- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 31, 2008

President Bush isn’t likely to stay up to say goodbye to 2008, but he’ll rise before sunup Thursday to greet 2009.

“I think he’s more likely to be an early riser for the first of the new year, rather than to see the old year out,” said White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, briefing reporters at the president’s Texas ranch for the last time in the Bush presidency.

Mr. Bush and first lady Laura Bush have made a tradition over the last eight years of taking a sunrise walk on the Crawford ranch each Jan. 1.

“It’s something they’ve always enjoyed doing and look forward to doing tomorrow,” Mr. Johndroe said.

He said Mr. and Mrs. Bush would spend “a quiet New Year’s Eve on the ranch” with some long time friends from Texas.

Speaking in front of a blue cloth backdrop hung in the auditorium of Crawford Elementary School, Mr. Johndroe waxed sentimental as he wound down the last briefing with reporters at “The Western White House.”

“This is my last briefing from here. It is probably my last briefing from here forever,” he said.

“We’ll always have fond memories of everything that took place here in Crawford during the presidency, from all the various world leader meetings and standing in an auditorium, I think, with Tony Blair one time and Vladimir Putin one time here speaking to the schoolchildren of Crawford, Texas,” Mr. Johndroe said.

The Crawford ranch, he said, “was a place they could come and relax, get out of the spotlight a little bit — although the presidency follows you everywhere.”

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