August 23rd, 2007
08:55 AM ET
13 years ago

President Bush's forgotten state?

Watch CNN's John King report on Bush's forgotten state.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vermont is a picture perfect place - its rivers and mountains and covered bridges are a draw to some 10 million visitors a year.

Yet, the Green Mountain State is the forgotten place in the crowded travelogue of President Bush - the only state he has failed to visit in his presidency.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders - a self described socialist - is a fierce Bush critic whether the issue is the Iraq war, the economy, or climate change. Callers to his office, Sanders says, often demand that the president be impeached.

But Sanders all but dares Bush to visit, saying he would benefit from sitting down with his critics. His Senate Web site even displays a banner with the headline "Bush stays away from Vermont."

"If he comes up in the fall – he can see the changing of the leaves,” Sanders told CNN. β€œHe'll have a good visit.”

"[He] might be able to learn something," he added. "This president will probably go down in history as the least popular president in history of this country - he should go forward and find out why that is so."

But University of Vermont political science professor Garrison Nelson sees no upside in the president paying a visit to Vermonters.

"It is a photo opportunity he does not need," Nelson said. "I cannot imagine any assemblage in the state of Vermont that would give him an unalloyed positive reception."

Bush lost big there in 2000 and again in 2004. The war is enormously unpopular, and the state Senate even adopted a symbolic resolution last April calling for his impeachment.

But it's not all personal, Nelson says.

"When the Republican Party moved South and West, you know towards the sun belt and of course toward Christian conservatism, it lost Vermonters."

Vermont does have a Republican governor, Jim Douglas, but he is a throwback to the moderate breed of Republicanism that once thrived across New England. Douglas notes the first President Bush visited Vermont last among the 50 states, and predicts the son will do the same - despite his low popularity.

"He can take it," Douglas said of a potential Vermont visit. "He has certainly taken a lot of hostility and tough questions and I am sure he can do that here."

But some Vermonters do get to meet the president themselves.

Regina Gilbert traveled to Fort Bragg, North Carolina to meet the president in 2005 –her only child, Kyle, was killed in Iraq on August 6, 2003. Vermont has lost two dozen soldiers in Iraq - the highest in per capita death tolls - more than reason enough Gilbert says for the president to visit.

"He asked me something that surprised me: does it ever get easier?" Gilbert said. "And I just looked at him and looked at my husband and said absolutely not. I said this is a hole in my heart and it is always going to be there."

- CNN Chief National Correspondent John King

Filed under: President Bush • Vermont
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Mike Lambert

    Vermont?? Who cares??

    August 22, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Terry Shea

    Vermonters should consider themselves lucky. He's been to New Jersey, where I live, and just knowing that he was in my state creeped me out.

    August 22, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. Bill Hudgins

    As reported by WPTZ in Plattsburgh, the temporary ban on public nudity has been lifted in Brattleboro. Perhaps Mr. Bush is afraid to go to Vermont, because then everyone would see the emperor has no clothes.

    August 22, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. yankee X Vermonter

    Vermont has been run by flatlanders for the past 20 years there are no Real
    Vermonters left so who care if Bush comes to Vermont or not

    August 22, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Bill, Albany NY

    I really feel bad for Vermont as they have good family values overtaken by aging Hippies and borderline criminals who want to use the state as a political experiment.

    Bush should not show in Vermont, because it really would be pointless to do so. "Hey, we hate you, come on by for dinner" just rings as wrong in anyones ears.

    All said though, I will trade Sanders for Clinton, maybe we can make a deal.

    August 22, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Dave, Newfane, Vermont

    I see a great many comments here by "real" Vermonters. Are we not all "Real" Americans? I am disgusted with the constant bickering of "Liberal" vs "Conservative." We are all a part of this country, and as such are honored to live in a land protected by our freedoms as guaranteed in the Constitution. I do not care whether the President visits or not. If he does, I will welcome him to dinner. If he does not, I will go on with my life, working to pay the bills and building a better life for myself and my family.
    The whining must end. Are we an alliance of free individuals, or an opposed group of whining hypocrites?
    The President is no American's enemy. He is ruled by corporate leaders, just as we all are. Wake up people!

    August 22, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. Chris Johnson

    Oh, is Vermont still apart of the United States. I thought it became a province in Candada, with all the libs and all. I'm glad Bush doesn't visit, in fact I wouldn't ever visit there.

    August 22, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    This is for Anne who commented that our country was once beautiful. Well, it is still beautiful so if you don't like it, hurry up and leave. This country doesn't need any more idiots than we already have. In fact, if all the libs left it would be such a wonderous place.

    August 22, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Former Vermonter

    I lived in Vermont for many years, and I'm so happy to get out. You have high taxes, no jobs to offer college grads (that's why everybody leaves after they graduate UVM), and a terrible liberal/politcal system.

    Because of this, Vermont is left with 3 types of people:
    1) young liberals who preach tolerance, but they only tolerate their own views

    2)old Vermonters who don't want the state to change,

    3)a slew of people in between that can never make real progress because of both sides screwing it up for them.

    I'm glad Vermont spends so much time on trying to get rid of Bush, when you can't even fix your own state. How's IBM doing? How about Act 60? I would be surprised if Vermont is still a state in 30 years.

