- The Washington Times - Friday, September 13, 2002

Rebecca Spanier, golf-pro attendant at the Ogallala Country Club in Ogallala, Neb., says she had been a "little leery" of a pre-emptive U.S. military strike against Iraq before listening to President Bush's speech at the United Nations yesterday.

Ms. Spanier said the president convinced her it is necessary to stop Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein before he uses a weapon of mass destruction. She liked the way Mr. Bush identified all of Saddam's previous violations of U.N. resolutions, and she expressed confidence the United States will succeed if it does take military action to remove the Iraqi dictator.

"I thought it was a great speech that was right to the point. What's more, he made me feel secure," Ms. Spanier said in a telephone interview yesterday.

She watched Mr. Bush's speech before leaving for work yesterday morning and concluded he is "handling this whole situation just great."

There were some cheers at Steve's Barbershop in Peoria, Ill., after Mr. Bush completed his remarks in which he outlined the administration's case against Saddam.

"I felt the speech was short, sweet and to the point. It was wonderful. We had about a half-dozen people in here when the speech was on, and everybody really seemed to agree with what the president had to say," said shop owner Steve Bainter.

The opinions of Mr. Bainter and Ms. Spanier mirrored those of nationally syndicated radio news talk-show host Rush Limbaugh.

"I'm proud to be an American and proud to be a conservative," said Mr. Limbaugh, who called Mr. Bush's speech "amazing."

Like Ms. Spanier, Mr. Limbaugh praised Mr. Bush for "listing every violation" of U.N. sanctions that Saddam has committed since agreeing to comply with them after his defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

"That alone is enough to shut that country down," said Mr. Limbaugh, who is heard locally on WMAL-AM.

He said Mr. Bush gave a strong performance. "Rather than making his case to the U.N., he went to the U.N. and gave them one last chance [to fulfill their responsibilities] or he'll do" what he wants to do, Mr. Limbaugh said.

Mr. Limbaugh ridiculed Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and other Democrats, who have been demanding that Mr. Bush show them more evidence that Saddam poses an immediate threat.

"The worst thing the Democrats could have done was to say, 'show us,'" Mr. Limbaugh said.

He predicted Mr. Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, would be beseiged by an administration campaign in the coming weeks documenting Saddam's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Bush's speech to the United Nations was just the "first installment," Mr. Limbaugh said.

Judi Linz, a Democrat who serves as bartender at the Dundalk American Legion post near Baltimore, said she watched the speech yesterday.

"[Mr. Bush] gave me the feeling we're going to war, that it's inevitable He made a strong case" for getting rid of Saddam, said Ms. Linz.

She added: "I wasn't for Bush, when he was running for president. But since September 11, he's done almost everything right."

But at least a dozen other people reached at small businesses across the country yesterday said they did not hear the president's speech so they could not comment. "I had no time for that, sorry," said a man who answered the phone at the Foggy Bottom Brew Pub at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Neal Martin, owner of the Live Oak Pharmacy in Live Oak, Texas, a suburb of San Antonio, said he did not watch the speech, and none of his customers yesterday mentioned it.


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