NEW YORK – President George W. Bush in 2003 landed aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on a Navy jet where he delivered a speech saying major combat operations in Iraq had ended with a “Mission Accomplished” banner behind him, which later caused his administration headaches as the war dragged on.
On Tuesday, Bush landed on another aircraft carrier but this time was on much safer political ground. He landed on the Intrepid, a carrier that has been transformed into a museum which Bush helped re-dedicate as part of his last Veteran’s Day speech as commander-in-chief.
“Not only do we honor those who have worn the uniform, those who are wearing the uniform, we honor their families, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts,” Bush said. ”We have a moral obligation to support our families, and we have a moral obligation to support our veterans. It has been my privilege to work with members of the United States Congress to nearly double the funding for those who have worn the uniform.”
His landing was not without incident however.
As the Marine One helicopter carrying Bush landed on the flight deck, the wind from the rotors blew a Bell AH-1J Sea Cobra helicopter on display into another aircraft sitting next to it — and right by several reporters, photographers and camera crews awaiting his arrival. No one was hurt.
And the re-dedication did not exactly go off as planned either. The champagne bottle to christen the ship failed to break as it was released by First Lady Laura Bush and Sally Hoover Casale, the granddaughter of the woman who christened the ship in 1943.