Bush slips away to Texas

The presidential finale for George Bush includes a goodbye to Washington and a hello from fellow Texans.

The presidential finale for George Bush includes a goodbye to Washington and a hello from fellow Texans.

The president and first lady Laura Bush will welcome US President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, to the White House today for coffee in the Blue Room. The guests will also include Vice President-elect Joe Biden, his wife, Jill, and leaders of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

After the swearing-in ceremony for Mr Obama at the Capitol, Mr Bush will take a helicopter to Andrews Air Force Base where he will make private remarks inside a hanger.

The Bushes then will fly to Midland, Texas, on the familiar blue-and-white presidential aircraft, although it will be called Special Air Mission 28000 instead of Air Force One because Mr Bush will no longer be president.

While the inauguration frenzy continues in Washington, thousands of well-wishers are expected to greet the Bushes at Centennial Plaza in Midland - the same place the president stopped on his way to the nation’s capital for his own inauguration in 2001. While Mr Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut, he spent his childhood in Midland. He returned there as an adult in the 1970s and met the future first lady.

After the rally, the Bushes are flying to Waco, Texas, to go to their 1,600-acre ranch in nearby Crawford, Texas.

In Midland, some city streets have been closed since Friday and almost all of the 20,000 free tickets to the celebration have been handed out.

“The president said at the White House Christmas party that he left from Midland and was coming home to Midland because we’re the ones who are his friends and great supporters and he wanted to be with us when he left Washington,” County Republican Chairwoman Sue Brannon said in the online edition of the Midland Reporter-Telegram. “It shows what a fine gentleman he is.”

Yesterday 1,500 free tickets remained for the event.

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