Skip to comments.Bush, Howard plant tree
Posted on 05/14/2006 6:23:22 PM PDT by Aussie Dasher
US President George W Bush has thanked Prime Minister John Howard for his strong support in the war against terrorism as the two leaders planted a tree in the grounds of the Australian ambassador's residence in Washington.
Calling Mr Howard his dear friend, Mr Bush said the tree an American elm grown from a direct cutting from an elm planted at the White House in 1826 by President John Quincy Adams was a symbol of the enduring friendship between the two countries.
Struggling in the polls, with his personal popularity languishing at 29 per cent as concern about the war in Iraq grows, Mr Bush seemed genuinely pleased to see Mr Howard and his wife Janette as he stepped out of his armour-plated limousine with his own wife Laura.
Grasping a specially made silver shovel, Mr Bush clowned for the cameras before throwing an energetic spadeful of soil around the roots of the young tree, which was planted about two weeks ago.
Mr Howard also joked with waiting journalists "My name isn't Kennett" as he dug the shovel into the topsoil a reference to former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett who once tossed a spadeful of sand at reporters.
Laura Bush and Janette Howard also threw shovelfuls of earth around a second tree, a southern magnolia grown from a seed of the President Andrew Jackson magnolias planted at the White House between 1829 and 1837.
Both trees were gifts from Mr Bush to Australia.
The two leaders then addressed the small crowd of about 50 invited guests, including Mr Howard's son Richard.
"I can't thank you enough, John, for your strong support for the liberty agenda, your desire for the world to be a peaceful place," Mr Bush told Mr Howard.
Mr Howard, who was urged today by actress Susan Sarandon to pull out of Iraq, said that the Bushes were welcome "on this piece of Australian soil in Washington".
The same lawn was where Mr Howard committed Australia to stand side by side with the United States in the war on terror on September 12, 2001 the day after the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
"That resolve is as strong now as it was on the 12th of September 2001," Mr Howard said.
"These trees are a wonderful symbol of that friendship."
The Adams Elm, I thnk, is a seedling from an elm that stood in the WH grounds from the earliest days of the nation. A fitting gift to our Aussie friends.
Howard is a great friend.
He understand the real and serious threat terrorist pose to the entire world.
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