Lindsey Smith just sent in this quote from former president George Bush's talk today in Grand Rapids:
"Like in '44 if somebody in Grand Rapids, Michigan said 'I predict someday America and Japan will stand shoulder to shoulder to enhance mutual security' they would have said 'what a hopeless, idealistic nut-job you are'. But democracy transformed an enemy to an ally. I know it sounds far-fetched for some that people want to be free in the Middle East and that freedom will take hold - I think it will."
Update 3:53 pm
The event with George W. Bush in Grand Rapids just wrapped up and reporter Lindsey Smith called in with some of her highlights from the talk:
- Bush's opening line - "Most people didn't think I couldn't read a book, much less write one."
- Bush said after his presidency it was like going from 100 mph to 10 mph and he had to figure out what to do with all his extra time
- About the firing of Donald Rumsfeld Bush said that his relationship with him had gone from one of "creative tension" to one of "destructive tension."
- About 9/11 and the decision to go into Iraq Bush said that it was a bold move that had to be made. He was disappointed that no WMDs were found. He also says that 9/11 changed his mind about preemptive strikes. If he hadn't done it, he believes there would have been a dangerous nuclear arms race between Iran and Iraq.
- Bush says he's still in touch with Condoleezza Rice, but doesn't talk much with Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld.
- He said he doesn't judge Barack Obama, and won't be pulled into criticizing or commenting on him and his presidency.
Update 12:42 pm:
Our reporter at the event, Lindsey Smith, says Secret Service told the media that laptops are not allowed. So, it might be that we have to wait for updates until after the former President speaks.
This is the former President's second visit to Grand Rapids this year. He attended the Economic Club of Grand Rapids in June.