    August 22, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. paollucci

    Bush is so ignorant and dumn that he probably thinks Vermont is part of Canada. Maybe that's what the Vermonters should do allien with the Canadians,

    August 22, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Ani, Vermont

    Well- I guess I consider it an honor that he has not visited here. He is likely well aware of the reception he would receive. Of course I'd love to see him at a "Bread & Puppet" performance-I bet they could be persuaded to put on a special one just for him πŸ™‚

    August 22, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. FMann, San Antonio

    Are YOU the bright & shining example of the tolerant and educated in our country? - Posted By Jon, Sacramento

    Jon from Sacramento and loosing Kings, did Bob from San Francisco press a few buttons with his sarcasm?

    I know how much this must hurt. For the past six years I've argued that GW was wrong. Each time I got the same right wing response that somehow tried to compare Clinton's actions with Monica to the reason why we can't find WMD.

    Keep tossing Clinton into the mix here folks I'm sure you will find a reason to pin the war on him or his wife.

    Personally none of these people running are worth the time it takes to vote for them. Like Jack Nickelson said in Batman, "This town needs and enema!" You can replace town for country in our case.

    But the problem is that Americans probably won't vote for someone new who isn't an insider for at least the next 20 years. But by then it will be too late.

    Impeach the GW bunch and allow the UN to put them on trial for war crimes against humanity! Do it now to wait for his term to end will be too late!

    August 22, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Man, the bar keeps getting lower and lower at CNN.

    August 22, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Tricia, Cincinnati, OH

    I lived in Vermont for 2 years. Even after moving there from NYC, I found it radical, unreasonable, confrontational and anti-establishment. I don't blame him. He probably knows that there's nothing he can say that would touch Vermonters.

    August 22, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. C. M. Dozier, Chesapeake, Virginia

    I BLACKLISTED Vermont years ago....hippy haven that has forgotten it's part of the United they want to suceeed...might be a good idea. I doubt they would last long more bovines than about greenhouse gas.
    The President is better off staying away from communist and socialist and I'll take my travel dollars and spend them in Florida!

    August 22, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Tim, Boston, MA

    Good. Go clear some more brush in your polluted dump of a state.

    August 22, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. Tyler, Minneapolis, MN

    W could have went to Vermont yesterday instead of my state, Minnesoata. He flew in for a private fundraiser for senator Coleman. He had our two major E and W arteries shut down for his motorcade during rush hour in a metro that lost our N and S due to the bridge collapse . Traffic had nowhere to go. Nice.

    August 22, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Chris (born in VT) Atlanta, GA

    He probably won't go because he thinks he'll need a passport.

    Presidents do not visit Vermont. We are the red headed step-child of the United States and that is the way we like it. It is unfair to call W out on this. But I accept all mudslingings.

    August 22, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. Ken Brown, Altus, Ok

    President Bush is right in not visiting Vermont. When you have Senators like Sanders and Leahy and an ex-Gov like Howard Dean, who in their right mind would want to visit Vermont? They have good maple syrup and honey, but that's about it.

    August 22, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. Proud Flatlander, Middlebury, VT

    I am shocked at the poster who suggested Vermonters would boo a soldier? That's surprising, given that Vermont has more serving guardsmen (and resulting losses) per capita than any other state. Bush is just afraid that if he comes here, he'll be implicitly endorsing civil unions and his masculinity will be threatened.

    August 22, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  21. Jim, Rushville IN (economic expat)

    Sorry, Roger from Brattleboro, but it takes seven generations born and buried to be a native woodchuck.

    August 22, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. JK College Station Texas

    Who cares it's what.....It is not just our President that I am unhappy with but it is also our Congress and Senate. The Democrates in control now are terrible. They are just sitting up there trying to make a name for themselves. GOD help us if Hillary is elected.

    August 22, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. Bob Stein, Nashville, Tennessee

    To Mr. Flowers of Texas, What more do you want? You made the statement, that Vermont has never contributed anything to this country. Man oh need to leave Rush Limberger alone and get a reality check? The article stated that Vermont has the highest deaths per capita in the U.S. of soldiers killed in Iraq. What in the world were you thinking, when you made your comment. Perhaps you can explain your logic, to the poor mother who went to North Carolina to talk to Bush about her sons death.

    Are the right wing nut cases that callous and unseeing, that they can't say, enough is enough. Please, no more killings.

    Maybe since it is such a small state, your logic is, that a death of someone from there, does not equal a death from somewhere with a larger population like Texas.

    And to the guy from Nebraska, living in yesterday, talking about Clinton visiting Nebraska twice in his presidency, what in the world does that have to do with anything that is going on now? Were there any bodies coming home to Nebraska from Iraq during Clinton's term?

    August 22, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. Anne, Brattleboro VT

    I wonder how much people actually know about Vermont as they quickly write off some of these comments. Yes, Vermont is still a part of the United States. People want to know what Vermont's done for the US and the impact its had, just look back at Jim Jeffords. He changed from a Republican to an Independent, and changed the whole balance of power in the Senate. I'd say that had a impact.

    As for it being full of hippies and rednecks and whatever else are claiming, people may want to relook into that. Many well to do families, including old politicians, movie stars and lawyers are retiring and settling in Vermont. I wouldn't call them hippies.

    Bush shouldn't ignore Vermont just because the majority of the people don't agree with his politics. At the end of the day, it's still part of the United States and he has an obligation to the people just like he does in every other state. If he continues to ignore Vermont like he has been, it's just another way he is failing the country.

    August 22, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. Frank Jupiter / Salt Lake City, UT

    I Love You Vermont !!!

    August 22, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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