It wasn’t the sort of set speech that presidents normally read, bobblehead bouncing between two teleprompters. Holding a hand microphone, Mr. Bush walked around a stage before a few thousand people giving a largely extemporaneous talk on Iraq and his presidency. It was mesmerizing. One kept expecting Mr. Bush, whose deepest supporters despair at his inarticulateness, to stumble into the underbrush of confused facts or argument to nowhere. Never happened. Not once. For over an hour, it was nothing but net.
OK, it wasn’t Demosthenes, but it was George W. Bush at his Everyman best. The same George Bush who, when televised in front of the White House news corps comes across as a smart aleck, poured off the cable-news screens from Wheeling as a relaxed, buoyant, passionate evangelist for his presidency’s most deeply held ideas–political freedom, military pre-emption and playing not to the polls but for the verdict of history.