President Bush will be in Charleston hours after the Democratic candidates debate
CHARLESTON, South Carolina (CNN) - Guess who’s coming to town just hours after eight Democratic presidential candidates finish beating him up? None other than the commander-in-chief, himself, President Bush.
Bush will deliver a speech at the Charleston Air Force Base Tuesday, which is just down the road from the Citadel where CNN is partnering with YouTube to broadcast a presidential debate Monday night. The candidates are expected to use the national forum to continue criticizing Bush for his execution of the Iraq war.
He will also meet with military personnel during his visit and view the loading of military cargo planes headed to Iraq.
The White House isn’t saying if the president will definitely speak about the war, but presidential spokesman Tony Snow says it is likely to come up. The visit will also give Bush the opportunity to respond to any criticism lobbed at him by Democrats the night before.
The president was invited to Charleston by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has stood by Bush on the president's most controversial initiative: immigration reform. Bush's visit to the Palmetto State comes as a new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows that his approval rating is 35 percent in the state. In 2004, Bush won South Carolina with 58 percent of the vote.
- Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser