Saturday, March 21, 2009

President Gives Speech in Calgary

Former President Bush Backs Obama’s Efforts to Repair Economy

March 18 (Bloomberg) -- Former President George W. Bush delivered a “folksy” one-hour speech to a Canadian audience in which he backed efforts by his successor, Barack Obama, to repair the U.S. economy and financial industry, said people who attended the event.

Bush, 62, made the comments yesterday, in his first address since leaving office in January, to 1,400 people attending the $400-a-person Calgary lunch, said Jason Enns, a private wealth manager who attended. The invitation-only crowd took almost two hours to file into a downtown convention center as about 200 protesters shouted insults at them and criticized the president’s policies on Iraq and Afghanistan.

“He told us: ‘Wall Street had a big party and now we’re dealing with their hangover,’” Enns said in a telephone interview after the event.

Enns said the former president expects Obama will do a “fantastic job” and he will provide help and advice if he’s asked for it by the new president. Members of the media weren’t allowed to attend the event.

Bush told the Calgary audience, which is home to Canada’s oil and natural gas industry and companies like EnCana Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. unit Imperial Oil Ltd., the U.S. will need the crude produced from the oil sands of northern Alberta, he largest reserves outside the Middle East, Enns said.

Obama and Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged last month to take concerted efforts to counter the global recession and begin a new effort to develop clean-energy technology. Obama said before his visit to Canada that oil from the tar sands can be made into a clean energy source. Canada is the biggest supplier of oil to the U.S.

‘Folksy’ Side Rules
“He let his folksy side rule,” said William Andrew, chief executive officer of Calgary-based Penn West Energy Trust, who attended the speech. “He came off as humble as he can be.”

The former president, who received a standing ovation, had "high
praise for Obama," Peter Yates, a Calgary lawyer with dual U.S.-Canadian citizenship, said Bush provided an “entertaining” speech. Yates said he registered for the 2004 election to vote against Bush.

“He was very affable,” said Yates. “My impressions of him haven’t changed. A folksy, affable guy, but I don’t agree with his policies.”

Bush told the crowd the biggest adjustment since returning to private life is reacquainting himself with everyday chores from walking the dog to running errands at the hardware store for his wife, Laura, Enns said.

Well, there you go. If the President is willing to give Barack HUSSEIN Obama the benefit of the doubt, then I feel we should all join him. After all, who did HUSSEIN Obama bash the most over the past two years? President Bush. And if he, of all people, can turn the other cheek in a Christlike manner, then who are we to hold grudges?

I am proud to support such a humble but wise man.

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