President George W. Bush took some heat in the years following the September 11th attacks over his actions (or inactions, rather) during the moments after he learned that the Twin Towers had been attacked.
On that morning, Bush was in a classroom at Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. When Chief of Staff Andy Card whispered news of the attacks into his ear, the president sat in front of the class silently, with a pensive look on his face. It was this moment and the minutes that followed that many of his opponents seized upon to claim that he was weak, inefficient and unable to act without assistance.
But the children who were present that day -- now seniors in high school -- have come together with their second-grade teacher, Sandra Kay Daniels, to paint a very different picture of the president's reaction. ABC's "Good Morning America" spoke with them to get their take on the events that unfolded in the classroom that day.
Below, watch the students and the teacher praise Bush's calmness:
After the event, Clesha Henry, another teacher at the school, recalls sitting in the media room and waiting for the president to make a statement about education. Instead, after leaving the second-grade classroom, he informed the media that the nation was under attack. William Mansell of Sarasota Patch has more:
“I did not sense fear in him as much as I sensed concern,” Henry said. After making a brief speech, Bush was whisked away by Secret Service to board Air Force One to head to Washington. “It was absolutely silent, it was fear, we were afraid,” Henry said. “We couldn’t even soak it all in.”
After that, Henry said she’d never seen a room cleared so quickly. The school went into emergency mode and got students into secure rooms.
In contrast to these accounts, here's Michael Moore's view from his film, "Fahrenheit 9/11" in which he claims that Bush sat dumbfounded, "Not knowing what to do, with no one telling him what to do.":