Well, I guess that’s it.
Here’s a quick recap of Pres. Bush’s visit to Oklahoma City.
– The President stepped onto the tarmac at Tinker Air Force Base about 9:15 a.m. He spoke briefly about volunteerism and praised three Oklahoma volunteers: Karen Stark, founder of The Hugs Project; Oklahoma County sheriff’s Capt. Joe Castleberry and Maj. Dan Rooney.
– After leaving the air base, Pres. Bush participated in a round-table discussion with small business leaders at the Presbyterian Health Foundation Conference Center.
– From there, the President went to a fundraising event at the home of local businessman John Cresap. Guests paid up to $25,000 each to attend lunch with Pres. Bush. Proceeds go toward Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign.
– While here, Bush was greeted by protesters and well-wishers, from all appearances more of the latter than the former. A large crowd gathered at Tinker to see him off.
– Bush is due in Florida sometime tonight.
There you have it.
Contributors to today’s blog were, in no particular order, business writer Jim Stafford, photographers Jim Beckel and Paul Hellstern, staff writers Bryan Dean and Johnny Johnson and capitol reporter Michael McNutt. I’m Ken Raymond.
Thanks for reading.
Air Force One is in the air.
Pres. Bush, with Mick Cornett by his side, is shaking hands and exchanging greetings with the crowd gathered at Tinker. He just reached out and playfully mussed up one boy’s hair, and he has stopped to scrawl some autographs.
Not sure how everyone got on the base to see him. Seems likely that they’re family members of people who work at Tinker, but that’s not confirmed.
He’s walking away from the group now. At the bottom of the stairs leading up to his plane, he has paused to hug a couple people and is now being photographed with two boys wearing polo shirts.
He’s heading up the stairs. He pauses at the top to wave goodbye, then walks inside.
The stairs retract back into the plane. The door shuts. Visit over.
The presidential motorcade has arrived at Tinker Air Force Base.
TV shows a large group of people waiting there for a chance to see the President before he leaves Oklahoma.
Johnny Johnson reports that the motorcade has left John Cresap’s home.
The President’s itinerary called for him to back at Air Force One by 12:45 p.m. … but he still hasn’t left the fundraiser.
Jim Beckel, who is with the motorcade, says it should leave any moment.
Johnny Johnson reports that the last of the protesters outside John Cresap’s house has packed up and left.
Mark Myers, Oklahoma County sheriff’s spokesman, just issued this press release about Capt. Joe Castleberry:
Castleberry was recognized by President George Bush at Tinker Air Force Base for his history of volunteering during hurricanes. Captain Castleberry has volunteered and helped with recovery efforts from Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Katrina and most recently with Hurricane Gustav. Castleberry was contacted by the President’s office September 10th and asked if he would like to meet the President. “The honor to meet the President, the excitement and experience to meet the President is a once in a lifetime experience,” said Castleberry.
President Bush during a news conference detailed Castleberry’s efforts, and congratulated him for volunteering. Castleberry says the success he has had helping people is largely due to the other deputies who have worked shoulder to shoulder with him during disasters, “not only for me, but I want to make sure folks know that I recognize the other deputies who pulled their weight during these emergency responses.”
Castleberry said that he and the President talked about the people of Morgan City, Louisiana how thankful they were, and the hospitality they showed during Hurricane Gustav. Castleberry said this will definitely be a highlight of his career meeting the President and being able to represent the hard working men and women of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
In addition to contributing to John McCain’s presidential campaign and seeing Pres. Bush, you also get a fairly light lunch. Jim Beckel, who’s eating his fill, says Coach House Catering, part of The Coach House restaurant, put together this menu:
Grilled vegetables on skewers
Another photo from Jim Stafford. This one shows the motorcade parked outside John Cresap’s home, where Pres. Bush is the big draw for a fundraiser for John McCain.
The white tents at the bottom left are where guests underwent security screenings before entering the house.