May 06, 2004

President Bush: Compassionate Conservative

In a moment captured in time with one click of a camera, it’s easy to see why President Bush is revered in many circles. As he campaigned working the line and signing autographs on Tuesday at the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio the president was stopped by a 15-year old teen’s friend who told Mr. Bush as he walked by, "This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11."

The president turned around returned to the girl, and hugged her to his chest.


hug.jpg The teen was Ashley Faulkner, and she lost her mother on 9/11 in the World Trade Center. While the president comforted Ashley, her father snapped one telling frame.

"He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man," Mr. Faulkner said. "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest."

Ashley Faulkner was also impressed that the leader of the free world would take the time to show her such compassion. “The way he was holding me, with my head against his chest, it felt like he was trying to protect me," Ashley said. "I thought, 'here is the most powerful guy in the world, and he wants to make sure I'm safe.' I definitely had a couple of tears in my eyes, which is pretty unusual for me.”

A beautiful moment. Bush may not be the “apologist-in-chief” his opponents want him to be, but he has proved again that he can be the “healer-in-chief” when need be.

Click here Bush Photo with Teen Shows Conviction and Compassion to read the entire story.

Posted by CK Rairden at May 6, 2004 12:12 PM | TrackBack
Comments: (No profanity, or inappropriate remarks.)

Dear Sir,

I have sincere sympathy for that little girl, and I too like (the rest of the USA) would offer her a hug.

With that said, I feel the truth of the matter is one of two possibilities:

#1) At best, the President found himself in a position where a hug was the obvious thing to do; due to how close the girl was to him.

#2) At worst, the President knew there would be somebody nearby with a camera.

Unfortunately, my belief tends to go with the latter. Bush is hugging the girl and looking at the camera. It's called a "Photo Op."

He had every reason to believe his "compassion" would be caught on camera. If not by you, then by someone else.

Posted by: Henry at May 6, 2004 12:39 PM

Dear Henry,
Have you ever considered the possibility that you are a cynical sourpuss?

Posted by: Paul at May 6, 2004 01:04 PM

I'm siding with Paul on this. Political advantage aside, Mr. Bush is not only a husband, but a dad. He's a human being with real weaknesses and real emotions. I beleive he truly feels a sense of responsiblity for what happened on American soil under his watch. You can blaim him if you want to, but he's a man who's doing something about it - globally and here locally. You can kill bad guys or you can give hugs or you can do both.

Posted by: steve at May 6, 2004 02:43 PM

any normal parent or American would not think this was a photo op...you are confusing this with Hillary dancing with Bill which WAS one of hundreds of photo ops...get a life and move to Cuba...mw a retired teacher and parent.

Posted by: mike walker at May 6, 2004 02:45 PM

I suspect it was a bit of both. Had there not been cameras there he probably would have reacted the same way, but let me put it like this--he knew there WERE cameras and he was glad of that fact.

But one hug doesn't make you compassionate except at the moment of the hug. Any American would have hugged that little girl--even the dirtbags.

Posted by: Cameron at May 6, 2004 04:13 PM

I think that bush is a very sweet man and shows how he is a strong leader, and shows how he acts like Christ...

Posted by: Adam at May 6, 2004 04:53 PM

This picture was taken by the girl's dad. I don't believe for one second that the president had any thoughts of someone taking pictures going through his head.

Posted by: Bob at May 6, 2004 05:12 PM

I'm sure even President Bush has his considerate and human side, but that doesn't detract from the fact that he has led this country into the greatest peril we have ever seen. We've never been less safe - the situation in Iraq is a result of a hopelessly flawed and illconceived policy by the Bush administration. (And that is the positive, less cynical interpretation.) My children's generation is going to be saddled with the cost of this doomed quamire, my generation's (the baby boomers') social security, and an impossibly huge national debt. Things look very bad after just 3 short years. I'd take the spot on Monica Lewinski's dress over the torture of Iraqi prisoners any day! Bush may not have applied the torture, but he is the commander and chief - he's ultimately responsible.

Posted by: Lori at May 6, 2004 05:25 PM

Steve: I'm curious about something you said: "You can kill bad guys or you can give hugs or you can do both." Help me here - if you send an army into a civilian area, how do you figure out who are the bad guys and who aren't? If someone was to come into this country and start killing the "bad guys" (in New York, say), but your child or brother or wife happened to be in the line of fire and die, how would you feel? Would you be grateful for the "greater good of bringing democracy" to your country or would you just be angry at the people who were responsible, and look at it as a crime? I'd just be angry, but maybe you're better at putting things in a larger context.
And Mike, would you please help me understand also: why should someone (Henry in this case) move to Cuba because he doesn't agree with Bush's policies, or even believe that Bush is sincere? Is that what our nation is about - sending people who disagree with us out of the country? I wasn't aware of that. Best to you both, Lori

Posted by: at May 6, 2004 05:57 PM

Lori, you wrote "If someone was to come into this country and start killing the "bad guys" (in New York, say), but your child or brother or wife happened to be in the line of fire and die, how would you feel?"

In the context of Nazi Occupied France?

In the context of Saddam killing 10,000 of his own people each year? (Amnesty International's numbers)

In the context of New York? That one doesn't work because there's no one killing anyone by the thousands.

In the context of Rwanda in 1994 when 100,000 people were killed in 100 days?

This is real stuff. It requires real answers to real evil. To stand by and do nothing is the crime.

Posted by: steve at May 6, 2004 06:13 PM

It really is sad, pathetic and extremely troubling that some of these democrats and liberals can't even withold their Bush-bashing and hatred towards this man, even when he's doing something like comforting a child who lost her mother in the 9/11 attacks. They have to make some excuse as to why it's not to great. Give some ulterior motive as to why he's doing this, because we all know Bush is evil and couldn't be doing this out of sincerity, etc. etc.

I'm ashamed that these people are Americans. Get over yourself. The world is bigger than your own personal political agendas.

Posted by: Jon G. at May 6, 2004 06:42 PM

Steve, I agree, to stand by and do nothing can be a crime. But I believe it is just as bad to take action that is poorly thought out. And I also believe the end does not justify the means. The end of what we are supposedly seeking in Iraq does not justify the means of killing innocent people or torturing prisoners.

And as far as context goes, I was suggesting that you put yourself in the shoes of the Iraqis for a moment. Is there any political senario you can imagine (short of foreign occupation, perhaps) occuring in our country that would compel you to welcome "liberators", that you didn't trust. And how long would you welcome these liberators, who proceeded to inadvertantly (and perhaps, carelessly) kill one of your family members or your friends or your neighbors or who destroyed your house, while seeking the "bad guys"?

Killing 10,000 of your own people each year, as Sadam, did is despicable.(I haven't heard anyone defend him.) But do we know how many Iraqis have died at our hands? I don't know - do you? We know how many US soldiers have died, but not how many Iraqis (civilians and otherwise) have died. Is it any wonder they don't trust us and they want us to go? And if we adopt the tactics of our enemies are we not the same as our enemies? Best to you, Steve

Posted by: Lori at May 6, 2004 07:14 PM

Most of you are missing the whole point. A father is happy that his daughter was showing more emotion regarding her mother's demise than she has since 9/11 (as is mentioned in other, less edited versions of this story). You are airing your personal political agendas selfishly and ignoring a young lady's pain. I'm glad the president was able to act spontaneously. And he's looking at the father, you know (if you read the whole story) - the father took the picture.

