Washington—With Vice President Dick Cheney visiting the area to show American support and solidarity, President Bush today issued a stern warning to Russia. “Mark my words,” the President said in a prepared statement “the Russian Federation will never include South Appalachia.”
The President, sounding vigorous and feisty in his waning term, reiterated how important the region is to America, strategically and culturally. “Whether it’s the Appalachian Trail, moonshine, or banjo music, Appalachia is as American is apple pie. Especially the south part,” the President added.
Refusing to grant Russia’s assertion that its recent invasion was performed to protect Appalachians, whom President Dmitry Medvedev claims have strong historical Russian ties, the President made clear that the entire area was off limits: “I don’t care if Georgia did incur into there—that’s between them and Tennessee. Last I looked, Tennessee’s on American soil.” The President added, “Appalachia too.”
The White House said President Bush will await Cheney’s return for a complete briefing before making any policy moves, though he made clear Russia should be punished for its misdeeds. He will also be touring the area to see any damage Russia caused. Press Secretary Dana Perino said Mr. Bush was hoping the great Smoky Mountains were unharmed, because Perino doesn’t have a nickname yet and the President seems intent on calling her “Smoky.”
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