President Bush spends day in Chicago

Bush visits Chicago school
January 7, 2008 4:09:49 PM PST
Mayor Richard Daley welcomed President Bush to Chicago Monday for a one day visit. The president talked about schools, Olympics and the economy during his tour of the city.

His first stop was an elementary school where he touted his No Child Left Behind program. From there the mayor accompanied the president to the Union League Club for discussions about Chicago's Olympic bid and the nation's economy.

For years, President Bush only talked about the economy's strength's. But Monday, he admitted that it's performance is shaky. Bush believes the answer is keeping taxes low. The president was more positive about Chicago's Olympic bid and the No Child Left Behind Act.

Greeted by police on horseback and Secret Service on the roof, students at Horace Greeley Elementary School, 832 W. Sheridan, returned from their Christmas vacation to find themselves part of history. President Bush chose this North Side Chicago public school to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the controversial No Child Left Behind Act.

"One reason this school is a Blue Ribbon school, it is not afraid of accountability. It views the accountability system as a tool to enhance excellence. And so do I," said the president.

Under No Child Left Behind, schools get federal money in return for high test scores in math and reading. Greeley Elementary is in Congressman Rahm Emanuel's district. He told the president Monday a successful school is not all about high test scores.

"He said he would like to reauthorize leave no child behind. I said you just can't test kids for math, you gotta also test them for measles. And I disagree with your veto of the children's health care bill," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, (D) 5th District.

Although he is a critic of President Bush's policies, Emanuel spent the day with the president, which included a meeting with Mayor Daley and the members of the Chicago Olympic planning committee.

"Mr. Mayor, you and your committee have put together a great plan. It's a plan that will make America proud," Bush said.

The president made more remarks about the Chicago Olympic bids before a gathering of business leaders at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson.

Before talking about the economy, Bush reminded the crowd that Winston Churchill has spoken at the club.

"When people think of Churchill, of course they marvel at what he managed to with the English language. When people think of me," the president said.

The tone turned more serious when the president acknowledged that the economy is causing great anxiety.

"We confront economic challenges, from the downturn of the housing sector, to high energy prices, to painful adjustments in some of the financial markets."

President Bush says the key to keeping the economy strong is to make his tax cuts permanent. The president scheduled his speech in an attempt to calm fears that his administration would stand by and let the economy slip.

As for the Olympic bid, it was the president who asked to be briefed on the plans.

The president's visit brought out several anti-war demonstrators. Four were arrested outside of the Union League Club during a clash with police.

Just moments after President Bush walked off Air Force One, he presented Lou Parochelli the president's "Volunteer Service Award."

Parochelli volunteers every week at the USO "Home Away From Home" center at O'Hare. He greets and cares for US service members who are on layovers or are stranded at the airport. Since 2005, Parochelli has logged more than 1,200 hours working at the USO center.