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Why Wasn't George W. Bush at the 9/11 Museum Dedication?

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  We go to Queens.  This is Marie.  Thank you for calling.  It's great to have you here.  Hi.

CALLER:  Yes.  Rush, I listened this morning to the dedication of the memorial. It was very big, very beautiful, but as I told Mr. Snerdley, "Where the hell was President Bush? Why wasn't his name even mentioned?"

RUSH:  You know, I didn't have the sound up when I watched that, not much of it.  I had it on TV.

CALLER:  Well, his name wasn't mentioned. He wasn't there, that's for sure.  But his name wasn't even mentioned.

RUSH:  This is the 911 Museum, right?

CALLER:  Yes.

RUSH:  The dedication to the museum?  Well, I saw Governor Cuomo there.

CALLER:  He should have been the first person to speak, or at least his name mentioned.  I'm very upset.  I lost a son there.

RUSH:  I have to say, she's got a point here.  I have to say, you've got a point, Marie.  Here's who I saw.  I saw Mayor Doomberg, I saw Mayor de Blasio, I saw Governor Cuomo, but you're right.  I didn't hear anything.  Did they mention him?

CALLER:  You saw everybody but President Bush. Even his name wasn't mentioned.

RUSH:  Well, now, you say the event was not political.  Did you...?

CALLER:  It wasn't political? (scoffs) All the other guys are there.

RUSH:  Well, I want to ask you about it not being political.  You say it was not supposed to be political.

CALLER: It wasn't!

RUSH:  But when you were watching, nobody made any political comments? You didn't get any political vibe from it when you were watching it?

CALLER:  I cried.  That's all I did. I went teary. I said, "Where the hell...? Why isn't President Bush's name even mentioned? It's like he didn't exist."

RUSH:  It's an interesting point.

CALLER:  I -- I -- I... Maybe I'm crazy!  Maybe it's me; I don't know.

RUSH:  (interruption) Yeah, I heard. She lost her son on 9/11.

CALLER:  Yes, I did.  He was a fireman.

RUSH:  And that's why you...?

CALLER:  And I'm all upset because of it.

RUSH:  Don't misunderstand.  I'm just trying to learn how you think here.  Why were you...? Were you expecting to hear President Bush's name mentioned, and why?

CALLER:  Well, I thought he'd be there.  I don't... Everybody else was there! Everybody concerned with that day was there.  Giuliani, you name it.

RUSH:  Well, his office put out a statement, Marie, that he was invited to the dedication of the museum --

CALLER:  Yeah?

RUSH: -- but that he had a scheduling conflict and couldn't make it.

CALLER:  Well, I really don't believe that. (laughs)

RUSH:  Well, but it's his office that is saying that.

CALLER:  Yes, I know.

RUSH:  Well, Marie, I appreciate the call.  Thanks. You know, people that lost family and loved ones 9/11, I know a couple. The term "closure"? There still isn't any for a lot of people, and there may not be for a while.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  We've been doing a little investigating.  We had a caller from Queens earlier by the name of Marie upset that George W. Bush name not mentioned at the dedication today of the 9/11 Museum.  She was also upset that he wasn't there. She thought that he should be mentioned, thought that he should be there.  The president's office issued a statement saying that they were invited and had a scheduling conflict.

And one of the former president's spokesmen, a guy by the name of Sherzer, said that the president "has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight."  That's David Sherzer. He added that Bush "continues to celebrate with all Americans this important victory in the War on Terror."  Here's an excerpt from the statement that the office released:

"The 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City will preserve the memory of that day for future generations. It will honor the sacrifice of those who lost their lives and the bravery of those who saved others. And it will help ensure that our nation remembers the lessons of September 11th: that what happens abroad can affect us here at home, that evil is real, and that courage and love triumph over terror and hate."

Hmm.  That's a good lesson.  It doesn't surprise me that President Bush would not show up, given the statement of David Sherzer. He's chosen, in his post-presidency, to remain largely out of the spotlight.  I can't tell you the number of times -- and I was fortunate to be invited to the White House a few times.  I spent a lot of time with President Bush, for just an average citizen, and I asked him about this a lot.

"Why don't you respond to some of this? Some of this criticism is not just affecting you. It's affecting all the people that vote for you and supported you." And every time I asked him, he said a variation on the theme that he had such reverence for the office, that he was not going to diminish it by taking it political.  He wasn't going to go where his critics were, be it the gutter or wherever. 

He viewed it to be beneath the office.  All of his critics were beneath the office.  He wasn't gonna go there.  And the one thing that you can say about George W. Bush is that he's well mannered.  He was well raised.  And there are some traditions and protocols that he's just not gonna violate, and one of them is when you leave office, you're gone.  You don't stay public.  You don't continue to try to influence things. 

This is what he believes.  He believes that's the right thing to do, and I firmly believe that's why (besides the "scheduling conflict"), he thought it best not to go.  His time has come and passed in terms of being president.  Now, contrast that with Bill Clinton who still can't get over the fact that he's not there, meaning in the White House, and desperately wants to get back. 

And I believe... When I heard that Barack Obama plans to live in Washington after his term of office expires -- if it does (ahem) -- that told me a lot.  No president stays in town.  They all decamp. They all leave. They go back somewhere.  But Obama is gonna stay there, and there's one reason why.  He's not going to sit quietly by... Let's say there's a Republican elected president. 

He's not gonna sit quietly by and let whatever he thinks he's accomplished be unraveled. He's gonna be speaking up often about what he disagrees with, and he knows he's gonna have the media in his back pocket.  And that is what Bush refuses to do.  He will not do it.  It's kind of frustrating in a way.  He will not do it.  He will not offer one word of criticism for any president.  Not Clinton. Not Obama. 

He simply will not insert himself into these affairs.  Even if achievements he thinks that he was responsible for are attacked and unraveled, he won't do it, because of his view of the office and the protocols and the traditions, and being well-mannered.  That's all part of it.  So that statement doesn't really surprise me.  It frustrates a lot of people, as it did our first caller, Marie from Queens.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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