President Bush is taking his No Child Left Behind Act education platform to Harlem today, with an afternoon visit to the Harlem Village Academies charter school on West 144th Street today. Yes, that's what all the traffic and security is for- as well as the lack of garbage cans. The school and Department of Education are proud that Harlem Village Academy was selected; founder Deborah Kenny tells the Sun, "We take in kids that are really struggling, but they just get better and better, and stronger and stronger."
Not all of Harlem is happy about the President's visit: The Harlem Tenants Council's Nellie Bailey mentions the Iraq war and how Bush hasn't done much for Harlem residents to the Daily News, "I think Harlem is with the rest of the country. His popularity is as low in Harlem, or even lower, than it is in the rest of the country." Before heading to NYC, Bush told reporters, per Chicago Tribune's the Swamp:
"Last November, the American people said they were frustrated and wanted a change in our policy in Iraq… I listened,’’ Bush said, pointing to an increased deployment of forces that he announced in January and which is still amassing in Iraq. “The American people did not vote for failure, and that is precisely what the Democratic leadership’s bill would be.’’
And miles away is a 14-year-old student at Bayard Rustin Educational Complex in Chelsea whose family was visited by the Secret Service. Irving Miqui told a school publication that during his last 24 hours he "would like to shoot George W. Bush, because in my opinion he is the worst president ever. After that was accomplished, I would be known as a national hero." Bayard's principal admits that the publication wasn't properly vetted by officials while Miqui's mother says, "I didn't think much of [my son's statement] because it was just gibberish. We're talking about a child who doesn't know what he's doing."
Update: You can see video of President Bush speaking via WNBC.
Update 2: Did you know that Marine One landed in Central Park for President Bush's uptown visit? Nice of the Secret Service not to cause any more gridlock - and it must have been wild to see.
Top photograph of President Bush prior to leaving DC by Scott Applewhite/AP; lower photograph of Marine One landing in Central Park by Kathy Willens/AP