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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 10:54 GMT
On tour with President Bush - Day One
Tour graphic
The BBC's Nick Bryant is travelling with US President George W Bush on his tour of Asia. He will be sending us regular e-mails charting the president's progress around the region.


Day One - Dateline: Elmendorf Airbase, Alaska
2245GMT, 16 February

Air Force One touched down in driving snow and sub-zero temperatures, with President Bush determined to visit Elmendorf Air Base at the start of his six-day visit to Asia.

It's the home of America's "Arctic Warriors", the Alaskan Command, who are defending the country's rugged north-west frontier.

In a drafty hanger on the fringes of the air base, Bush delivered his standard "war on terrorism" stump speech (he repeats it wherever he goes), promising victory in the fight against global terror and warning of future attacks on American soil.

President Bush tries on gift jacket at Elmendorf Airbase
Bush is the only US president to have lived in Alaska
The threats have changed, said the president, but the men and women of Elmendorf had been protecting homeland security for the past 50 years. Wild cheers punctuated the speech.

There was enthusiastic applause, too, when he called upon Congress to give the go-ahead for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Despite the concerns of environmentalists, who fear that the oil companies would wreck one of the America's most pristine wilderness landscapes, there's widespread support for drilling in Alaska.

Supporters believe it will bring jobs to the region, and that the environmental impact has been exaggerated by "out-of-state" campaigners.

It's rare that presidents visit Alaska (Bush even boasts that he's the only one of his 42 predecessors to have lived in the state), so the White House scheduled a Republican fund-raiser in Anchorage, the state capital, as well.

The new campaign finance bill passed this week by the House of Representatives has yet to become law - and Mr Bush is cashing in.

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