|Bush still a puzzle over a year-and-a-half (now over 2-years) later
The unanswered questions.net analysis is wrong.
Bush continues to read
about goats for the next 20 minutes or so. The reason given is that they didn't want to scare the children.
I think it is important to be as precise as possible. Bush doesn't continue to read for the next 20 minutes or
so. Bush remains in the second-grade classroom for 6 minutes longer, and until the children complete their lesson,
according to Bill Sammon in his book, Fighting Back
He isn't as clear about the times in his series, Suddenly, a time to lead
By Bill Sammon
Sammon was one of the reporters actually in the same room at the same time as President George W. Bush.
SPTimes/NY Times clearly states length of time Bush stayed in the classroom.
Bush has not said why he lingered in
the room for another six minutes, but it was a testament to either his calm or his acting ability. At 9:12,
he abruptly retreated, speaking to Cheney and New York officials.
Robert Plunket: Linda described to Rebecca and me what had happened next.
Mr. Bush absorbed the news without changing his expression. For the next six minutes he let the second graders and their reading
lesson proceed. He seemed to be going in and out of focus. At one moment he would listen carefully and smile at the kids,
then a faraway look would come into his eyes as he stared out into the distance, the horrible implications of what he had
just heard going through his mind. Finally the kids put away their readers. As the President complimented them, aides descended
on him. A reporter called out a question about the attacks. The President held up his hand. "Well talk about that later,"
he said, not wanting to alarm the children.
Someone from the school board announced that the President would be making
a short statement. An eerie silence descended over the room for several minutes as we all waited.
Mr. Bush entered
looking grim and carrying several sheets of white paper. He made his now-famous remarks, which were brief and to the point,
the only jarring note being his pledge to track down the "folks" responsible. I can only surmise that in moments of stress
he reverts to the idiom of his Texas homeland. Then he grabbed his papers, hurriedly shook hands with Frank Brogan, Wilma
Hamilton, several of the teachers, and was gone.
It is odd that Bush continued to let the children read when he could have easily excused himself and entered an
adjacent room. That room was already set up with secure phone
specially for the use of the President, per so-called routine security. In fact, Bush had already used that phone
to speak with Con Rice about the first plane crash. And he spoke to her before he even went into the second grade classroom.
So of course, his continuing to sit there after Card whispered America is under attack is highly puzzling. But, it
was after all, 6 minutes. He then went into the adjacent room, where now a TV was set up for him
and he made notes for his speech and spoke to Cheney. We may never be told
what Bush was told during this time period. At 9:30 a.m. exactly, Bush gave brief remarks to an audience that had already
been gathered there in the library for 2 hours to hear him speak about his education program. That lasted 1-minute, exactly.
So Bush was out of the school on his way to Air Force One at 9:31 a.m. In the car on the way to the airport nearby, he then
reportedly gave the order to ground all planes. It's unclear when he gave an order to have errant planes shot down. Some reports
say he gave that order after talking to Cheney on phone aboard Air Force One.
Did anybody see this firsthand,
or know of a tape of this is located on the web?
At 11:45, the plane landed
at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La., an intermediate stop. A White House official asked the small pool of reporters
in the back of the plane to keep their cell phones shut off because the signals could allow someone to identify the plane's
Bush appeared before the reporters for just two minutes, declaring, "Freedom itself was attacked this
morning by a faceless coward."
But he looked nervous, and the tape of the appearance was jumpy and grainy. "It was
not our best moment," one administration official conceded.
Bush may have thought so too; he told his aides: "I want
to go back home as soon as possible. I don't want whoever this is holding me outside of Washington."
The tape was jumpy and grainy? Why?