There was a lot of attention on the fact that George W. Bush sat in a classroom in Florida for several minutes after hearing that a second plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, at which point it was reported that he was told, "The nation is under attack." He sat in the classroom continuing to read a book with the children, then left in order to gain information on what had happened. The republicans claim that the reason he sat for those minutes was out of concern for the kids, not wanting to frighten them. First of all, there were a million different ways he could have excused himself without frightening the children. He could have said, "Pardon me, but I need to step out for a second." Would that have frightened the children? Another way would be to simply lean towards the teacher and whisper, "I'll have to cut our visit short" at which point the teacher could simply stop reading and ask the class to thank him for being there. That doesn't seem like it would frighten the kids. So that excuse is ignorant at best, and the republicans were surely banking on that including children would give the excuse credibility and would show compassion. There is another major hole in their defense, Bush gave his first public address on the issue at the school, in the gym. Present were the entire faculty and student body. After Bush made the announcement of two planes hitting the WTC, the students standing behind him, who looked like 4th or 5th graders, were obviously shocked and scared. This fact seems to have been totally ignored. It is a fact, check it out for yourselves, it can be found by looking at the initial news coverage of the attacks.
I'm not a supporter of Bush or his administration, but I don't think so much should have been made out of him sitting there for several minutes. I sat in shock, as did most Americans I'm sure, and was speechless for a while. He must have felt like everyone else, and had to take a few minutes to collect his thoughts. He shouldn't have been attacked for having a typical human reaction.