Bush Fled 'Harm's Way'
After 911 Attacks

By Edwin Chen
LA Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON - President Bush spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about his fears for himself and his family in the hours after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling a German television reporter he was "trying to get out of harm's way" before returning to the White House.
In an interview with ARD German Television, Bush said that in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, "I was concerned about things like, is my wife safe? You know, I was worried about that. I was worried about things such as my parents. I was worried about my [twin] girls."
Among the flying public grounded that day were the president's parents, who found themselves stranded in Wisconsin. Bush was able to reach his father, as well as First Lady Laura Bush, who was in Washington. But as he discussed his personal reactions, Bush also wanted there to be no doubt about his focus on the task at hand.
"At the same time, you need to know about me that I was also thinking clearly about how to respond," he said.
Bush granted the interview as a prelude to his weeklong trip to Europe, which begins today. After a stop in Berlin, he travels to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Paris and Rome.
Bush's initial conduct on Sept. 11 came under scrutiny because he did not immediately return to Washington. When the first airliner crashed into the World Trade Center, he was in Sarasota, Fla., to speak on education reform.
Bush and his entourage flew to two highly secure Air Force bases--one in Louisiana, the other in Nebraska--before arriving in Washington that evening.
"I mean, I was trying to get out of harm's way," Bush said.
"We were concerned about threats on the president. We were worried about future attacks, and there's a lot of belief that Flight 93 was headed to the White House," Bush added, referring to the hijacked commercial airliner that crashed in western Pennsylvania.
From James Roger Brown
In all civilizations there are some jobs where nothing else comes first. President, Commander-in-Chief, and Soldier are prominent among them. George W. Bush told us that he wanted to be President and that he was qualified. We now have a complete confirmed profile of a cowardly man so absorbed in bringing to life the political agenda of his elitist constituents that he only protects his own in the reality of a national disaster about which he was forewarned and did nothing to stop. At least the Emperors Nero and Bill Clinton could play musical instruments while the fires burned. George W. Bush cares only about power and the corruption that can benefit him and his nickname buddies. Just as on September 11, 2001, and every day since, ordinary American citizens are on their own in protecting themselves from the political, economic, and military consequences of what flows out of the government cesspool Washington, D. C. has become.


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