Sunday, July 31, 2005

Bush finally meets up with Boy Scouts

It was Bush's third attempt to travel to Fort A.P. Hill, the Army base hosting the Jamboree where Scouts are trying to end their 10-day gathering with cheery memories of mountain biking, fishing, scuba diving and trading patches with newfound Scouting friends across the nation.

On Wednesday, scouting enthusiasts waited hours in the heat for Bush, who later canceled his appearance because of threatening storms. Scouts began collapsing from high humidity and temperatures in the high 90s. More than 300 people were treated for heat-related illnesses.

Bush's second attempt to visit the Jamboree was postponed from Thursday at the Scouts' request. Officials wanted to review safety procedures for large crowds and replenish water and other supplies.

The appearance came as the press is raising questions about Bush's own Scout service. While records confirm that Bush was a Cub Scout in good standing, there is no record of Bush completing his Aviation Merit Badge or his Citizenship Badge, or attending any meetings with his local troop.

The White House staunchly defended Bush's record as a member of the Boy Scout Reserves.

"The President was ready, willing and able to serve in the active Boy Scouts, had the need arisen," Scott McClellan asserted. "But he wasn't needed, and like Vice President Cheney, he had other priorities."


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