A Firsthand Report on the President’s Visit
Will Ricci, East Providence Republican City Committee Treasurer, National Federation of Republican Assemblies Regional Vice-President, and most importantly, frequent Anchor Rising commenter was able to attend today’s Presidential visit to the Naval War College in Newport. Will sends along his impressions, observations, and a photograph from the event…
Will Ricci: I had the opportunity to attend the President’s address at the Naval War College earlier today as a guest of the Governor, with a handful of other local Republicans. The audience was heavily populated with Navy officers, with a great many guests from other countries. I was seated less than 50 feet away (about ten rows) directly in front of the President’s podium. The program began a little late at about 11:15 am.
There was a funny moment right at the beginning, when the unseen announcer said, “Please welcome the President… of the Naval War College, Rear Adm. Jacob Shuford”. Everyone broke out in laughter. The admiral made some brief remarks and then quickly introduced the President, who then appeared on stage with Gov. Carcieri to the sounds of Hail to the Chief. After a long standing ovation, everyone was seated. Gov. Carcieri then delivered some welcoming remarks behind the Presidential podium (he looked comfortable there), and then the President dove right into his speech.
The speech was heavily focused on terrorism, with an emphasis on what’s going on in Iraq right now. Much of it had to do with sharing information that the mainstream media doesn’t like to cover, such as that we’re winning! I won’t go heavily into the substance of the speech, as I assume the local media will cover that ad infinitum. The President showed some very interesting maps and diagrams on the monitors behind him demonstrating the progress that we’ve made, both before and during the surge. All I can tell you is that he had the audience at his full attention for the entire speech, which lasted about an hour, and that he covered a considerable amount of detail. He was not using a teleprompter, and used his notes only sparingly. It made me feel pretty good that he had such a clear understanding of what is at stake in Iraq and elsewhere. He didn’t make any gaffes or other “Bushisms.” He came off as human, genuine, and very engaged.
After the speech ended, I think he surprised everyone by asking the audience for questions. They weren’t planted questions. He stayed for about another 15 minutes or so and answered all sorts of questions ranging from relations with Great Britain and Columbia, to ongoing diplomatic efforts with North Korea, and the use of naval forces around the world in the future. He made an effort to single out Venezuela and Cuba as places of interest in this hemisphere, and made a comment which I think the media might pick up on regarding Fidel Castro. I believe it started with “when the Lord calls Fidel … away” (not home). It got a few approving nods.
PS As for protestors, unless they were hiding, there were virtually none. We saw ONE protestor at the main gate coming in, and I believe three outside when we left. It was paltry in any case.