On the Plane

Bush Not Known for Being a Tourist

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania -- President Bush is not known for being much of a tourist. He likes to race through even the most extraordinary corners of the world as quickly as possible -- he skipped the Taj Mahal in India, powered through the Kremlin cathedrals in seven minutes flat and turned around to go when brought to the Great Wall of China until Laura Bush made him linger a while longer.

So it should come as no surprise that as the president hits five countries in six days, he is not taking time out for a safari. After all, the last time he tried that, during a 2003 visit to Botswana, he got quite an eyeful when right in front of the first family a pair of elephants started, um, trying to make little elephants.

"There was one wild young elephant," the first lady recalled Sunday.

But she said she plans to come back to Africa at least for another journey into the wild after leaving the White House next January. "We'll come back for sure," she told reporters. "I know we will -- I mean, I will."

She disclosed that the president has made some commitments to their daughters that she seemed to doubt. "Barbara and Jenna say their dad promised them that they would go on a big safari," she said.

Then she added sardonically, "This is [like] the promise that he made to take them to the Grand Canyon camping too."

Just guessing here, but it sounds like the twins have never made it to the Grand Canyon, at least not with dad.

--Peter Baker

By washingtonpost.com |  February 17, 2008; 3:46 PM ET  | Trip:  Bush in Africa, Feb. 2008
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Maybe I am not clicking properly. I expected a lot of good natured ribbing, but I find no comments? Ms. Bush seems like a nice lady with normal interests. Why did she marry this guy? What was she thinking? I wonder what her parents thought? Maybe she and the girls can have some fun NEXT year.

Posted by: Larry Oswald | February 17, 2008 4:54 PM

it's amazing how un-curious the guy is.

Posted by: jeff | February 17, 2008 5:03 PM

Typical. I have read several biographies of Bush, and they all agree that he just loves Texas too much to show the slightest interest in anything outside it, even if it's still in the United States (as seen by his obscene time spent in Crawford's "western White House". I sure as hell didn't vote to move the seat of executive power to some redneck Texas ranch). The rest of the world may as well not exist. Odd for a silver-spoon Northeastern elite to be playing cowboy. Oh well, I'm just hoping for the same thing I think a lot of people are; that he just refrains from doing any more damage prior to his exit in January.

Posted by: jasonda | February 17, 2008 5:06 PM

Of course if he did take time out for sightseeing or a safari then everyone would be on his ass for wasting time taking a vacation.

I don't like the guy as President, but let's be real here. This article is dumb.

Posted by: Michael | February 17, 2008 7:51 PM

Terroriest Yes...Tourist No.

Posted by: 1-20-09 | February 17, 2008 8:06 PM

No, this isn't a dumb article. Bush lacks a sense of inquisitiveness and curiosity that I want my leader to have. His worldview is parochial and phobic. He's missing any sense of wonder.

Posted by: DFC | February 17, 2008 8:15 PM

Jr.'s bulb is too dim to understand the history he gets to see on our nickel and his ADD brain and lack on interest is an embarrassment on the USA. But calling George a moron, or idiot would be an insult to morons and idiots he is worse than that he is a self-centered egotist that thinks the heavens revolve around him. He is a loser

Posted by: Paul | February 17, 2008 8:51 PM

Maybe Bush's predecessor could have been a little less curious about the underage interns in his White House.
You idiots all have Bush-Derangement Syndrome. You will long for the Bush 43 years when we get a witless moron like B. Hussein Obama in the Oval Office.

Posted by: Robin Bertsch | February 17, 2008 8:53 PM

Wow, I still can't believe that there are people out there who actually still support that idiot!! Unless your getting paid to be his mouthpiece?? If you think anyone will long for Bush, you should wake up from your nighmare sooner than later!!

Posted by: John | February 17, 2008 9:32 PM

Well, John, 30%+ of the country have IQs above room temperature. We are the one's who support him and realize we have not been attacked since 9/11 for a reason. You and your ilk long for a Socialist appeaser like Mrs. Bill Clinton or B. Hussein Obama.
Incidentally, macro-economic statistics during this decade are actually better than they were during the 90s. So aside from not surrendering to our enemies every time we were attacked here or abroad, this president also presided over a more robust economy than the pathetic nihilistic idiot who was president in the 90s.

Posted by: Robin Bertsch | February 17, 2008 9:49 PM

Must... Push... Away... All that could threaten the bubble...

It's easier to live in a self-invented lala land if you don't look around you too closely.

As for the Bush's marriage, well they've held it together, that's something good. Not easy I'm sure, and no matter how Bush the younger got suckered down this path, owning a baseball team had to be a hell of a lot easier.

Posted by: Bubbleman | February 17, 2008 10:02 PM

Uh,Ms. Bertsch,it's true we haven't been attacked since 9/11 but the fact remains that we were attacked on 9/11 on Bush's watch.

And the outgoing Clinton administration specifically told the incoming Bushies that the #1 foreign policy issue they would (or should) be concerned with was terrorism.

Clinton's staff met and discussed terrorism at least twice a week. And Bush's staff never once discussed terrorism.

Until 9/11.Before that day a PDA sat on Bush's desk warning of an imminent attack by bin Laden.And Bush was clearing brush in Central Texas.

And then the Towers came down.

Posted by: Gary | February 17, 2008 10:11 PM

First of all, Monica Lewinsky was not underage. However, the pages that REPUBLICAN Mark Foley was contacting and trying to hook up with were. No, we haven't had any more attacks since 9/11 - the attack that happened on BUSH'S WATCH because he was just so not curious about a memo that read "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S." - it was more important to clear some brush. And Robin, how can you explain Bush's total silence on 9/11 for 7 full minutes after being told, "Mr. President, the United States is under attack." Please, I can't wait to read this.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 17, 2008 10:18 PM

Hey, Laura.

