Questioning the motives of a "desk-bound president who assumes the garb of a warrior," Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd (search) on Tuesday reproached President Bush for flying onto an aircraft carrier last week to declare an end of major fighting in Iraq.
"I am loath to think of an aircraft carrier being used as an advertising backdrop for a presidential political slogan, and yet that is what I saw," Byrd said on the Senate floor.
Byrd, 85, of West Virginia, is the Senate's most senior member and was one of the most outspoken critics of the Iraq war.
Dressed in a flight suit, Bush was flown onto the USS Abraham Lincoln on Thursday, his small S-3B Viking jet making a tailhook landing. The ship was near San Diego on its return from action in the Persian Gulf.
Top Gun touchdown: showmanship or leadership?
A sample of your responses:
President Bush showed great leadership when landing on the carrier. He demonstrated a direct association with our forces. Rather then stay distant he did what they do, and with them. Think back to what inspired most of us as kids. Having a parent go our baseball or basketball game and cheer us on; or a parent who said in passing the next day-how did your game go? I am not in the least inspired or enthused by distant elected officials who project only their own opinions. They should be representing us. They should be making all efforts to help us by direct contact with us. Instead the only time we hear from them is when they need us to help them-always before elections. Somehow this seems backwards to me. Lead by example and especially pay direct attention to the average person. Yea Bush; yea Fox; boo self serving elite representatives.
I realize he is a very senior senator ( AKA walking corpse) but to come down on the Prez/CIC for showing support for those he sent into harms way by landing on 72 is scraping the bottom of the jar or in his case coffin.
Fort Rucker, AL
The reaction to the Commander and Chief's visit by the Lincolns' crew as well as other armed force units throughout the world and the affect upon their morale was more than worth the expense. It would be hard to find more than a handful of service personnel that were not humbled and grateful by the experience of the Presidents visit.
Temple Terrace, FL
President Bush was right to go and greet the Lincoln by flying there. He's the commander in chief. He's a pilot. The sailors loved it, and it was great for military morale and the country. Democrats whining about it are just mad that Bush is a real military leader and that he didn't look idiotic, like Dukakis in that tank!!
President Bush's landing on the Abraham Lincoln's deck is a far better legacy than President Clinton tying up LAX runways getting a haircut.
President Bush flight to aircraft carrier brought pride to beleaguered worried nation. Wonderful event!
Vero Beach, FL
President Bush is the Commander in Chief of the military. If he wants to land on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean, than that is what he should do. We think the landing was great, and it was a great show of support for the people who were out there fighting the war they were commanded to fight by President Bush. It showed respect and appreciation for their hard work and sacrifices.
When you consider the tax dollars that were spent on the investigations concerning our former president and his questionable behavior while in office, this is a drop in the bucket.
Bob and Adene W.
It is completely appropriate for the Commander in Chief to visit deployed troops, wherever the are.
However, I don't recall Senator Byrd complaining about the completely unauthorized use of United States warships, by the Kennedy family, for the burial at sea of John Kennedy Jr, who was never a member of the armed forces.
I don't begrudge the Kennedy's, but these Democrats are completely hypocritical in their criticism.
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