Wednesday, April 14, 2004


President Bush, fulfilling a 15-month-old promise, jogged around the South Lawn yesterday with a soldier who had been badly wounded in Afghanistan.

During a Jan. 17, 2003, visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Mr. Bush met Staff Sgt. Michael McNaughton of Denham Springs, La.

On Jan. 8, Sgt. McNaughton, a member of the Louisiana National Guard, had stepped on a land mine 30 miles north of Kabul. His right leg had to be removed above the knee, he lost two fingers on his right hand and he suffered shrapnel wounds in his left leg.

The president and Sgt. McNaughton had talked about running, and Mr. Bush promised to run with the soldier when he was “fully recovered and able to run with his prosthetic leg,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

Mr. Bush has been plagued by knee troubles but has been doing light running in recent weeks, Mr. McClellan said. “He’s following his doctor’s advice to just do it as he can,” Mr. McClellan said.

The president has been doing more bicycling, and went on some bicycle rides while at his Crawford, Texas, ranch last week, Mr. McClellan said.

The track on the South Lawn, installed by President Clinton and upgraded during Mr. Bush’s term, is covered by a shock-absorbing material.

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