George W. Bush, National Geographic Channel Interview

George W. Bush said in an interview that his apparent lack of re­action to the initial news of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was a conscious decision to project an aura of calm in a crisis.

In a rare interview about the attacks, the former president told the National Geographic Channel what was going through his mind when he was informed that a second passenger jet had hit New York’s World Trade Center.

Bush was visiting a Florida classroom, and the incident, which was caught on videotape, has often been used by critics to ridicule his apparently blank face.

"My first reaction was anger. Who the hell would do that to America? Then I immediately focused on the children, and the contrast between the attack and the innocence of children. So I made the decision not to jump up immediately and leave the classroom. I didn’t want to rattle the kids. I wanted to project a sense of calm. I had been in enough crises to know that the first thing a leader has to do is to project calm".

The National Geographic Channel will broadcast the hour-long interview on Aug. 28 as part of a week of programs on the cable network that mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

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