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Published: Friday, 12/29/2006

President, wife seek safety in armored vehicle during tornado scare


CRAWFORD, Texas President Bush and first lady Laura Bush were moved to an armored vehicle on their ranch today when a tornado warning was issued in central Texas, the White House said.

The vehicle was driven to a tornado shelter on the ranch at 1:30 p.m. CST, and the president, Mrs. Bush and their two Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, sat inside until the weather cleared, deputy White House press secretary Scott Stanzel said. They were never moved into the shelter, he said. The shelter is a few hundred yards away from the president s house on the ranch.

He was in the vehicle for about 10 minutes and then he went back to the house, Stanzel said, adding that other members of the staff at the ranch were sheltered as well.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch at 12:40 p.m. CST. This was scheduled to last until 8:30 p.m. At 3:47 p.m. the watch was upgraded to a tornado warning, which lasted for less than an hour.

The rush to the tornado shelter interrupted Bush s day at the ranch where he cleared some cedar and was kept abreast of plans to execute Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

The windy day of rain and thunder began with morning calls to wish him a happy new year from outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is visiting Miami, also called Bush to talk about Iraq. Stanzel said Bush also spent time contemplating the new plan for U.S. policy in Iraq that he plans to announce in the new year. Bush hosted a National Security Council meeting at his ranch on Thursday.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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