- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Congress’ investigative agency won’t look at the costs of President Bush’s “Top Gun” flight to an aircraft carrier to declare an end to major fighting in Iraq.

Comptroller General David Walker, head of the General Accounting Office, said yesterday it would cost too much and take too long to do the study.

He also would have to look at similar actions by other presidents and possibly federal lawmakers “in order to do this kind of work in a professional, objective, nonpartisan, fair and balanced manner,” Mr. Walker said.

“In my view, it does not pass a cost-benefit test,” he said.

Requests were submitted by Reps. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat and ranking member of the House Government Reform Committee, and Mark Souder, Indiana Republican and chairman of a Government Reform subcommittee.

Mr. Bush, who was a pilot with the Texas National Guard during the Vietnam War, landed aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln off San Diego in a Navy S-3B Viking jet. Wearing a flight suit, with his flight helmet under his arm, Mr. Bush hopped onto the flight deck and walked among the gathered sailors, welcoming them home from the Iraq war.

Some Democrats including Mr. Waxman called the trip political rather than presidential.

“To me, it is an affront to the Americans killed or injured in Iraq for the president to exploit the trappings of war for the momentary spectacle of a speech,” said Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat.

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