Posted by: Terry at May 6, 2004 10:57 PM

Actually you cynics out there the little girls Dad
took the picture.

Posted by: Andy at May 6, 2004 11:03 PM

How can you say that PRESIDENT BUSH has led this country into peril? Don't you remember that day when the towers fell and the pentagon was hit and an aircraft fell in Pensylvania? Did the President, in the youth of his presidency, bring this upon us?

There are always those who oppose, deny, or take a pessimistic or negative view of this president. But then again that has ALWAYS been the case regardless of who is in OFFICE... This man, president Bush, in my opinion is truly a compassionate human being. He is a father who can mentally place himself in the same position that others are in and TRULY feel their pain.

I can deal with another 4 years of a man who does what he says he is going to do.

Gary in Maryland (Retired USN)

Posted by: Gary at May 7, 2004 09:36 AM

Speaking about the big picture, was that young lady the ONLY child there that had lost a parent?
Why didn't the president give a hug to every child there who had suffered a tragedy in their lives?

Posted by: Kathy Petoskey at May 7, 2004 11:46 AM

Lori asked, "But do we know how many Iraqis have died at our hands? I don't know - do you?"

Several organizations are conducting surveys now to assess how many Iraqi civilians have been killed. Although the tallies are not complete, preliminary information indicates somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 innocent civilians (not military) have been killed so far, and that's not even counting the recent deaths in Falujah.

When you add to that the 3,000 some odd innocent civilians killed in Afghanistan you can see the civilian death toll we are responsible for is somewhere between 2 and 5 times the number of innocent American civilians killed on 9/11. If this so called 'war on terror' is about who can kill the most innocent civilans we are winning in a blow-out.

Posted by: Cameron at May 7, 2004 02:38 PM

I stumbled upon this site and was interested by comments posted about this photo.

A 3+ year member of the White House Press Corps told me today this was the best image of the President captured by anyone in his 3 years of traveling with him everywhere. Why? Because none of them were anywhere around! They had already been ushered back into the busses to leave.

Bush was speaking to the child alone but looking into the eyes of the father when that dad lifted his camera to save the precious memory for his heartbroken child.

Bush did not expect to be photographed and the father struggles with concerns that he wrongly exposed this private moment to the whole world.

You see - this photo was never intended to be seen by anyone other than 15 family members and friends whom he e-mailed it to on Tuesday night. But those 15 were so moved by what they saw that they sent it to 15 more who felt the same and did the same over and over.

48 hours later it was being seen by tens of thousands (millions???) But you were never meant to see it!

Eyes ARE the windows to the soul. I got an unexpected look through those windows and LIKED WHAT I SAW INSIDE. I lifted my camera only to save a precious and absolutely REAL moment for my heartbroken child -- To record a precious gift meant for her alone. It is purely coincidental that anyone other than the original intended 15 ever saw this photo.

I'm sorry but the cynics, anti-war leftists, anarchists, America haters, nut-cases and Bush-bashers are so blinded by politics that they cannot recognize strength, compassion, humanity and character even when it is staring them in the eyes.

The "Father"

Posted by: Lynn at May 7, 2004 11:25 PM

Lately I've been miffed at Bush because of his macho approach to everything. I’ve wondered where was the human that fought off tears shortly after 9/11.

That hug picture put it all in perspective for me. His presidency has been far from easy and we haven’t had much chance to see his softer side. The look was genuine for it was the look of a father.

In the interview of the father and daughter, it was apparent that they were only explaining the circumstances of the photo and not making it a political moment. With so much superficiality on TV, it was uplifting to see something authentic.

Posted by: Pat at May 8, 2004 11:08 AM

MARS my little bitches.

Mars.

Posted by: at June 8, 2004 08:03 AM

Clinton would have been trying to feel her up.

Posted by: Anthony at June 11, 2004 05:48 PM

I would like to say that the picture is very touching. I don't believe it was a Photo Op. I believe it was a man, husband, and father expressing his compassion and care for a child. All of the rest of you are free to state you opinions because we are Americans. Be thankful you are.

To Lori,
I believe that alot of your comments have been acurately addressed by others but I cannot let the "torturing prisoners" comment go unanswered.
How dare you lump that little commment in with the rest of what is going on in Iraq. This was the actions of a few people. This is not the actions of the US military as a whole and it was certainly not a directive of the President. As the wife of a Sgt in the US Army, I do not know how this could have happened but I do know that it is not the practice of the US Army. I am proud of our soldiers, war is not a "nice" thing, and therefore some ugly things happen during war. It is not something they intend but sometimes it is unavoidable. I bet you haven't bothered to look at all the good things the armed forces have done in Iraq. Of course not, that would take away from your complaints. I will tell you from first hand knowledge, they soldiers have done alot that should make all Americans proud.

You need to think about the fact that the reason you have the right to publicly voice your opposition to the President and the war in Iraq is because many soldiers and innocent people died so that you could have that freedom.

God Bless

Posted by: Valerie at June 11, 2004 06:39 PM

Do youself a favor and research the story of President and Mrs. Bush visiting an injured military man after the 9/11 attacks. It is the first reported incident of the Commander in Chief initiating a salute (this never happens if you understand the significance of those things).

He displayed genuine compassion to another human being, in the absence of any media. The story was retold by hospital staff. This is the nature of this man, whether you agree with his politics or not.

Keep your cynicism to yourself - this photo depicts a heartfelt moment of pain shared betweeen the most powerful man on the planet and the meekest of individuals.

This is touching. We could use more of this.

Posted by: Paul at June 11, 2004 08:26 PM

Okay whoever said...

"It really is sad, pathetic and extremely troubling that some of these democrats and liberals can't even withhold their Bush-bashing and hatred towards this man, even when he's doing something like comforting a child who lost her mother in the 9/11 attacks...The world is bigger than your own personal political agendas."

You will have to concede that if this EXACT picture and scenario had surfaced with Clinton instead of Bush, the commentary from the conservatives would be just as biting.

That having been said, I would like the Anti-Bush people to consider the fact that it is possible for Bush to be a compassionate man who genuinely wanted to comfort a young girl AND a political figure that makes choices you don't agree with. I know his decisions have not been popular (Certainly not with me) but I doubt he sits in the White House twisting his moustache saying "How can I @#$% up the country today?" (Please don't try to invalidate my argument by saying he doesn't have a moustache...grab a dictionary and look up metaphor instead) He is doing what HE believes is right. And people don't always agree on what "right" is. In fact, most of the world's problems, past and present, can be boiled down to that simple sentence...people can't agree on what is right.

The point is, the girl felt better because of what Bush did. I personally couldn't give a rat's bum bum if he hugged me, but if it helped in this young lady's healing process then, my opinion of the man's politics aside, good work. Doesn't mean I'm voting for him in November, just means...good work.

Posted by: Tim at June 11, 2004 09:47 PM

No matter what Bush does, he can't win with the hardcore, heartless, compassionateless liberals.

Posted by: Jinx72 at June 11, 2004 11:49 PM

Well said Tim. I am Pro-Bush but have to give you kudos for expressing yourself in an educated, non bashing fashion and for seeing that he can be a compassionate man and a politician.

