President Bush gets a lot of work done at his Prairie Chapel Ranch, with Bush seen here playing host to former Mexican President Vicente Fox a few years back. On Saturday, Bush will receive Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, reporting in from Georgia. (AP Photo by Charles Dharapak)
by Mark Silva
President Bush postponed his summer vacation at his Texas ranch because of the crisis in Georgia.
Bush plans to leave for Crawford tomorrow.
"Got a lot of folks, smart folks analyzing the situation on the ground,' Bush said today, after a meeting at the CIA today, "of course, briefing us on different possibilities that could develop in the area and the region.
Air Force One is Texas-bound Friday.
"I think the president wanted to stick around one more day today,'' White House Press Secretary Dana Perino explained, noting that Bush has sent Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region. "She is going to come back to the ranch... He will take all the communications... he needs with him.''
Bush spent his added day in Washington, before the truncated-by-a-day trip to Texas, in private briefings at the CIA and in meetings with employees there. "He had a very good day at the CIA with two briefings and a chance to meet with many members of the CIA,'' Perino said. "He spent a little over two hours in the cafeteria... He had lunch at a long table of employees who had joined in the last (few) years.''
The president's spokeswoman was asked when Russia might see the "consequences'' of its incursion into Georgia - consequences which Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Rice have asserted are sure to result from the "disproportionate'' reaction the Russians made to a conflict in South Ossetia.
The consequences already are playing out, Perino suggested, in Russia's standing in the eyes of the Western world. "They have shown the world that their motivations can be questioned when it comes to the region,'' she said. "There are consequences to that, because there is a reputation to be managed for Russia.
"This is very serious,'' Perino said. "We had a sovereign demoratic country that was invaded by Russia... Like Secretary Rice said, this is not 1968, and there is no place for these actions.''
As for Bush, the president will monitor events from his ranch. He plans to receive Rice there on Saturday. "I'm looking forward to hearing firsthand what she has seen, what she has heard,'' he said, calling for "the territorial integrity of Georgia to be respected and the cease-fire agreement to be honored. And we will be working this issue throughout the coming weeks.''
He also will have a Republican National Convention, for the nomination of Sen. John McCain for president, to attend the first week of September. But Bush doesn't sound too worried about his speech.
"I don't anticipate any rehearsals in Crawford, no,'' Perino said.