Letter to Editor: A great American

To the Editor:

With accolades pouring in from around the world, I cannot help but add a brief story about the time I spent with then-Vice President George H. W. Bush during his run for president.

I had been complaining (a little too loudly it seems) that his campaign was losing traction because of his unwillingness to step away from President Reagan and be his own person. My criticism was overheard by someone who later invited me to come to the campaign office to speak with some of the “campaign officials.”

Upon arrival I was ushered to a van that took me and two other critics to the Naval Observatory, at the time the Bush residence. A few minutes after we arrived, the vice president came in from the tennis court and said, “Barbara won’t let me sit on the furniture when I’m sweaty, so I’m gonna sit on the floor and you three can join me down here. I understand that you fellows are not happy with the way I’m running my campaign, so why don’t you just tell me what’s on your minds.”

Each of us had our say, and he then went into quite some detail about his plans for the rest of the campaign and his presidency. It was extremely impressive.

About then a large bowl of peanuts and a pitcher of iced tea arrived and for the next half hour we just sat on the floor chatting with a man who made us all feel as though we were with a good friend. He could not have been more gracious, attentive, and appreciative. This experience confirmed for me that he is one of the greatest Americans I have ever had the privilege of meeting. His compassion, integrity, and civility stand tall in my mind as an example for all of us, especially in these times of such painful discord.

Fred Benson


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