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Elder Bush Speaks - 2001-10-30


Former President Bush says his son, current President George W. Bush, is doing a good job leading the country's anti-terrorism campaign. The elder Bush was in Chicago Monday, and said he is confident the international coalition assisting Washington's efforts will hold together.

The elder George Bush did some coalition-building of his own ten years ago when the United States led an effort to liberate Kuwait from an Iraqi military occupation.

At the reopening of the Sears Tower observation deck in Chicago Monday, former President Bush said the situation is different today, but he is confident the coalition working with the United States to fight terrorists and their supporters will hold together. He also made it clear he did not want to comment on his son's efforts directly, other than to say George W. Bush is doing a good job.

"If I said something that deviated from what the president is trying to do," he said, "they [administration officials] would understandably say, 'Here is what your nutty old man said up in Chicago,' and I am not going to get into all of that."

The former president did have high praise for the American people for their reaction to the September 11 terrorist attacks. More than $1 billion has been raised for relief recovery efforts, and recent public opinion polls suggest national pride and faith in government are the highest they have been in decades.

"It is indicative of the resilient spirit of our people that out of this horror something good and decent has happened," he said. "Our nation, all 280 million of us, has come together unlike any time I have seen since, certainly, World War II and for a while at the end of Desert Storm."

But Mr. Bush points out that, unlike the Desert Storm campaign to liberate Kuwait, the war against terrorism will not be a short one. "We have been told we have to remain resolute," he said. "We have to stand prepared for a long struggle. It is my hope that the American people will recognize that we are in this for the long haul." Mr. Bush says the current President Bush is blessed with a strong team in Washington and supportive parents.

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