By Lynn R. Mitchell
“Thanks for the chance to speak with the mighty G-Force!”
With those words, President George W. Bush joined in as the special guest on an Ed Gillespie campaign phone conference Tuesday night, one week before Election Day 2014. In characteristic GWB style, he was funny, uplifting, encouraging, and the best part of all was this man who gives everyone a nickname kept referring to Mr. Gillespie as “Eddie.”
“I called Eddie,” the President quipped, “and I said, ‘Do you have a shot?’ And he said, ‘Not only do I have a shot, I’m going to win.’ ”
The President spoke of knowing the importance of good leadership, of how it had been a well-run campaign, about the G-Force — those volunteers, staffers, and leaders who have worked the campaign in one capacity or another.
President Bush emphasized that individuals can make a difference and gave more words of encouragement. He joked that if anyone had any extra savings out there, he had just written a book about “41,” a reference to his father, President George H.W. Bush — and he said Ed’s character made him think of his dad. Both men, he said, were men of integrity and decent, hard-working men. He wished Ed God speed and again thanked him for the opportunity to talk with the mighty G-Force.
It’s clear there’s a genuine friendship and respect between the two men that has continued beyond the years of working together in the White House. Ed introduced the President as someone that everyone on the call knew, admired, and loved, and said he had learned a lot from him over the years especially during the 18 months spent serving by his side in the White House. He understood the importance of leadership and led our country through some of the toughest times we’ve faced.
There were people from throughout the Commonwealth on that call, and I think it’s safe to say all were thrilled to hear from George W. Bush and from Ed.
From the beginning, Ed Gillespie has given it his all, something that continues as he enters the final stretch. He was up at 4:30 this morning, out the door by 5, and greeting commuters in Northern Virginia from 5:30-7. Later in the day he was all over the place as he’s been the past months, making more than 1,100 campaign stops and traveling more than 55,000 miles. He’s in a sprint to the finish with many sprinting alongside him.
Listening to President Bush tonight reminded of the 2000 and 2004 Bush for President campaigns when I was Augusta County co-coordinator with Nicole Riley (2000) and coordinator (2004). The eight years he was in the White House were a wonderful time for local Republicans because we were extremely active and had a very large close-knit group of dedicated volunteers.
Election Day is in one week so let’s make this happen! It’s a matter of turnout as the momentum continues to build. Mark Warner continuously polls at 49 percent or below — one poll had at him at 45 percent — not good numbers one week out for an incumbent. Let’s ride the wave to victory.