Harry Taylor tells Bush at a packed Charlotte open forum: “I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency…. I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration.”
At a North Carolina open forum, a man named Harry Taylor rose and told the president: “I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself inside yourself.” (video)
CHARLOTTE, April 6—Harry Taylor got the chance Thursday to do what frustrated liberals across the country have wanted to do for a long time: He stood up and told off the president.
And in its own way, that’s just what the White House wanted.
President Bush flew here for the latest of his open-forum events, an innovation for a leader who until recently stuck to scripted meetings with screened audiences. At a time of dwindling public support and of charges of Bush’s being isolated, the idea was to put him in front of crowds for spontaneous exchanges to show he is not afraid of criticism.
By the time Bush landed in Charlotte, these audience-participation sessions had produced some skeptical questions, some interesting back-and-forth, and even a few off-script comments by a famously disciplined president.