- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2005

A waitress at a family restaurant in Essex, Md., says she “loves” President Bush and watched his inauguration yesterday, but thinks it is “ridiculous” to have so much to-do over a second inaugural.

Dawn Frye also suggested Mr. Bush’s pledge in his inaugural address to fight and eradicate terror and evil wherever it lurks raised red flags with her as well. “That’s what they said about Vietnam,” a war that dragged on and on, she said.

Meanwhile, at Steve’s Barbershop in Peoria, Ill., co-owner Steve Bainter said he and nearly everyone in his shop were impressed with Mr. Bush’s speech.

“The only ones who didn’t like it were a few liberals. We have one, who is sitting in here right now, seething,” Mr. Bainter said in a telephone interview.

Melissa Ward, owner of Sisters Bakery in Sisters, Ore., said the inaugural events reminded her of the crowning of a monarch. She said she found it unsuitable for the “president of a democracy to be treated that way.”

Ms. Ward, who made clear she is not pleased with Mr. Bush as president, said she sponsored a food drive yesterday to help those in need in her community, who she says are suffering as a result of the Bush tax cuts.

But Alan Matthews, director of business recruitment for the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce in North Carolina, praised Mr. Bush and his inaugural performance. “I’m pleased he is someone who is not afraid to make the tough decisions in this tough world in which we live,” he said.

Cianna Leatherwood, a senior at the University of California at Berkeley, said she was volunteering in the student affairs office yesterday when Mr. Bush took the oath of office, so she did not see the ceremony.

“I would have watched it, although I would have preferred if John Kerry took office,” Miss Leatherwood said. She added that more Berkeley students preferred Mr. Bush’s Democratic challenger but insists “there are definitely some Bush supporters here.”

Told that Mr. Bush pledged in his speech to continue the war on terror until its completion, Miss Leatherwood said: “Of course he did.”

Some who heard Mr. Bush’s speech noted that although he did not specifically mention the ongoing fighting in Iraq, he said the nation cannot abandon some missions that could be long and difficult.

Mr. Bainter said Mr. Bush “did the right thing” by not addressing Iraq. “Today, it was all about us, the American people,” he said.

Judy Linz, a bartender at the American Legion Post in Dundalk, near Baltimore, said members there found the inaugural “uneventful and turned it off.”

“I’m all for Bush, but I think the inaugural, with all the balls and gowns, is a waste of money,” especially because this was the second one for Mr. Bush, she said.

Ms. Linz said she feels that way especially now, in the aftermath of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean region, and because of “all the people here who have no health insurance.”

She said many veterans who belong to the Dundalk American Legion post are retired from Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point. “They lost their health insurance” when the plant folded, she said.

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