Reaction mixed to presidential address

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2001

Some reaction from around the nation to President Bush's address to Congress on Thursday night:

''Our country needed something to bring it together, and look at the people in the Congress. Have you ever seen Democrats and Republicans together? We need a common denominator. We've got one. We've been assaulted and we've been hurt. People who are hurt come together.'' -- Nancy Williams, 57, of Kansas City, Kan., who took a break from her work as a hotel security guard to watch the presidential address from a television in the Brasserie Bar & Cafe in the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City.

''He is trying to tie in other countries, and make this an international incident, not just one in the U.S. -- which is great.''

-- Russ Kleisner, 42, a medical supply sales rep from Chicago watching the speech with a crowd at Quinton's Bar and Deli in Iowa City, Iowa.

''I think he was too comprehensive with demands that will not be met. He asked for the world and he will not be given the world.'' -- Joe Calhoun, 46, a patent attorney who watched at a sports bar at the Embassy Suites hotel in Little Rock.

''This is the only time I ever remember focusing so intently on a presidential speech and feeling a little bit choked up, not my usual cynical, political reaction.'' Gordon Turner, a financial services worker, who watched in the television department of a store in downtown Portland, Ore.

''He made it clear. It's war, and we're ready.'' -- Paivi Stahlberg, 29, a receptionist who watched at home in Tustin, Calif., with her husband, Darin Stahlberg. She noted that children normally playing at the apartment complex were silent during the speech.

''Afghanistan is a poor country. And bombing them will just make them poorer. It's big-stick diplomacy and I'm not sure if it's appropriate, given the nature of this conflict.'' -- Michael Miller, a financial analyst who played pinochle in a Detroit bar while keeping one ear on the radio.

''I was real impressed. ... In a society that is divided in so many ways, it unified us, not only as Americans, but as lovers of freedom.'' -- Lee Ussery, 27, at a restaurant in Montgomery, Ala.

''Before he spoke, there were things that I feared, doubts that I had. I think after listening to his speech I had a resolve. I had peace. And I felt comfort.'' -- Debra Menuez, 40, a property manager from Castle Rock, Colo., who listened in a Denver bar.

''I'd like to hear a little bit more about this compensation package. I was expecting a little bit more from the president about the airline thing.''

-- Victoria Carlyle Stough, 32, a waitress in Miami with investments in Delta Air Lines, which Thursday said there would be layoffs because of lost business since the terrorist attacks.

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