Posted by: Valerie at June 12, 2004 02:36 AM

Ok. Did you people not see that the person who took teh phot actually posted his thoughts on the whole deal? Why don't you read the comments of the man who was there and took the photo? I agree whole heartedly with Lynn and don't think this was a "photo op" at all.
Weather you like him or not this was a man who felt compassion for this young girl and wanted to do something to comfort her. I want to belive that I would have reacted the same way. Why don't you put your political differences aside and take it for what it is? The President (A husband, father, & gentleman) giving a hug to a child.

Posted by: Brian at June 12, 2004 09:10 AM

As a Brit i'm less qualified to comment on this than most of you, but i felt i had to say something.

It's been my experience that some (indeed many) people hate those who have power, it'll never change, those who are jealous then spread their views, sowing seeds of doubt/jealousy in others, wo want, conciously or uncounciously, to find "Ulteror motives" ect. in the actions of others.

That's human nature.

Fortunately, also within most people is a vein of compassion, I believe that this is what we are seeing in this picture. There can't have been an Ulterior motive here, because the photo was taken, not by a journalist, but by a family member.

It's easy to say that so many things are His fault, so easy that we forget to feel compassion ourselves.

Posted by: Sarah at June 12, 2004 11:15 AM

I interviewed Lynn Faulkner on Mat 9th for a more in depth report. We published it the next day. For those interested it is available here

http://www.washingtondispatch.com/opinion/article_9003.shtml

Posted by: CK at June 12, 2004 12:27 PM

Jinx,
As was pointed out earlier, whenever a politician does anything, people across the aisle will attack them no matter what. If bush is in a picture like this, lefties will claim its a photo op, but to deny that conservatives would have done the exact same thing if it had been clinton hugging the girl is ridiculous. That is how our political system works, attacks flying from side to side no matter how well meaning the intentions of an action.
Bush may have been well meaning and earnest in this photograph however, even murderer's have one good photograph (and no im not comparing him to a murderer). One action does not make a man, no matter whether they are good or bad.

Posted by: Alex at June 12, 2004 02:15 PM

I agree, One action does not make a man. The reason I believe Bush's sincerity, is that there have been many cases, both on and off camera, In which he has done such things. Someone mentioned the example of the Military Hospital, when there were no cameras by Bush's request If I am remembering the story right. There are other examples I don't have space to go into, my point is that these add up to a man who deep in his heart really cares about people.

The reason so many would not believe the same of Clinton is again the many examples where he showed his inconsideration for those "less imporatant" than he. One Expamle that comes to mind is holding up landings and take offs at LAX for close to 2 hours while he got a hair cut on Airforce 1.

Character is shown by actions, both when you know people are watching, and when you think they are not. But, when you are in a position such as President, people are always watching, so it is more likely that your character, good or bad, will be shown in public ways over time.

Posted by: Scott at June 12, 2004 10:27 PM

Nice photo. A Kodak moment, for sure. I like to see our president like that.

"One Expamle that comes to mind is holding up landings and take offs at LAX for close to 2 hours while he got a hair cut on Airforce 1."

Well, no. Glenn Kessler's analysis of FAA records obtained under the FOIA revealed that only one (unscheduled) air taxi reported an actual (two-minute) delay the day of the infamous haircut.

But back to the Kodak moment ...

One or two visits to wounded vets, a snappy salute, and a 'huggy' snapshot isn't cutting it in the 'compassionate' department for this vet.

The president would do well to emulate former president Reagan. I remember president Reagan pinning medals on flag-draped caskets of fallen service members. That was a genuine gesture of sincere gratitude, compassion, and respect. Now we're prohibited from even seeing the caskets.

Why? To protect the privacy of the families? More hogwash. All those caskets are identical; no names visible, no service identification visible. What privacy needs protecting? It appears to many (including many families of KIAs) the prohibition is simply to avoid exposing the public to too much of the reality of war for purely political reasons.

To me, barring the public from viewing the return of our fallen heros is truly inconsiderate. In a sense, it's an 'out of sight, out of mind' mentality that's being forced on us.

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" --Barbara Bush (Good Morning America, 03/18/2003)

Arrogance. He's taking after his mother.


Posted by: navyvet91 at June 13, 2004 12:42 AM

I personally believe that President Bush is a caring and a compassionate man. However, this does mean that he is a good president. I personally disagree with the way this war is being handled, and I'm not even sure there should have been a war with Iraq in the first place. I do not believe that he has the qualities of a good president. Democrats reading this, don't cheer yet . . . I'm not too fond of Kerry either, although all things considered, I'd rather see Kerry get elected than President Bush.

However, this isn't what I want to talk. Reading these comments, I consistently see people say things like "get a life and move to Cuba", "I'm ashamed that these people are Americans. Get over yourself" . . . it has become "Unamerican" to criticize President Bush. This is probably the most "Unamerican" thing I have heard. People, we have a right to voice our opinions. If someone goes out there and does something to sabotage the war, that's "Unamerican". But saying "I don't agree with the president, I don't like this war," - that's perfectly fine.

If people don't agree with your point of view, don't attack them personally. Argue why your view is better. Don't tell them to get out of the country. Don't say "How dare you believe that!" People have the right to believe what they want to believe, and say what they want to say. And no, I am telling you to keep your pro-Bush opinions to yourself and stop attacking us Anti-Bush folk, as I am certain someone out there will accuse me of saying. I welcome your opinions. I am more than happy to here someone tell me why President Bush is a great President. I will not agree with you, but I won't tell you "No, you're wrong and stupid, shut up!"

Remember people, this is America. And as someone has said, many soldiers have died in the past so that we can have the right to our free speech. This is true, and we all must remember this. But we also must remember not to attack people for using this right. This is how we truly dishonor the memories of those who died for our freedoms.

Posted by: Sean at June 13, 2004 02:10 PM

How wonderful to see such a picture of our President--a genuine human being expressing his sense of compassion for another human being--by wrapping his arms around young Ashley--a moment she will cherish her whole life!

It really doesn't matter what others think of that moment--it's how Ashley will reflect on it throughout the years.

As the proud parent of a son who has dedicated the past 19 years to serving our country in the USAF, I would pray that we would ALL put our political biases aside and stand firmly in support of our leaders and our troops. We may not always be happy with decisions made, but if we would EACH convey our POSITIVE support and encouragement on a DAILY basis through the media and through our conversations with our friends and family, we would have such a positive influence on those who have CHOSEN to make this a much better world in which to live.

If our Lord--who is much more powerful than us-- is directing us to open our hearts, our minds, and yes...our arms to our fellow human beings in an expression of compassion, then let those who are unable to do that right now learn from the example rather than stand in judgement.

Life--with all of its challenges--is so much more beautiful with such a compassionate heart!

May God continue to bless this wonderful land, our leaders...and those who fight to keep it free!

Posted by: Sharon L. at June 13, 2004 06:48 PM

Bush doesn't strike me as a particularly clever man - certainly not clever enough to be the most powerful man in the world. That being said, he comes across as a genuinely affable man who believes in what he is doing, which is a far cry from the constant position shifting of his father (remember the tax hike?). Since Bush was elected with a minority of the public vote, I think a lot of us expected a quiet four terms as he didn't really have a mandate for change. However, economic downturn and 9/11 forced Bush's hand, which escalated into his current, very controversial programme of international policing and marriage reform. It's very easy to judge Bush, but I'm confident that circumstances have played a huge role in his Presidency.

