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Take One: President Bush via Satellite

President Bush's administration has been marked by a savvy use of technology and media strategy. From staging optimal photo-ops to conjuring message-appropriate backdrops at speeches, the president's staff has been diligent in its work.

That work has never been more important than now, with the president's polling numbers slipping and an election in Iraq looming. And so it was early Thursday, with President Bush slated to chat with soldiers stationed in Iraq, that his staff ran through his opening remarks -- and some questions -- without the commander-in-chief being present.

While it's common to use a trial run to ensure things go smoothly when the president arrives, the event, recorded by NPR, offered some insights into the meticulous nature of advance work.

Later, the president, speaking from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, asked members of the 42nd Infantry Division (Mechanized) National Guard unit about their work in Tikrit, and answered questions from the soldiers.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: October 19, 2005 at 7:45 AM PDT
In the audio for this story, Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo's rank is incorrectly referred to as that of a Sgt. Major.
David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.