Archive for Sunday, November 16, 2008

Former President Bush accepts Dole prize, encourages public service

November 16, 2008


Former President George H.W. Bush encouraged young people to get involved in public service Sunday afternoon at Kansas University as he accepted the Dole Institute of Politics leadership prize.

"There can be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others," he said.

In an interview format on the Lied Center stage, the 41st president addressed a wide range of topics in his long political career - everything from the first Gulf war to Dana Carvey's impressions of him on "Saturday Night Live." It was also marked with several quips that ignited laughter several times from the audience.

Bush, 84, talked about his wife Barbara's attitude toward his skydiving jumps when he was older than 75.

"She said, 'One way or another this will be your final jump,'" he said.

The Lied Center crowd of about 2,000 people including Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Sen. Sam Brownback was mostly civil, including applauding the former president for saying his son, President George W. Bush, has received unfair treatment from the media during his two terms.

But anti-war hecklers did interrupt Bush's talk three times. Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy had asked them to be civil, but one heckler mentioned "genocide" and "war crimes."

KU Public Safety officers escorted about a half dozen people out of the auditorium for interruptions as most of the crowd booed or tried to hush them.

"I think it was handled appropriately," KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said after the event.

Bush later said that type of criticism usually comes with a political career.

"These guys yelling at me. That doesn't bother me anymore. It just goes with the territory. You have to get used to it," he said.


rhd99 9 years, 5 months ago

I was there folks, those hecklers SUCKED! So did Fred Phelps' group's singing. Otherwise, I agree with imagold, thank you to Mr. Lacy & the Dole Institute for the opportunity to be a part of a once in a lifetime event to see & hear a Former President. Former President Bush is truly an outstanding American.

igby 9 years, 5 months ago

In six months we will find out just how much of a "dufus", Obama is as well. What does Harvard or Yale say about it's Presidents? The blogs are always calling them stupid when they just don't like their policies. If the Ivy league makes our president's stupid dufus-es then god forbid any of you KU people for every becoming president. You couldn't even rise too Dufus-a-socicalosity.

NoSpin 9 years, 5 months ago

There is a time and place for sharing of ideas. This was about a former President who won an award. People were allowed to email questions and several of them were entertained. Mr Lacy did a great job of handling the disrespestful. I think that security waited too long to show them the door.

BigPrune 9 years, 5 months ago

No, the word I will use from now on is "Marxist" that is until Congress passes the "fairness doctrine" and I will be revealed and condemned to silence because of my conservatism.

NoSpin 9 years, 5 months ago

Loggie- nice to see you siding with the hecklers. Can you stop living in your rendition of the past and "move on"? no pun intended. The hecklers were completely disrespectful and were booed out of the place. Luckily for them, the military members in the audience did not escort them out. I have been to many political "interviews" and the only ones who are heckled are RepubiCANS. Anyway, thanking the hecklers and calling them patrioitc shows how out of touch with mainstream America you are.

manus_flexibilis 9 years, 5 months ago

Someone should have asked the former President what he thought of the SLT, possibly more heckling.

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years, 5 months ago

"logrithmic (Anonymous) says: Rightwingers above suggest that rightwingers never heckle those they disagree with. I would suggest rightwingers download the latest movie by Michael Moore called "Slacker Uprising.""I assume when you say "rightwinger" you are (incorrectly)including me since I mentioned the local professional agitator class. Where do I suggest that "rightwingers" never heckle? I can't find anywhere in any post that I've made that suggests "rightwingers" don't heckle. I was simply making an educated guess regarding who would be most likely to lead the freak show at this event. Anyway, I'll wait for you to find evidence to support your point.FYI: I seem to remember the "don't taser me, bro" incident happened at John Kerry event. Somehow, I doubt you consider him a "rightwinger."

TacoBob 9 years, 5 months ago

There is a time and place for all comments. Saying that 'free speech' is any time, any place is trailer park logic (yes I mean TPL, meaning simplistic, 2nd grade, no brain cell, logic). Please, show some class and respect. Interrupting a award ceremony and speech is crass and juvenile. Anarchists would be ashamed......thinking ones anyway....

james bush 9 years, 5 months ago

The Topeka Cap-Journal emphasized the hecklers' interruption!

footballguy49 9 years, 5 months ago

I cannot believe anyone would care to listen to the old guy, hell he almost fell over on the stage.

huskerdo 9 years, 5 months ago

Wow - I don't know about you guys but I was really embarassed to hear the headlines about the the hecklers in Lawrence. Freedom of speech? Come on. Ever heard of 'class'? The hecklers did nothing to strengthen their 'position' (whatever that was) and only looked stupid. The sad thing is they made Lawrence look bad. Why does everyone think they have to have a 'cause'? Hecklers - Don't waste your time or others by attending these events.

rhd99 9 years, 5 months ago

Notnowdear, speaking in a bipartisan tone, Palin & Couric both sucked at it this year. None of them were good at how they spoke about the issues. Palin was not a good choice in this election.

Bob King 9 years, 5 months ago

President Bush was a joy to listen to. As he spoke, for nearly 45 minutes, it was hard to remember at times that he's 84 years old.My wife was happy none of the hecklers were sitting hear us. I would probably have been escorted out, along with the then unconscious heckler, as I would not have tolerated such behavior if one of them was near me.Freedom of speech has it's time and place, and today's venue was not the right place for such uncouth behavior. Much to my dismay, the security that escorted them out did so without the use of a taser.

