Wilfong came to Chippewa Falls Wednesday to hear President George W.
Bush talk about people. Orlin Larson made the trip because Bush is "his
man." And Bruce Dressel traveled across town because it was an
opportunity to see a sitting president.
Thousands of people
converged on Kell Container to see the president. Their reasons for
making the trip to the grounds of the manufacturing company were as
different as the people themselves.
Wilfong, of Bloomer, ran across the parking lot towards a group of friends waving his arms.
"I was about five feet from him," Wilfong said of the president. "He was signing autographs -- lots of them."
As Bush walked by, Wilfong reached out his hand hoping to receive a handshake, a handshake that never came.
that's all right. I'm just excited to get to hear his speech," he said.
"He nailed what America is all about. America's about people, not
government, and I think his message hit home with everyone."
Bob Crosby called the president's visit incredible. And Crosby means the whole visit, not just the speech.
works for Kell Container and had spent a better part of the week moving
semi-trailers around the perimeter of the Kell plant.
"It was a lot of work for all of us, but well worth it," he said. He also said he was moved by Bush's message.
"I'd like to think we're all better off with him, and time will tell," he said.
and Dana Barone of Chippewa Falls brought their entire family to see
the president. That was no easy chore, considering that meant he and
his wife were keeping track of six children, ranging in age from 8 1/2
years to 2 1/2 months.
"Unless they become president, this is probably going to be a lifetime thing for them," said Dana.
coming to see what he talks about," Michael said. "If he talks
pro-life, we're probably going to vote for him. I think he's been
superb in everything he's done so far."
Like the Barones, Dressel also brought young members of his family to see the president.
"I brought my two grandsons so they could see a sitting president," the Chippewa Falls man said.
"It was pretty cool," said Tyler Dressel, 16. "The excitement was more than I thought it would be."
was very good. He gave a good speech," said Tyler's grandfather, who
also saw Bush's father when the 41st president made a train ride
through town on Halloween night of 1992.
"Every time a president is here speaking I want to see him," Dressel said.
Brown of Chippewa Falls is a lifelong Republican who won't be changing
her stance for this election. But for her this was more than about
"It's an honor to see the president," said Brown, who also saw the first President Bush.
will mean he's interested in small towns," Brown said of the current
president's visit to Chippewa Falls. "The fact that he is a religious
man is important to me."
She did believe that this election might be more partisan than previous elections.
a lot more negative campaigning going on, especially by the opposition
party. Republicans are a little more honest," Brown said.
Larson, of Osseo, intends to cast a vote for Bush for the fourth time in November.
"Fourth time?" Larson was asked.
voted for Bush in 2000 and twice for governor," said Larson, who moved
to the Chippewa Valley from Texas. "I voted for his father, too."
When asked what brought him to Chippewa Falls, Larson responded with a simple answer.
"George, George, George. George Bush is my man," said the retired postman.
Larson said the Chippewa Valley needs Bush to remain its president.
is a good labor area with lots of unions and I'd say it's about 99
percent Democrat. The Democrats say they're for the people, but then
they tax the (expletive) out of you," he said.
"That John Kerry,
he's probably a nice guy, but he ain't my kind of politics. Now George
Bush, I think his tax breaks have helped. No, I know they have," Larson
Kay McGill of New Auburn wasn't judging the Bush/Cheney
ticket by campaign issues Wednesday. She had some concerns about what
she considered a lack of organization concerning the event.
"I love George Bush, but if organization were a deciding factor in the election, Bush better pack his bags," McGill said.