Posted by: Drumm at June 13, 2004 07:55 PM

I've been reading all the statements here and decided I'd speak my piece a little bit. First off, I did not vote for Bush. But after 9/11 I was glad he was the one in the White House. He doesn't seem to use his power as a popularity contest; he does what he thinks is right regardless of the feedback he gets. He doesn't flip sides as soon as someone gets upset over a decision he's made. He stands by what he's done regardless of popular opinion. And face it, that's what is necessary to be President. I'm not saying I agree with war, and I'm not going to pretend that I know how it could have been handled better, but I do know that something needed to be done.

Regarding the civilian casualties that people bring up; casualties are a sad occurance, whether they be civilian or military. Unfortunately we as humans have not yet evolved to the point where wars are not going to happen. And casualties are going to occur. From what I understand there were millions of civilian casualties in WWII, not merely from military actions but from famine brought about by the war. Does that mean we should have backed off and let Hitler reign? And yes, I do believe that Saddam had the capability of becoming that bad. He would have become bored with his torturing his own "toys" and moved on to bigger hunting grounds. It's what power trip hungry tyrants do. Had nothing been done there would have been many more casualties in the future. He should have been stopped before now, and I believe if he had there would have been less casualties. The longer something like that goes on the harder it is to stop.

Oh, and in regards to the torture; no matter what group of people you have, be they military, religion, or civilian, you will always have people that do the wrong thing. Blaming the President for acts done by military personnel makes as much sense as blaming the Pope for the priests that have been accused of sexual abuse. And you can no more assume that all soldiers behave that way than you can assume all priests are sexual predators. Those people are who they are regardless of the status they hold in this world. And nobody is to blame but those people. It's only when peoples acts become apparent and those people are not dealt with that the blame can rest on others, those who see it and do nothing.

And in regards to the picture, when I saw it and read the story, nothing crossed my mind about politics or publicity or anything like that; the only thing that went through my mind was how sweet that was and how that must have made that girl feel to know for that moment that the President cared. And I would have thought the same thing had it been any other President. None of this other stuff even crossed my mind until I read the comments others had left.

Peace and love,
kitty

Posted by: kitty at June 13, 2004 09:22 PM

Im a 15 year old and have read all these comments and i think that some of you sound like 5 year old's bashing the President for doing such a compassionate thing and for a girl my age having to go through the pain of loosing her mother. ANd those that did bash it...it just sounds like you all just want to complain about everything and just are negative and are coldhearted people. Bush is an amazing president and i look up to him and Mrs. Bush dearly because they are compassionate and loving and they want to make sure everyone feels protected and loved. I remember how scared I was when September 11th happened but he and mrs bush took the time to even get on tv and reassure to the kids that they can feel safe and things are being taken care of. And through the picture I see that when he was in the abouts of his business he took the time to hug this girl because she's lost her mother. At my age you don't know how much a hug helps escpecially being a girl we take things harder and a hug is the best thing anyone can give. He has daughter's of his own and they were 15 years once and he know's how they feel and how other young ladies feel in times of trouble. And PRESIDENT Bush looked at this girl through the eyes of a father and hugged her with compassion because he's a compassionate man. If you all think your so political enough and think you know how to run the country than run for president but Bush knows what he's doing cause God has given Him wisdom and he prays about these things and he has a talent for being a leader cause one he's a christian and this country was founded on christian beliefs and two cause he has a true love for his country and for people and wants what is best for it. i just can't believe that there are some coldhearted supposedly grown up's out there that would bash sumthing like that and i tell you this that we don't look up to people like you but more up to people like Bush cause he has a soft heart and care's about other people and acts his age!
**doesn't go towards people who aren't bashing**
-through the eyes of a 15 year old girl

Posted by: Kaycee at June 13, 2004 10:47 PM

If you have any questions about Bush's compassion, look up his record regarding the death penalty while govenor of Texas. I would say that the record speaks for itself, unfortunately his comments on the infallibility of his judgement offer volumes more. If I were just to read the story above, I would think it was very nice; however, the picture undermines the text. That said, I am glad the action offered comfort to a young woman who lost her mother.

Posted by: KM at June 14, 2004 01:17 AM

This was an awesome picture of the president whatever your political views maybe. If you are unable to see the compasion in this picture perhaps it is your own compasion that should be questioned?

To all the people whining about Iraqi Civilians that "we" have killed, check your facts so far in Iraq by every account I have seen the terorist have killed far more civilians than we have.

Everytime something bad happens in the world people have to blame the US. Somewhere along the way soft headed Americans bought into this line of America is wrong and have since tried to convince the rest of us of this. I for one am not buying it, all the worlds problems are not our fault, just because as a country we try and help does not make us evil, sometimes our help goes horribly wrong, but the intentions were good.

Stop beliving the terrorist press.

Posted by: Steven at June 14, 2004 10:13 AM

Funny how Bush gets photo-ops like this and many other politicians don't. You say anyone would have hugged that girl. Really? Where are there photos? Not every politician reacts this way. (some give the finger to those who get in their way)

Posted by: Chris at June 14, 2004 10:52 AM

Steve, Gary, Jon G, Valerie, Paul, Brian, Steven, Kaycee, Kitty, and Sharon L.:

You guys rock! Number one: Why on EARTH are you guys brining politics into this? It was a moment of compassion that was completely unrelated to The War or Iraq or Terrorism. Second of all, I personally admire Bush with the utmost respect. I think he is a wonderful leader, a kind man, and that he is the reason our country hasn't already been destroyed by terrorists. But I shouldn't even be mentioning that. I agree w/ Jon. G whole-heartedly. Why do you people Bash Bush at every opprotunity you get? I really just dont understand...

Posted by: AmandaM at June 14, 2004 03:43 PM

just a quick comment.

Personally, I dislike Bush intensely.
That being said, I do think he honestly felt for this girl, when he hugged her.
that also being said, I think politicians in general are calculating when there is a photo-op and I expect that Bush considered (in part) the fact that someone was taking a picture.
(which does not make the hug any less valid)

Ok, now that I have that off my chest, I want to comment on what Steve has said...
1) According to your religion (I am assuming you are christian, from previous comments) Killing is wrong.

2) Killing ANY civilians is doubly wrong. NUmbers don't matter. If I kill one person and Joe, over there kills 3, does that make me any less guilty? nope.

3) While I support our troops, we do not belong in Iraq or Afghanistan. Period. We need to get our troops out of there!

Now, to other's comments...

