Archive for Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Guest column: Bush impressive during visit

February 1, 2006

Kansas State University was privileged to have President Bush deliver a speech, and I was lucky enough to get a ticket.

It wasn't announced until the Wednesday before the speech, and they gave out tickets at noon on Thursday.

I got to the stadium at 10:30a.m., and there were already over 1,300 people in line. By the time noon rolled around, the line stretched out for close to a mile.

After my second class on Monday, Jan. 23, I headed for Bramlage Coliseum. There were security guys everywhere, and we were not allowed to carry anything into the building.

The line to get in was very long, and it took a long time to pass through security checks.

There were a few protesters, but they were fenced in over on the grass and were not very annoying.

After a long wait, and a few "waves" passing through the crowd, President Bush was introduced. He was presented with a KSU football jersey, #43.

The main theme of his speech centered on decision-making, (a subject many college students try to avoid), and why he has made some of the decisions that he has.

It was very good to hear the president speak for himself, instead of getting fed sound bytes selected by the news media.

He's not a bad speaker either. I, personally, respect him a lot more having listened to him in person; he really talked to us.

President Bush talked about terrorists, economics, Social Security, and his wife, Laura, during the couple of hours he had the floor. After his prepared speech, there was a Q&A time and he answered a lot of questions.

One of the soldiers from Fort Riley asked him how he deals with personal attacks on his character. The president said that what keeps him going are his faith, family and friends. I thought that was pretty cool.

He also mentioned that exercise is very important to keeping up with his schedule and demands of his job, and he likes to ride his mountain bike. (Yes! So do I !)

Overall, it was a great experience, capped off by watching the four huge helicopters that accompanied the Air Force One helicopter lift off from the practice field.

And a little known fact about the president was revealed that day: The "W" in George W. Bush stands for "Wildcat"!

-- Mark Smelser, McLouth, is a junior at Kansas State University.

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