My Hate-Like Relationship With the President

Listen, I despise George Bush as much as you do. I think he should be impeached for incompetence & his contempt for the consequences of his actions in Iraq is evil… And yet—I confess I always like him, in spite of myself. Here he is taking on a hostile questioner at a town hall event in North Carolina. Note how the guy just wilts under Bush’s charm halfway through his assault on him.

The only question is, How did this guy end up being President? A congressman, I can understand. A talk show host. Something—anything, just get him away from the football.

Q You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that. But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food. If I were a woman, you’d like to restrict my opportunity to make a choice and decision about whether I can abort a pregnancy on my own behalf. You are —

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not your favorite guy. Go ahead. (Laughter and applause.) Go on, what’s your question?

Q Okay, I don’t have a question. What I wanted to say to you is that I — in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency, by the Senate, and —

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Booo!

THE PRESIDENT: No, wait a sec — let him speak.

Q And I would hope — I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration, and I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself inside yourself. And I also want to say I really appreciate the courtesy of allowing me to speak what I’m saying to you right now. That is part of what this country is about.

THE PRESIDENT: It is, yes. (Applause.)

Q And I know that this doesn’t come welcome to most of the people in this room, but I do appreciate that.

THE PRESIDENT: Appreciate —

Q I don’t have a question, but I just wanted to make that comment to you.

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate it, thank you. Let me —