KayCee,
--------------------
You said, "... but Bush knows what he's doing cause God has given Him wisdom and he prays about these things and he has a talent for being a leader cause one he's a christian and this country was founded on christian beliefs and two cause he has a true love for his country and for people and wants what is best for it."
--------------------
Sorry, this is not, never has been and (hopefully) never will be a "christian" country.
Religion has very little (if anything) to do with how good a leader someone is.
Bush is not particularly weak as a leader, but neither is he particularly strong. He is DEFINATELY not well-loved, and I doubt, form his actions, that he has any more love for this country than anyone else. (and his love is certainly not "true", he is prompted, most of the time by self-interest.)
Invading Iraq and Afghanistan were certainly NOT in our country's best interests.
Those actions have turned the opinion of most of the world against America. They have not benefitted our armed forces AT ALL. The actions have resulted in the deaths of huge numbers of american military and civilian personel, not to mention the innocent iraqi and afghani civilians who were in the way.
-------------------

kitty,
-------------------
You said, "...he does what he thinks is right regardless of the feedback he gets. He doesn't flip sides as soon as someone gets upset over a decision he's made. He stands by what he's done regardless of popular opinion. And face it, that's what is necessary to be President."
-------------------
I beg to differ. Popular "opinion" is exactly what a president needs to consider. Sometimes, granted things need to be done, regardless of opinion, but there needs to be a GOOD reason for it... and I have yet to hear one from the Bush administration.
And while I do despise "wafflers", I really think Bush acted on this without actually considering the consequences to the people. (or if he did consider them, he discounted them as unimportant)

As for doing what he thinks is right. He's an idiot. As I said above, it was not in our country's best interests to invade.

Posted by: Will at June 14, 2004 03:48 PM

I just saw this picture of President Bush and little Ashley. My heart was touched. I sent it to a number of my friends. One, who swithced from Republican to Democrat chided me for taking advantage of the situation for "political gain." I am deeply hurt by such a response. Why do we Americans jump to "attack mode" as soon as something looks like it may benefit the One from the opposing party? Oh, how can we expect God to bless America if we keep acting in this manner? President Reagan did not behave out of malice? Why should the rest of us ignore his splendid example. Please, let us love one another and respect those whose views are different than our own. Is that not what "being an American" is all about?

Posted by: Bruce Anthony at June 14, 2004 04:01 PM

I've had about enough of listening to people whine about "Bush's war". Check out the following website, and tell me what you would have done.

http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/b/bushlied.htm

This piece is lengthy, but I challenge the Bush detractors to read it, if you dare.

It seems so easy for some to be armchair quarterbacks, and pontificate about what the President should or should not do/have done. We have to remember that he is not omnipotent, and must to a great extent rely on his advisors, as would any John Doe who might occupy the Oval Office.

It appears to me that if Mr. Bush has made mistakes, it has been in listening to the counsel of such notables as that paragon of truth and virtue, Ted Kennedy. How many of you are old enough to remember Chappaquiddick? Too young? Then research it, I dare you. This would be the same Ted Kennedy that the courageous John Kerry has chosen to be his front-runner and mouthpiece, and who has accused President Bush of so many lies. Mr. Kennedy wouldn't recognize the truth if it spit in his face.

Well, enough of that. It all comes down to one old line - "Walk a mile in his shoes...."

Posted by: Lanni Fish at June 14, 2004 06:42 PM

>Regarding the civilian casualties that people bring up; casualties are a sad occurance, whether they be civilian or military. Unfortunately we as humans have not yet evolved to the point where wars are not going to happen.

But by that argument 9/11 was just another price to pay for progress. Unless you can tell me why civilian casualities in New York are horrible and unforgivable, but civilian casualties in Bagdad are not?


>And yes, I do believe that Saddam had the capability of becoming that bad. He would have become bored with his torturing his own "toys" and moved on to bigger hunting grounds.

How? He was bordered by an alliance of states quite powerful enough to look after themselves and eachother (Kuwait being the exception), most of whom had contained him quite happily before. Iran would have ousted Saddam years ago if he hadn't been saved by the US.


>Had nothing been done there would have been many more casualties in the future.

Well, we did something, and there are still many more casualties in the future.


>To all the people whining about Iraqi Civilians that "we" have killed, check your facts so far in Iraq by every account I have seen the terorist have killed far more civilians than we have.

I have checked the facts. In fact I went so far as to check them with soldiers returning from the front line. By very conservative estimates, we kill about 8-10 Iraqis for every Western death. As I say, that is only an estimate, since we operate censorship on how many people we gun down in the street.


With the greatest respect, we have invaded another country and are killing and torturing their civillians. But its ok, because _statistically_ speaking Iraq is better off?

I'm sorry, but I can't help suspecting that killing innocent people in their thousands is, well, wrong.

Posted by: Teplin at June 14, 2004 07:21 PM

And a special reply to Lanni Fish-

>Check out the following website, and tell me what you would have done.

>http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/b/bushlied.htm


The web site lists many quotations from various people, democrat and republican, who supported the war. While this is interesting, it is in no inconsistent with the idea that Bush had a personal obsession about Iraq, as several of his own advisors have claimed.

Nor is it inconsistent with the idea that he went to war with oil. Few of the politicians quoted have personal experience of Iraq, so all it proves is that someone was keen on the idea of invasion - which could easily be oil interests and the same Iraqi exiles who made up all those stories about incubators during desert storm.

Its also worth pointing out that the 'Truth' label the site gives to things simply means that it is true that the person said them. Madeline Albright's statement that medicine was not being blocked by sanctions gets a "True!" label, even though she is contradicted by the Red Cross, the makers of the medicine in question, and those actually operating the sanctions regieme, all of whom confirm that many (not all) types of medicine were subject to embargo.

Posted by: Teplin at June 14, 2004 07:45 PM

to Will-
I think he is a strong leader and knows what he is doing. This country was a christian country until people who want to bash christianity have voted for things like prayer being taken out of school and the word God not being allowed mentioned in school and ten commandments being taken away and now working on under God being taken out of the pledge. I agree with you we aren't a christian nation NOW! but we were and we were founded under it. And no bush isn't well loved by some people but by other's he is and the people that don't love him don't love him because he didn't do what you all wanted to him to do he did what he thought was best for our country and if he didn't send those soldiers over there to fight for our country than who knows what could have happened. Those soldiers chose to be in the army and they knew that by serving in the army there might be a time for war. A person i knew was killed in Iraq but I'm prouder than ever for him and he was proud to be serving. Another friend was the first infantry to go in but he went in boldly and is prouder than ever as well to be serving for our country especially in time of war and protection for his counry. Those threats arent something you let slip. But i'm tired of talking about the politics cause this picture doesn't have anything to do with politics and i'm only 15 sir. It has something to do with Bush loving the people he is leader over and showing compassion cause he has a lot of compassion especially for this girl and all the others who've lost their mother or father's or brother's or sister's or any one close to something that's horribly awful and I know in the heart of hearts that if it was humanly possible he would give a hug to everyone of those people but here he had that chance and wanted to comfort this girl and you can see that cause he put her head to his chest. And like i said before i look up to Mr. and Mrs. Bush because of deeds like this they do through the softness of there hearts and i know of many teens who look up to them too.

