Bush plans July 4 visit to Martinsburg

June 30, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA.-President Bush is expected to visit with members of the West Virginia Air National Guard at the 167th Airlift Wing base in Berkeley County on July 4, invited guests and officials familiar with the White House schedule said Friday.

"I'm not sure what the itinerary is," said West Virginia Air National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Cadle, who was anticipating a White House announcement Friday.

Bush's appearance was listed on the White House schedule released Friday by The Associated Press, according to Natasha Metzler in the AP office in Washington.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's spokesman confirmed Friday that the 2nd District congresswoman was scheduled to be in Martinsburg on Wednesday morning.


"I know he's obviously going to be there," Jordan Stoick said. "We don't know the rest of the details. We're kind of in a holding pattern, but she's planning on being there."

Del. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said he and fellow Republican lawmakers from Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties have been invited for Bush's appearance, along with all three members of the Berkeley County Commission.

Blair also said that former Morgan County delegate Charles Trump and West Virginia Republican Party chairman Douglas McKinney and his wife, Sue, also have been invited.

Blair couldn't say whether any Democratic lawmakers had been invited.

"I got a call (from the state GOP headquarters in Charleston, W.Va.) a couple days ago. I wasn't allowed to talk about it," said Blair, who recently was appointed as the county's Republican Executive Committee chairman. "Even my wife didn't know about it until I went to Pensacola, Fla., for vacation."

Both Blair and Berkeley County Commissioner William "Bill" Stubblefield said they were told to be at the 167th Airlift Wing base off U.S. 11 south of Martinsburg early Wednesday.

"I was told to be there by 8 o'clock in the morning," Stubblefield said.

Stubblefield said he received two invitations, one through Blair and the other from the Air National Guard.

"Regardless of where people are at (on the political spectrum), a visit by the president of the United States is always a good thing, no matter who the president of the United States is," Blair said. "Berkeley County, Martinsburg, is clearly on the map nowadays."

Blair said he believed Bush would meet with Air National Guard members and their families.

Blair said Bush might also tour the base at Shepherd Field, where the runway is being retrofitted to accommodate the military's massive C-5 Galaxy aircraft.

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