service would scan the guest list and block me ,seeing as I have been involved in many anti-war events. )Well after I made it inside everything unfolded so smoothly it was surreal.I am a member of the Lancaster Coalition for Peace and Justice. We are a small group, but we are VERY organized.A legal team was in place outside, we completely anticipated that once that t-shirt was visible, I would most certainly be removed and arrested.To my knowledge no protestor has ever managed to stay, so I was in shock, on auto pilot when I realized what was occuring. Because Bush had just finished expounding on religion and prayer and forgiveness; telling the crowd "Christian values were his first priority", ( yeah, right ...sure George ... you make a better stand up comedian than President of the United States.) Here's why they refrained from tackling me:It was a very small Town Hall setting.All the seats were in very close proximity to the Pres. I was about 20 feet away from him, in the second row of the left hand bleachers. The Nickel Mines Amish families who lost children in the school house shooting last year,were lined up ,sitting in front row vip seats .We figured he didn't want to look like a hypocrite in front of them, ( even though he is one), and drag a woman out of the room, after trying to impress the crowd with his "good 'ol boy-homespun-regular-heck-of-nice-guy " spin. There was no way they could have discreetly removed me . So, the secret service crowded in a corner near me.But as Gerry was talking they cut his mike and for the duration of the meeting ,WGAL, the local news station did not broadcast video of us or much of the crowd. Just kept the camera on Bush. What a laugh, security had no idea if there were more people planted in the audience.The snooty members of the Chamber of Commerce were seething. Afterwards,as the reporters swamped me, a woman ran up and started ranting and raving, getting in my face, saying we need to be in Iraq. She made a fool of herself.They had been so proud to meet their esteemed dictator .Apparently I had spoiled the lovefest. Just wanted to share these details, but please remember
this action at the Chamber of Commerce Bush Town Hall Meeting was not
about me. The imperative was to hand deliver a letter from a good friend
whose son Brent Adams died under mysterious circumstances in Ramadi
Iraq, Dec.1, 2005. The family has had no co-operation from the military ,and
wants and DESERVES answers, and some measure of closure.
Not only was the letter given to Bush, the White House called the Adams
family 3 hours after the meeting, saying the president had read the letter,and is ordering an
investigation into the death of Brent.
(We will try to make sure he keeps his promise.)
If wearing a t-shirt that most guests attending the meeting considered obnoxious, then
so be it. You do what it takes to get the necessary attention of the
press,hence the attention of the President.
I pray in the future the Adams family finds some peace of mind, if that is even possible. God bless them.

Sherry Wolfe
Lancaster, Pa

MAJ Sterling McMurrin TF222FA said...

SFC Adams was a great example of the courage and dedication afforded to all Americans and those we fight for, by the National Guard. He volunteered, as all National Guard Soldiers have, to support a mission into the city on the day of his death. Not a day goes by that he is not missed. My hart and prayers are with all who were affected by this tragic loss.