Posted by: Kaycee at June 14, 2004 09:26 PM

to Will-
I think he is a strong leader and knows what he is doing. This country was a christian country until people who want to bash christianity have voted for things like prayer being taken out of school and the word God not being allowed mentioned in school and ten commandments being taken away and now working on under God being taken out of the pledge. I agree with you we aren't a christian nation NOW! but we were and we were founded under it. And no bush isn't well loved by some people but by other's he is and the people that don't love him don't love him because he didn't do what you all wanted to him to do he did what he thought was best for our country and if he didn't send those soldiers over there to fight for our country than who knows what could have happened. Those soldiers chose to be in the army and they knew that by serving in the army there might be a time for war. A person i knew was killed in Iraq but I'm prouder than ever for him and he was proud to be serving. Another friend was the first infantry to go in but he went in boldly and is prouder than ever as well to be serving for our country especially in time of war and protection for his counry. Those threats arent something you let slip. But i'm tired of talking about the politics cause this picture doesn't have anything to do with politics and i'm only 15 sir. It has something to do with Bush loving the people he is leader over and showing compassion cause he has a lot of compassion especially for this girl and all the others who've lost their mother or father's or brother's or sister's or any one close to something that's horribly awful and I know in the heart of hearts that if it was humanly possible he would give a hug to everyone of those people but here he had that chance and wanted to comfort this girl and you can see that cause he put her head to his chest. And like i said before i look up to Mr. and Mrs. Bush because of deeds like this they do through the softness of there hearts and i know of many teens who look up to them too.

Posted by: Kaycee at June 14, 2004 09:28 PM

I was deeply touched by this photo. At the moment when the photo was taken, I do not believe President Bush was looking for a camera (even though he was looking at one does not mean he sought it out) but he was looking at a young girl in deep pain over the loss of her mother, and he gave her a hug to comfort her. Why seek a ulterior motive in that? It was pure and simple compassion and nothing more. That young girl was comforted in that moment, and for the rest of her life, she will remember that hug and how it made her feel that day. Let's put all our political feelings aside just for a moment and stop ruining this for that girl. Whether we love him or loathe him, everyone has something to say about our President, but let's for the moment keep it to ourselves and let this girl enjoy her picture and the feeling of being hugged by the President. Please, let's save our arguments for another time.

Posted by: Jamie at June 14, 2004 11:52 PM

Teplin, evidently you have a problem understanding what you have read. The statement was that terrorists have killed more civilians than we have. As for going to the soldiers that are coming from the front line, every unit is different. They all have different jobs and missions. Many units have returned having taken no lives. Wow, I guess those aren't the ones you talked to. And don't bother to try and argue with me about that. My husband is in the Army, his unit just returned and they didn't have to kill a single person. Yet, they lost 2 soldiers from an mine.

Posted by: valerie at June 15, 2004 05:19 AM

I came upon this site while looking for the photograph of Ashley, and now I wish I had not found it. Not only do I feel as if I have invaded a very private and personal moment that none of the family involved wanted made public, but I also feel ill after having read everyone's comments. I cannot believe the range of issues that have been dragged up in discussion of this family's private moment; religion, what it means to be "American," personal and politcal views of President Bush and past presidents, international relations, personal opinions about other people on this page, war, etc. But it was not just the fact that these issues have been allowed to invade the Faulkner's personal moment (yes it was personal although it involved the President), but the attitude with which these issues were put foward that horrifies me.
As a young woman of 19 who is just beginning to find her voice in society, I am learning to truly appreciate the blessing of free speech. It is so important that we are allowed to make our opinions heard, both to assert ourselves and individuals, and to bring others to at least consider our opinions if not agree with them. As both a Christian and a Democrat (yes, it is possible!) I have found this to be true. But what is demonstrated on this website goes beyond the bounds of free speech and into the realms of hatred and abuse. Reading the comments on this board I can feel the emotion in many (but thankfully not all) of the posts which goes beyond passion and becomes disgust and hatred, and which completely writes off the opinions of anyone but themselves. And that in turn brings those emotions to my heart, which truly scares me.
We can go on and on about Americans-this and Iraqis-that and democrats-this and republicans-that, and how easily we forget that we are bound by the tie of humanity. A humanity that gives us the same emotions Ashley and her family must have felt and continue to feel. A humanity that gives us these emotions regardless of our personal, political, or religious beliefs.
What a huge division there is growing up among the American nation and among the world, taking our unity as humanity and splintering it into a thousand angry pieces. And I truly know that divided we cannot stand. I know I am guilty of it as much as the next person, and this board has opened my eyes and made me want to make my opinions the smallest part of me so that I can be driven by a concern for our common humanity and not just the us or them.
I am studying abroad right now, and when I left America, I saw it as a country that stood tall united, where people held opinions freely. But I am reluctant to return if America is what I have seen here today; not a country where people hold opinions, but a country where people are slaves to them, where they cannot look beyond them or let go of them for a moment. We are in danger of losing that freedom which, as so many have mentioned, has been fought for over and over again. We are not physical captives, but bound and blinded by our opinionated emotions, that do not allow us to feel beyond the boundaries they create. I hope that America can move past these divisions and remain the land of the free, united by our common humanity and a true concern and love for each and every other member of that humanity, no matter who or what they are and what opinions they hold. If we cannot, then I have no hope for my generation.

Posted by: BH at June 15, 2004 08:20 AM

BH, You are very well spoken for a 19 year old and I wish you the best of luck in your studies and all else that you do. I can not speak for everyone here, but I will speak for myself. I do not believe that as Americans we are divided. I love my country. In fact, we are currently stationed in Germany and I will tell you I can't wait to get back to the USA. Many Americans are divided on many issues but as a country I believe that we would all stand together.
Just think back to your studies on Vietnam, that was a country divided. At least with this war, the majority of people against the war still support the soldiers. They may be against what is going on but still support the Americans that are over there doing their jobs. I know that many Americans are against the war. I understand their point of view even if I don't agree. However, with all these people standing up for what they believe, it reminds me what a wonderful country America is. I may not agree with them. I may feel passionately about my views but I personally would defend their right to say what they want to the bitter end.
However, I do agree with you that this page is supposed to be something about an experience of a 15 yr old young lady. Because the President is involved many, myself included, have taken the opportunity and gotten way of target.

Again, best of luck to you.

Posted by: Valerie at June 15, 2004 09:59 AM

"You view freedom of speech not as a right; but as a never-ending obligation."
--Found in a fortune cookie

I believe this discussion thread was put here to discuss the photo. Instead of commenting on the photo, this has devolved into a political debate.

If someone other than Bush was in the picture, how many people here would still comment on it?

Posted by: Andrea at June 15, 2004 12:49 PM

If someone other than Bush was in the picture, it would not be posted in the newpaper/on the internet.

Quite simply, by nature of WHO he is, anything Bush does is political or will engender a political discussion.

Posted by: Will at June 15, 2004 03:48 PM

>Teplin, evidently you have a problem understanding what you have read. The statement was that terrorists have killed more civilians than we have.

That statement is untrue. You've not given a source for it, so I can't contradict it directly. However, a few moments thought should suffice. We dropped bombs on crowded cities. You really think a couple of car bombs is going to cause more damage?

Doesn't the fact that we're not counting civillian casualties suggest that somehow, somewhere, someone though it would be a good idea if we didn't have a reliable figure.

>As for going to the soldiers that are coming from the front line, every unit is different. They all have different jobs and missions.

Of course. I mean no disrespect to the army. Many of my friends are or have been serving in Iraq. They are doing the job they have been ordered to do.

This unfortunately does involve shooting people in the street. Not through incompetance, or malice, but because when you're on patrol, and you don't know what's going on, you can't afford to take the extra time to be sure because that time could cost you the lives of yourself or your friends.