BenSmith 9 years, 5 months ago

Of course they are entirely different circumstances, as I clearly said in my post. But the particular question is the same. Should free speech be entirely unrestricted - any time any place. Or is the time and place argument relevant. In my opinion sometimes its just not appropriate. As a side note, I would think that todays event was not a "public award", but a private ceremony to which members of the public were invited and offered tickets.

BenSmith 9 years, 5 months ago

I agree with NoSpin. I have no issue with people exercising their rights to free speech, but this was not the time or the place. President Bush was being tremendously respectful towards every person he talked about, whether he agreed with them politically or not. The hecklers those chose to interrupt achieved nothing other than to show themselves as incredibly rude and disrespectful with nothing productive to say other than to shout abusive comments. If these people feel strongly about an issue then there are 101 other far more productive ways to state their case. Personally I was embarrassed by the way they acted. It just really disappoints me that people have to display such total disrespect towards anyone. Not just towards the President but also towards the entire audience who were there trying to listen to the President. In fact rather than acting like rude obnoxious idiots, these people would have done well from listening to the President's comments on public service. If you feel passionate there are many opportunities to state a case and try and make a difference in a far more positive way. Having made my comments, the interruptions were frustrating and embarrassing, but they were brief and handled very well. Im very disappointed anyone, including the Star and Capital Journal as has been noted above, would chose to make these people the focus of the story rather than the great insights shared by the President himself.

JayhawkJon 9 years, 5 months ago

I believe the hecklers knew exactly what they were doing. I don't believe for a moment that they didn't realize how disrespectful they were being...and that's exactly why they did it.Really, their strategy was very smart. If they had stood outside with signs, no one would have paid attention and the media wouldn't have wrote about it (or if they did would bury it deep in the story). But they waited until the event was well under way to make their point, and thus maximizing their media exposure.I bet they could care less that they were speaking face to face with Bush. Like the story said, it doesn't bother him. No, I would imagine the reason behind this was to maximize their audience.The AP story on the event leads with the heckling. So does the Capital-Journal. So tomorrow morning tens of thousands of people will read about what happened. If they had kept the protest outside in all likelihood only the audience would have been exposed to their message.It may be disrespectful, but it's very smart.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 5 months ago

Is the state of Kansas doing research on the hecklers so it can give the media any dirt? Gotta keep up with Ohio....

classclown 9 years, 5 months ago

Logrithmic take your meds. And remember, shiny side out.

rhd99 9 years, 5 months ago

Well, again, Former President Bush did very well. Mr. Bush put it best, in essence, by saying that when you're in politics, you get used to hecklers & naysayers. With that in mind, while not laughing aloud, I was cracking up on the inside when he said that Pres. Bush 43 gets unfair criticism from the national media. In ways he's right, because it's people like Katie Couric who make the media look pretty stupid. Great conversation, folks. Have a nice evening.

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years, 5 months ago

I've got $5 that one of the hecklers was Lauri D Routh, but I wasn't there. Can anyone confirm or deny?

BenSmith 9 years, 5 months ago

As for the right of free speech and some people claiming "time or place" is irrelevant. Extreme example maybe but say you had a son or daughter getting married. Say their ex turned up at the wedding and started shouting their disapproval during the ceremony, ruining it for everyone attending. Would that be ok? Is that them just exercising their right to free speech? Would you justify that too, even if it was your son or daughter's day being ruined? Different circumstances of course, but same basic issue. Im sorry, but while I believe absolutely in the right of free speech I also firmly believe the "time and place" argument should apply. Plus Im not convinced these "protesters" even really know or care what they are shouting about. If they were truly that convicted arent there much more effective ways of trying to make a difference, and much more positive ways. The behavior they display when they act like this simply destroys any credibility they could otherwise have.

TacoBob 9 years, 5 months ago

logrithmic, the black van is rolling up in front of you house as this is being written. There's an open slot at Area 51. Stay calm, resistance is futile.

BigPrune 9 years, 5 months ago

Did the hecklers get arrested? What exactly happens to hecklers after they get escorted away? I remember when Clinton was in power, hecklers would get arrested.

situveux1 9 years, 5 months ago

Nice to see the former president has class, unlike the far-left few in the audience. It'd be nice if Lawrence could be seen as a community that respects speakers no matter what they think of them personally.

imagold 9 years, 5 months ago

I thoroughly enjoyed the hour spent listening to former President Bush. HIs memory is amazing and his sense of humor refreshing. Especially touching was when he talked about his son, Pres. Bush, and how the family can't wait for him to return to their bosom. Regardless of politics, as a parent, I can't imagine the feelings generated as you listen to your child berated and ridiculed day after day. You never stop being a parent. Thanks to the Dole Center for the opportunity to see and hear former Pres. Bush.

BigPrune 9 years, 5 months ago

situveux1, that sounds like you are advocating people should be open minded. Being open minded doesn't apply to the left. It's their way through intimidation or it's the highway.

rhd99 9 years, 5 months ago

I believe in freedom of speech. With that in mind, was Mr. Lacy wrong in how he handled the hecklers? How could that have been handled differently? It was nice to see Former Pres. Bush not lose his sense of humor.

rhd99 9 years, 5 months ago

By the way, by choice, I meant Palin was not the best choice McCain could have made for running mate.

NoSpin 9 years, 5 months ago

Logrithmic keeps the Gitmo chatter up over and over. He/She probably has not been privvy to information that the released terrorists have been rearrested on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oh, I know, they were innocent and since we arrested and tortured them, they then became terrorists. Put your extreme political views aside and do what's right for America. Country first, not self as President Kennedy once proudly implied.

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