Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Georgians for Bush

According to press reports, President Bush's short visit could hardly have been more friendly (if you'll discount the alleged "attack" with a dud grenade). Huge crowds (especially considering Georgia's small size) of 100,000+ people waited hours in the rain to see and hear him (and Laura, of course). A group of traditional Georgian dancers got Mr. Bush so enthused that he jumped onto the stage and did a little gyrating of his own. Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili said, “You stood with us during our revolution and you stand with us today. On behalf of my nation I would like to say, `Thank you,’”. And we're told that he also persuaded President Bush to make an unplanned stop in a local Georgian restaurant — after which President Bush, obviously pleased, highly recommended a stop there by any visitor.

Publius Pundit has a nice writeup, with some photos. An excerpt:

Arms are raised in the air, everyone cheers and chants, and Freedom Square turns into a sea of Georgian and American flags.

At first glance you may think you’re witnessing the Republican National Convention all over again. But if you saw President Bush speak just now, you would know that he was winning the hearts and ears of a crowd of jubilant Georgians. When recalling all of the October pre-election polls reflecting how much the world hates the United States and especially President Bush, it would seem odd to the outside observer that over 100,000 people would wait in the heat, for hours on end, before impatiently breaking through police barriers just to hear Bush speak. In reality, however, it isn’t so far-fetched. Due to American support for freedom and democracy in the region during and after the fall of the Soviet Union, countries from the Baltics to the South Caucasus hold the United States in the highest of regards.

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