You put heavily armed invaders into a city street, and yes, people are going to die. There isn't a way of surpressing people through force of arms that doesn't involve shooting them, or at least none that we've found.

>Yet, they lost 2 soldiers from an mine.

My condolences for the loss.

>If someone other than Bush was in the picture, how many people here would still comment on it?

Very few, assuming it made it to the website at all. Its only interesting because it contains Bush, and Bush is only interesting because of his position, and policies. So we've ended up discussing his policies.

We could discuss Bush the man, I suppose, but few of us know anything other than his public persona. He's a human being, with all the love and compassion that entails. He's just like me, you, Hitler, Mother Theresa and everyone else on the planet. Its easy to forget that other people are human too, when we only see them as images, icons, or statistics.

Posted by: at June 15, 2004 04:21 PM

Will-
With the utmost respect...do you even know what your talking about??? Did u even read the father's post??? So ur saying that the hug is political? if so go get a reality check. I'm sorry just don't see why you are wanting to argue about EVERYTHING

Posted by: Kaycee at June 15, 2004 09:06 PM

Did you read my response?!

I did not say the hug was political.
I said "...by nature of WHO he is, anything Bush does is political ***OR*** (sic) will engender a political discussion."

(and why is it, when someone tries to call you an idiot, they preface the statement by saying "With the utmost respect..." or "no offense intended...")

Posted by: Will at June 16, 2004 01:58 PM

That photo would work a lot better if Bush wasn't looking into the camera.

Posted by: Mark at June 17, 2004 04:40 AM

Yes, it would work much better if he weren't looking into the camera. But I do not believe that his intention was for it to "work" at all. He's showing a moment of weakness for people who will forever be very close to his heart--hopefully, to all of our hearts. It's perfectly natural, when another person is attempting to surreptitiously take a picture, for a person to look at the camera. Though Mr. Faulkner was attempting to be discreet about taking the picture of HIS DAUGHTER with the POTUS, raising the camera up ever so slightly probably caught the President's attention. Has anyone ever tried to take candid shots? Not an easy thing to do once the person/people see the camera in your hand.

Posted by: TRL at June 17, 2004 12:01 PM

Bush is looking straight at the camera like a trained publicity hound. Looks like he saw an opportunity for a great photo-op and seized it.

Posted by: Pocket Rocket at June 17, 2004 04:35 PM

Isn't it just barely possible that Mr. Bush was looking at the child's father, exchanging a look of compassion, and the father produced the camera and snapped the shot? If it was a real "photo op", I think Mr. Bush is savvy enough that he might have looked down at the child he was embracing, instead of looking directly at the camera. He would have known that direct look would spark the very comments that are being posted here.
For cryin' out loud, people, get over it. The man is human. He learned something about the girl that produced an immediate sympathetic response, and he acted upon it. The girl's father understandably snapped the photo. That's all there is to it.
One thing is sure, if I ever have any molehills that I want made into mountains, I'll know whom to call!

Posted by: L.F. at June 17, 2004 06:04 PM

FYI-

The father who took the picture didn't have the camera to his eye when he took the shot.

In fact---he debated on whether or not to even take the picture.

Once he decided to do it, he just held his digital camera up above his head and snapped one click.

CK

Posted by: CK at June 17, 2004 07:25 PM

Folks,

Just for the record. I am a friend and neighbor of the Faulkner's. I was there that day. I have personally spoken with Lynn about this for hours on end. Make no mistake, this is a genuine and sincere moment. It is NOT a photo-op. Please see it for what it is: a very tender moment for this young lady and her father with another husband/father who just so happens to be the leader of the free world. All other political comments (both positive and negative) are off topic and missing the point. Since we all are Americans, please show the appropriate level of respect for this family.
Thanks, Steve.

Posted by: Steve at June 18, 2004 09:41 AM

My wife sent me this story and at first I thought it was another urban legend. I did a Google search and found several confirmations that it is true. Therefore, I felt lead to comment. I see all this back and forth about pro-Bush this and anti-Bush that. Everyone here has right to post their thoughts here agreeable or not. That right was provided by our armed forces for over 200 + years. You see I loved this picture, because it showed the true President George W. Bush. It wasn't a photo op or anything like it. My only question to each and every American, have we forgotten???? Seems to me that the President hasn't forgotten. He still loves and respects all American people regardless. Thank you, Mr. President for your strong will and conviction to do the right thing, even when it is not popular. I will remember, too.

Posted by: Ken at June 18, 2004 11:32 AM

To those who fault President Bush for looking at the camera as the picture is taken, note that its being taken by her father. Of course he's looking at him.

Posted by: Brian at June 18, 2004 06:16 PM

I'm sickened by how the discussion of this article has turned to arguing over the Iraq war and how disagreement with the Iraq war goes hand in hand with 'he's a heartless bastard who was only using this for political advantage'. First and foremost, just because you feel Bush did the wrong thing by going into Iraq like he did doesn't mean that it wasn't the best thing that could have been done, given the circumstances at the time. Opinions are like noses: everyone has one. And you're as likely to be wrong as the person you disagree with.

Second, leadership ability is totally separate from one's capacity for sympathy/empathy. You can suck as a leader but have a tender heart. And you can be a good leader but care only for what makes you happy.

I'm darkly amused by those who insist it was Bush taking advantage of a photo op when the article clearly states all the press photographers were gone. The father was not aiming the camera anywhere in particular other than in the general direction of the President and his daughter. The photo was not intended to be seen by anyone outside a close circle of family and friends. It was a decision made on the spur-of-the-moment after the President embraced his daughter. All of that was stated in the article and repeated by the father when he posted his comments above. Bottom line: there was nothing in that moment that would indicate to Bush he had anything to gain from the hug, other than impressing the few who saw it. But he did it anyway. As much as I disagree with his international policy (and some domestic policy), the picture and circumstances surrounding it indicate to me that the man truly does care for the pain of those who were directly affected by 9/11. There were no thoughts of political gain in his head at that moment.

Posted by: Cheryl at June 18, 2004 11:03 PM

While I'm no fan of Bush, I think this is quite sweet. It's a kind gesture. It doesn't make him the Second Coming, it doesn't make him a good president, hell, it doesn't even make him a good person (I mean, most would be able to do the same, wouldn't they?), but it made a difference to that girl, and I think that's beautiful. You don't have to be unfeeling to be a bad president. Remember that, anti-Bush persons who are about to post. I'm actually of the opinion that this man should have never become president. I wouldn't be able to do a better job but then, I didn't run for office. He's an idiot, yes, in my opinion, that is true, but an unfeeling man only looking for publicity? I don't really think so, no.

Posted by: Ann at June 20, 2004 07:21 AM

I am a SGT in the US Army and seeing this picture touches me. It's about a father, husband and man, all of which I am also, hugging a young woman who has suffered a loss that none of us should ever have to face. I praise my Commander in Chief for doing the only thing he could do at the time, making that young lady feel cared for and not forgotten. I don't think it was a photo op. If it gave her a glimmer of happiness, hope and safety, who cares what it meant to anyone else.

