Friday, October 24, 2003

Isle stopover fits
Bush’s ‘race’ pattern

President of the United States
 Bush 'impressed'
 Some are impromptu guests
 Bush honors vets' sacrifices
 2nd-grader puts Bush on spot
 Politics left behind at tea
 Isle volunteer greets president
 Bush bypasses protesters
 Some brave security for glimpse
 Stop fits Bush travel pattern

President Bush's six-day trip through Asia and Australia was more of a race than a visit. Some called it a drive-by. His 12-hour stopover in Honolulu fit the pattern.

He dashed through Tokyo on an overnight layover before sprinting through a state visit in Manila in eight hours. He spent three nights in Bangkok for an economic summit, then hit Singapore, Indonesia and Australia in one day.

White House officials said Bush was trying to accommodate as many countries as possible, within the restrictions of security precautions, time problems and the logistical obstacles of a presidential visit.

"He understands presidential visits are an honor for countries, as well as a burden," White House communications chief Dan Bartlett said.

Bush arrived in Honolulu on a perfect day -- sunshine, light surf and mild breezes at the end of a long, grueling trip. He had not been in the islands for years and never as president.

So, what did he do during his downtime?

Secured in his Kahala Mandarin hotel suite, the president watched television -- Game 5 of the World Series. Unlike many other presidents, Bush does not seem inclined to linger to see tourist attractions or mix with ordinary people.

"Different presidents are going to have different styles, no question," Bartlett said. "Are you going to satisfy every country? No."


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