Posted by ginnypub on January 21, 2009
Ending his presidency in the spot he began it eight years ago, former president George W. Bush leaned on the podium in Centennial Plaza Tuesday, looked out at the about 30,000 cheering and waving ‘W’ cut-outs and said it was good to be home.“I’m coming home with my head held high and a sense of accomplishment,” Bush said.“Laura and I may have left Texas but Texas never left us and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” he said, inciting portions of the crowd to cheer again.
Bush told the crowd, who had squished onto bleachers, chairs and the lawn and sidewalks on all sides of him, that he approached his job with a resolve to tackle tough issues when they came up rather than passing them on to the next president.
Among the things he’s proud of, Bush said, are the moves in public schools that have begun to close the gaps in achievement levels, programs that have helped make prescription drugs available to seniors, work with HIV and malaria patients, tax cuts for all Americans and decisions that have kept Americans safe since 9/11.
“Everyday I followed a set of clear principles,” he said, describing the motives that drove him to make decisions in line with the values he was taught as a child.
“Sometimes what I did was unpopular, but that’s OK I always did what I thought was right,” he said, pausing as the crowd responded in support. “Popularity is as fleeting as the West Texas wind.”
Rove said Bush has been looking forward to his Midland visit for weeks and will be remembered internationally as a liberator, domestically as a reformer and mostly, as a man who did what he thought was right.
Nearly as many locals lined Wall Street and Business 20 during their return trip as were out waving signs and flags during their drive into town.
“Tonight I have the privilege of saying what I haven’t been able to say for awhile,” he said, during his speech. “It is good to be home.”
You’re a helluva man, Mr. President and “Popularity is as fleeting as the West Texas wind.”