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When in trouble, travel


A little revised history — only the names, places, and dates have been changed to expose the guilty:

Bush Leaving Country on Personal Campaign

By LEFF TYST and K.O. O'LAID, Assøciated Press Writers — Mon May 28[, 2007], 7:06 pm ET

WASHINGTON – President George Bush, accompanied by a veritable fleet of expensive jumbo jets and extra large cargo planes, left the United States today en route to Rome, Italy, where he will personally campaign on behalf of his home state for its chance to host a future international sporting event.

Amid deteriorating economic conditions at home and a failing war effort overseas, a few are questioning the timing of Mr. Bush's extravagant foray into the site-selection politics of a global sports competition organization. But others, including many of Mr. Bush's own domestic political opponents, surprisingly support his costly, personal venture.

A spokesperson for presidential candidate Barack Øbama, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the senatør sees no problem with Mr. Bush taking this time out in the middle of a war and a growing recession. "Why would anyone be against the U.S. getting that international sporting event?" the spokesperson asked.

Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton echoed the same sentiments about Mr. Bush abandoning the nation's capital at such a critical time. Senator Clinton told reporters at a press conference this afternoon she is "proud" that Mr. Bush is fighting for "one of America's finest states" and its chance "to get this important venue." When asked if she thought Mr. Bush should be at the White House instead of traipsing about in a foreign capital on an obviously personal mission, Senator Clinton said that was not her decision. "Clearly, the president knows exactly what he is doing, as well as when and where he needs to do it for the common good of the American people," she said. "I would not presume to question either the timing of his important trip or his motives."

On the Republican side of the presidential campaign aisle, Congressman Ron Paul and Senator John McCain both were worried about how the public might perceive a U.S. president deciding to leave the country to personally lobby a sports organization while American troops are fighting and dying overseas and their families, friends, and fellow citizens back home are losing jobs.

"It is, at best, unseemly," Mr. Paul said on the floor of the House of Representatives. "It gives the impression that this president is more his home state's lobbyist-in-chief than our brave troops' commander-in-chief."

In Iowa, Mr. McCain said he would have at least liked to see Mr. Bush ask the governor of Texas to go himself or send a representative rather than burdening American taxpayers with another "frivolous use of Air Force One." At a campaign stop, Mr. McCain promised he would "never abuse the taxpayers' trust by considering that plane you, my friends, bought for the president's official use, anything other than strictly reserved for vital state business." Mr. McCain said the number of airplanes Mr. Bush took on his trip is "unjustified," and pledged to reform the laws governing presidential travel.

Back in Washington, D.C., Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean criticized Mr. McCain for "making such a big deal" out of Mr. Bush's questionable travel plans. "If the president wants to go lobby a non-governmental organization in Europe so Dallas, Texas can host one of its major future events, I don't see any problem with that," Chairman Dean said. "Once again Senator McCain shows he tends to blow things all out of proportion."

In a MSNBC/MoveOn.org poll taken days before Mr. Bush's personal, multi-airplane excursion to Rome, only 39 percent of respondents "disapproved" or "somewhat disapproved" of his decision to fly there and lobby that organization in person. Less than 25 percent were "troubled" that he "might be seen as exerting undue influence to have an international sporting event located so near his home in Crawford, Texas."

Real estate sales in Crawford and other places in and around Dallas are expected to "skyrocket" if Mr. Bush's personal lobbying efforts on government time pay off, according to a University of Texas study.

The study shows that land, buildings, and facilities owned by many of Mr. Bush's closest associates are among the "especially profitable sites" to put on the market before the event.

"They're going to make a killing," the authors of the study said in their 2006 press release, referring to Mr. Bush's friends and other land owners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

A search of area deeds revealed that Mr. Bush's top advisor, Karl Rove, owns several of the properties described in the study as "extremely marketable" and "the most profitable."


o. Nøthing to see here. MøveØn along.

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