Posted by: Dana at June 21, 2004 06:10 AM

As an officer in United States Air Force, I have devoted my life to defending my country. I was so disheartened to come across these comments, and amazed to see how much hatred there is among Americans. Regardless of your feelings about President Bush, Iraq or the War on Terror, to take a forum about a touching picture of a litle girl and the President and turn it into a political battle is disgraceful. Instead of thinking of ways to blame our President for everything wrong in this country, how about thinking of ways to make America better? Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Sponsor an orphan. Visit a nursing home. Find a spouse of a deployed military member and take them to dinner. If you don't like the way things are going in this country, voice your opinion by voting - not by making hateful and useless comments on a website. To Mr. Faulkner - I personally thank you for sharing this photo, and hope that God continues to bless you and your daughter.

Posted by: Carla at June 21, 2004 10:49 AM

As an officer in the Coast Guard who was blessed to have served in Desert Storm under his father and survived the leadership of the next administration's eight years, it is an honor to have a leader that unlike his predecessor isn't looking for photo ops to be real or pretend to feel our pain. Instead, he is man of compassion, conviction, and fortitude. It is disgusting to see people run down a man of that type character just because he doesn't fall into their psuedo-definition of a president.

Posted by: at June 23, 2004 07:51 PM

Thank you Lynn, the "Father", for sharing Ashley's moment with us. Linda, thank you for speaking up on Ashley's behalf. My heart goes out to you, Ashley. Being a teenager is hard enough without the added anguish of losing your mom. President Bush sharing a hug with Ashley was awesome.

Posted by: Debbie at June 23, 2004 09:17 PM

Believe it or not, I have missed an appointment because I have read every comment to date. (Sorry to the person who called and wondered where I was.) Response to Kaycee & Steven who both posted on June 14th: I would like to think that you have grown up in a loving and caring home with parents who have given you the values that help you put things in perspective. Thank you for your wonderful comments.

As for Will, who posted on the same day, I say, read your history book. This nation was founded on Christian values and was meant to be a Christian nation. We should never have apologized for that, and when we have to start apologizing because our President is a Christian, well, that's just sad. In the picture he is showing true compassion. The fact that he is looking at the girl's father is even more riviting--realizing that not only has this girl lost a mother, this man has lost a wife. Most people would have felt that compassion, but would most people have acted on the spur of the moment, with pure instinct, in this way?

As for the other comments about the war: I don't know how I feel about the war anymore; however, everyone said after Desert Storm, "Why didn't Daddy Bush finish the job?" Now they're saying, "Who does "W" think he is--invading another country?" It just proves one thing--you can't win! Somebody is always going to second-guess you, so you just have to do what you think is right with the information you have. I feel that President Bush has done that.

By the way, God bless you liberals. You love to have freedom of speech, but when the consertives speak out, we're a bunch of religious idiots who should keep our mouths shut. Sorry, freedom of speech rocks both ways--or else it would be FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

Posted by: Judy at June 24, 2004 11:25 AM

If it were a photo op, why is there only one photo, and that being made by the Dad? Bush may be wimpy or simpy or stupid as some may say, but I can't see Kerry or Clinton or any liberal for that matter being as sincere or genuinely "feeling".

Posted by: Tim at June 24, 2004 03:01 PM

It is so amazing to me----The same people who could NEVER see Clinton for what he really was (liar) and was not (leader) seem to be able to call George Bush all kinds of things. Can you ever put politics aside a be truthful about anything? I do not have one ounce of respect for Clinton but if someone can find something good that he did, I would be able to admit it. Even Sadaam has probably done something good in his lifetime. Anyone who thinks we are not safer today than before 9-11 is just not truthful or mentally challenged. Should have done nothing at and let them continue to fly planes into our buildings and kill us? Go live in Cuba. That seems like the type government you libs prefer. You would be so much better off there.

Posted by: Leah at June 27, 2004 10:37 PM

I haven't read all of these posts as of yet, and I'm not sure if someone has already commented on this. TO LORI: You stated in your first post that "We've never been less safe." I have to disagree with one simple point that you may have overlooked. We were just as vulnerable on September 10th. We were just as vulnerable with Clinton in office. And yes, we were just as vulnerable with Bush Sr. in office. America has for many decades been in what I like to refer to as a Quiet Civil War. Between Reps and Dems, neither of which has room to boast of accomplishments over the other, we as a country are dying.

Posted by: Greg at June 28, 2004 05:18 PM

This is what drives me nuts about the left: There is NO logic in ANY of their arguments. It's okay to kill unborn babies, but should you dare attempt to execute a murderer or put a bag over an Iraqui soldier's head, then here comes their annoying little shrill. They think a woman has the right to choose, but should you attempt to cut down one tree ,shoot one innocent deer or drive an SUV, they'll be beating down your door. Try taking one of their kids to a Christian function WITHOUT their permission; They'll take you to the Supreme Court! But do they think that YOUR child has the right to have an abortion WITHOUT your consent??? Probably so. It makes no sense. Lori mentioned that she thinks President Bush is leading this country into "the greatest peril" we've ever seen. Incredible. Does World War I or II ring a bell? What about Vietnam that saw 70,000 soldiers killed??? Each life is precious, but how many have we lost so far during Iraqui Freedom? 1500 maybe? Hitler wanted to rule this world and would stop at nothing to do so. I'm convinced that militant Islam is today's version of Hitler's Nazi regime. They will stop at nothing (beheading innocent people, flying planes into skyscrapers) to kill and destroy America and our allies. Period. I know that most Lefty's think that we can just sit down and talk and reason with them, but that simply will not work with this enemy. And please, if you're a left-wing socialist and you're thinking about bringing up the "why haven't we caught Bin-Laden yet?" argument, please remember that it took us 7 years to catch Eric Rudolph, the suspected Olympic Park bomber, and he was hiding in our own country!!!

Posted by: Chris at June 29, 2004 10:48 AM

And BH, no, it's not possible to be a Democrat and a Christian. I'm convinced of this, and if given a chance I'll convince you too. That is, if you're as open minded as most libs claim to be.

Posted by: Chris at June 29, 2004 10:55 AM

Look at the picture.

No, really. Just take a moment and really LOOK at the photograph.

These aren't the eyes of a politician seeking a 'photo opportunity'.

These are the eyes of a man in great pain, who feels his responsibility and who feels such empathy for a young girl's loss that he would weep ... if he had any tears left after the incomprehensible tragedy and strife which he has experienced.

Look at his face. Do you see how he has aged in the past four years? This is a man who has been beaten down by adversity since he assumed such awesome responsibility, and now he is accepting the pain of this young girl who has lost her mother so unjustly.

This isn't the face of a charlatan, as he has been portrayed by some here.

As much as my heart goes out to this child, I am even more affected by the pain which this man shows here. He has the compassion to stop his campaign to offer comfort to a victim of this terrible war which has been imposed upon us, regardless of the personal cost to him.

But who comforts him?

Not many, here.

I'm shamed by the citizen of my country who seem so ready to ascribe low ulterior motives to an act of ... well, compassion. There can be no other word which so accurately describes this moment.

But it makes me proud to know that the leader of this nation is capable of such humanity.

And, ultimately, I'm reassured that our president was able to help this young lady know that she is not alone in her grief for the loss of her mother.

Posted by: Jerry at June 30, 2004 02:08 AM
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