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Monday, June 19, 2006

Notes from the Trail

Geneseo Illinois, Father's Day 2006:

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Dennis Hastert was in Geneseo to do a little campaigning and to ride his fire truck in the big annual parade. The Speaker also held a reception at the park gazebo, talking with the long lines who
waited to welcome him to town, or to get a signature on his book or their visor, or to give him a piece of their mind. It was politics American-style served up Americana-fashion, right along with the cookies and lemonade.

What could possibly better represent our nation than when a high school wrestling coach becomes the third most powerful man in the entire United States? And when that man represents our neighboring district, the 14th, in Congress? When he wrestles now with national issues and world affairs; but then grabs the wife and heads to a festival that obviously fills him with delight? "Great crowd!" he enthused.

I was in on that Sunday-afternoon reception with the Speaker, and couldn't help reflecting on one other time I had walked and talked with him for a bit. That time, it was in Tampico and he had just attended a hometown memorial service for Ronald Reagan. Everyone walked the several blocks to Reagan's boyhood home in a light mist. Then, just as rain began to pour down in SHEETS, the Speaker stepped to the podium and bareheaded, not even indicating that he knew it was raining, delivered a ringing tribute to the great man from the Midwest. That was quintessentially American too.

Will see the Speaker again in Washington in a few days. I think he really wants us to win!


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