Wounded Soldier Jogs with President Bush (Video, Photo)

Army Staff Sergeant Christian Bagge took a little run with President Bush yesterday, fulfilling a promise made in January.

President Bush runs with SSG Christian Bagge wounded Iraq vet President Bush jogs with Army Staff Sgt. Christian Bagge, 23, from Eugene, Ore., who lost both legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington Tuesday, June 27, 2006. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

President Bush took a jog Tuesday with a soldier who lost part of both legs in Iraq, following through on a bedside promise even the president had doubts about at the time.

Despite a slight drizzle, Bush and Staff Sgt. Christian Bagge took a slow jog around a spongy track that circles the White House’s South Lawn. About halfway through their approximately half-mile run, Bush and Bagge paused briefly for reporters. “He ran the president into the ground, I might add,” Bush said, as the two gripped hands in an emotional, lengthy shake. “But I’m proud of you. I’m proud of your strength, proud of your character.”

The president met the soldier on a New Year’s Day visit to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where Bagge had been recuperating from his injuries for months. Bagge, now 23 and a native of Eugene, Ore., was in a convoy hit by roadside bombs a year ago in the remote Iraq desert south of Kirkuk. Bagge’s left leg was amputated just above the ankle, and his right leg ends just above the knee.

He told Bush during their January visit that he wanted to run with him. Bush was an avid runner who had mostly traded the activity for mountain biking in the last couple of years because of knee problems. “I looked at him, like, you know, there’s an optimistic person,” Bush said. “It’s an amazing sight for me to be running with a guy who, last time I saw him, was in bed wondering whether or not — I was wondering whether or not he’d ever get out of bed.” But, the president added, in tribute to the hard work Bagge did to realize this goal, “There was no doubt in his mind that he would.”

“It’s a privilege,” commented Bagge, who had changed in the Oval Office into a special set of prosthetic legs that he uses to jog.

Amazing.

UPDATE: The video:

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bhoe says:

    Amazing.

    Yeah, it is amazing that Bush would use a guy who got his legs blown off in his ill-conceived war for a cynical photo-op.

  2. just me says:

    Why call it a photo op.

    Sounds more to me like the president made a promise to an injured GI and chose to keep it. Now Bush probably could have told the press to take a hike, but then we would hear about Bush preventing the press from covering a story.

    Life as the president is full of photo opportunities, this one just happened to involved a promise kept. Don’t take away this moment for the GI-he more than earned his run with the president.

  3. Moe Lane says:

    For that matter, the GI in question was the one who made the request.

    IOW, Bhoe? Stop projecting.

  4. Bhoe says:

    Now Bush probably could have told the press to take a hike, but then we would hear about Bush preventing the press from covering a story.

    First of all, this isn’t a “story.” It is of no interest to the public that one guy promised to go jogging with another.

    Secondly the press doesn’t have unadulterated access to the South Lawn of the White House, they have to be invited there by Bush.

    As for Bush and his “promises”–his keeping a promise to jogging with someone has absolutely no public ramifications.

    Who gives a damn, when he has so many broken promises that actually involve public policy: Where is that timetable he promised to bring US Troops back from Kosovo? What happened to his promise not to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve except during a national emergency?

    Since his record of governance has been so dismal, he has no other strategy than arrange for non-substantive photo-ops to minimize scruitny of his failures.

  5. DaveD says:

    I also hated it when they photographed Clinton jogging. All that free press for McDonald’s really irked me.

  6. LJD says:

    Hey b-hoe, take a break from being a jerk.

    Ever think that it is an honor for this trooper to meet his Commander in Chief?

    He has certainly earned the right to go for a little jog with him.

    You are just a blabbering fool…

  7. Bhoe,

    That a guy with one leg off above the ankle and another of above the knee can go from a hospital bed to jogging in a year is an inspirational story. It says that no matter how tough life is for you, an individual can work to overcome great odds and obstacles.

    I don’t remember any great publicity about Bush visiting the medical center on New Years day. I suspect that the press was there, but that they chose not to make a big story out of it. That is their right and is something subject to their news judgement. Certainly they could have made the same decision here.

    There is something called Bush derangement syndrome. It manifests itself in not being able to see Bush do anything good and anything he does is either bad or only cynical exploitation for his own benefit. I suspect that you have a severe case of BDS. That the BDS is clouding your judgement. As part of that clouding of judgement, I suspect that you are easily manipulated by the democrats. Think about your loss of reasoning, liberty and independence that your BDS is costing you. You don’t have to love or even agree with Bush. But recognize that if he can help inspire a wounded soldier to make such a huge step in his physical recovery that doing so is a good thing. If the publicity around it helps inspire others who face physical adversity, whatever the source, that is also a good thing. It is possible to disagree with Bush about many important issues without having to disparage when he does something good.