Receiving a standing ovation, President George W. Bush, one of several guest speakers, delivered a motivational speech for 11,000 attendees at a seminar in Fort Worth, Texas.
Here are some unbiased excerpts from the ever neutral Washington Post:
Nearly 15,000 people heard the former president, known more for mangling the English language than for his eloquence, reminisce about his White House days.
Perhaps in a nod to his dismal 22 percent approval ratings when he left office, Bush noted that “popularity is fleeting. . . . It’s not real.”
He could have said a thesaurus was a big scaly creature that roamed the planet millions of years ago and they would have applauded.
Anthony Champagne, a professor of politics at the University of Texas at Dallas, said many presidents go underground for a period after they leave the White House, but then “even Richard Nixon came back in the public eye.”
Some commentators recalled his famous flubs: “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?” and “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”
Out of the 11,000 audience members that Post “reporter” Mary Jordan decided to interview, these are the three quotes she choose to include:
“He is just a normal guy! He wasn’t the best speaker. But I was happy to see him!”
“I kept looking for a teleprompter, but I didn’t see one,” said Joanne Ryan, 35, a financial adviser in the audience who noted, “I know the media makes him out to be an idiot,” but he seemed genuine and “down-home.”
(Chris Clarke, 25, a salesman from Dallas) said when Bush misspeaks, it sounds “incompetent if you are president. But here it can be inspiring. It makes him seem like a regular guy, no better than me.”
While the people Jordan decided to quote obviously had no intentions of disrespect, she couldn’t find one person who stated something without the caveat that Bush isn’t a perfect speaker?
In contrast, the following is a humble quote from President Bush’s speech:
“I don’t see how you can be president without relying on the Almighty. Now when I was 21, I wouldn’t have told you that, but at age 63, I can tell you that one of the most amazing surprises of the presidency was the fact that people’s prayers affected me. I can’t prove it to you. But I can tell you some days were great, some days not so great. But every day was joyous.”