Did George try to milk it?

Posted by: Radar Rider | February 17, 2008 10:22 PM

He's not good at anything, not even being a tourist. Big surprise. He's the poster child for the slogan"you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear". No matter the silver spoon in your mouth and lots o'bucks in Daddy's bank account

Posted by: Anonymous | February 17, 2008 10:32 PM

So.....Monica wasn't underage. You're right, technically. So Bill Clinton is a virtuous man. Got it.
Clinton was in power for eight years while our enemies attacked us all over the world and here (remember the World Trade Center in 1993?) and Clinton did exactly NOTHING. Bush was in power for less than eight months and it was his negligence that allowed 9/11, right? You've been spending too much time listening to Marxist's like Michael Moore. You are perfect constituents for the Democrat Party: stupid and clueless.

Posted by: Robin Bertsch | February 17, 2008 11:11 PM

If Air Force One cartwheeled into the Atlantic on the way home from Africa, would any of the newscasters (who don't work for Fox) be able to keep a straight face during the funeral? I know I'd be laughing....

Posted by: Igor | February 17, 2008 11:17 PM

Igor, you are a pathetic excuse for a human being.

Posted by: Robin Bertsch | February 17, 2008 11:23 PM

Regarding Bush'a seven minutes of silence after he was informed of the 9/11 attacks, I'm not sure that made much of a difference in the scope of things. However, I'd say Clinton's eight years of inaction in the face of threats and attacks against the U.S. did.

Posted by: Robin Bertsch | February 17, 2008 11:32 PM

Clinton did not destroy the world like bush has and is still doing, global warming could be stopped but the business community is too greedy to let that happen. they/we will all pay for this stupidity. Bush did nothing but stand in the way, lie to all of us, start war for oil and is dangerous yet. clinton had sex and lied about it. so what, who cares. get over it. at least he did not sell bombs to the iran like reagan who also lied about it. unamerican businessmen will kill this country and the world if we let them.

Posted by: froghog50 | February 18, 2008 8:37 AM

hey bertsch:

so you are a bush suck up....heck, you cited 30% +/- have room temperature IQ's like yours...how about your role model's numbers? 30% approve of the job bush is doing....66% of repubs approve. Even mccave does not want bush appearing with him (NYT today).

The reality dipstick is that people like you have their heads up their alpha...and enjoy the view from up there...the only difference between you and bush is that you had to work (not very hard) to get your head up there....bush was born that way....

Posted by: Anonymous | February 18, 2008 9:43 AM

Bertsch -

You're as rabidly anti-Clinton as you accuse others of being rabidly anti-Bush.

Truth is, Clinton was trying to do a lot about the terrorists, even if it wasn't in the news much, which it shouldn't have been.

Now, of course, the administration is stomping all over the planet in huge boots, crushing people fairly indiscriminantly, making noises about fighting terrorism and not really doing much of anything effective. Arguably generating a lot more terrorists, in fact.

Yes, terrorism against the US was ramping up during the 90's after we dropped Osama and Afganistan like hot potatoes, but there were decades of non-terrist attacks on us prior to that. Those decades are meaningless and so is the lack of attacks since 9/11 meaningless. If this administration's policies had more than 10% to do with that, I'll eat my little finger.

This Bush is the worst president in 100 years and likely the worst ever.

Yes, the 'macroeconomy' is doing well, and nearly all that wealth is going to the top 1/10th of 1 percent of Americans, who don't need it and aren't spending it. Meanwhile, the lower 70 percent are losing ground rapidly.

Anyone with an agenda-free brain will acknowledge that money in the hands of those at the bottom is what makes wealth flow throughout the economy. Put it in the hands if the superrich and it just festers.

Look, 'trickle-down' is what we had from the Garden of Eden right up till about 1900. And how much of it trickled down??? You had aristocrats and the grovelling poor and that's about it. The current economic policy (if you can call it that) appears designed to recreate that structure.

It's almost laughable. In order to try to stimulate the economy, the Bush admin is actually PUTTING MONEY IN THE HANDS OF THE TAXPAYERS. Yet continues to insist that wealth accumulating at the tippity-top of the economic pyramid is good for the overall economy. Duh. And if you think that IS good, then 'duh' to you, too.

Posted by: davidbodhi | February 18, 2008 2:19 PM

When the WTC was bombed in '93, Clinton had only been in office for about two WEEKS---Yes! TWO WEEKS! Jan 20, Ignauration -- WTC - February 26, 1993

Ramzi Ahmed Yousef was found guilty of planning the attack, and is currently rotting in prison.

What has Georgie done about 9/11?????? Answer -- NOTHING!!!!

Posted by: Stevo | February 18, 2008 2:50 PM

Posted by: Stevo | February 18, 2008 2:54 PM

Stevo. It looks like FIVE weeks. But the pointis still valid.

Posted by: LHO39 | February 18, 2008 3:02 PM

OK, OK ....4 weeks!! Still, it ain't 8 months, like GWB.


Posted by: Stevo | February 18, 2008 3:05 PM

Actually, we wish that President Bush takes more vacations, so that he can do less damage to the world.

Posted by: Ash from Rochester | February 18, 2008 8:21 PM

Someone commented 30% supported our learning challenged president and that his accomplishments are keeping us safe and wealthy. Amazing how a minority could get this cipher elected but fixing elections and having the Supremes in the bag sure helps.

If being safe means being constantly at war. Then the question becomes is being at war all the time good? And does war equal safety? Then what the hell is peace worth? I think the tremendous 30% are confused.

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