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Bush Receives Warm Welcome on Last Stop of British Visit - 2003-11-21


President Bush is heading home after a state visit to Britain. His last stop was a low-key visit to British Prime Minister Tony Blair's home district.

After two days of pomp and ceremony in London, President Bush got a look at the small towns and green countryside of Northeastern England.

He spent the final hours of his state visit traveling through Tony Blair's home district. He started with tea at the prime minister's Victorian red-brick house, and then went to lunch at a local pub in Sedgefield, called the Dun Cow Inn.

Mr. Bush also visited a school, in large part, said aides, to showcase education initiatives. Security was tight as he moved about, with police lining the streets where pockets of anti-war protesters mixed with the towns people.

Overall, though, the reception was warm, with residents of Sedgefield, population 5,000 coming out to catch a glimpse of the president, or maybe shake his hand. Among them was 11-year-old Gerald McKinnell.

"Whoever is protesting out there, it is not right, because George Bush is a very nice man," he said.

As he prepared to leave Sedgefield, the president was asked about his reception in Britain, from the pageantry at Buckingham Palace to the protests in the streets, to the serene beauty of Northern England.

"I've had a wonderful trip," the president said. "The prime minister has been a gracious host, as was Her Majesty. It's been a fantastic experience coming to this country."

This will probably be his last foreign trip this year. Since taking office in January 2001, President Bush has made 17 trips abroad, visiting 37 countries.

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