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Bush, Japanese PM make special visit to Graceland

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Bush and Koizumi are visiting Graceland today.


Maybe Tennessee can use this opportunity to push a Memphis-Japan nonstop flight, although I realize this is more of a leisure trip than anything else. I think this might be the first time a sitting President has visited the site. Carter visited in the 90s when his daughter graduated Memphis College of Art.

Just feeding the eccentric legend that is the Memphis tourism scene.

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Today's CA:



The motorcade surprised those in the South Main area -- and the hungry media -- by making an unexpected stop at the National Civil Rights Museum. Bush greeted several stunned children with handshakes and shoulder taps.

The president and prime minister took a quick tour and later stood on the Lorraine Motel's balcony with former NAACP president Dr. Benjamin Hooks and AutoZone founder Pitt Hyde.

Standing behind the wreath that marks the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968, Hyde and Hooks pointed across the street to the former boarding house from where James Earl Ray fired the fatal shots. That building, now part of the museum, was not cleared, and people were crowded up to the windows to watch.

Secret Service personnel scrambled into position, but minutes later Bush and Koizumi headed to the Rendezvous.


After nearly an hour at the Rendezvous, the motorcade traveled back the the Tennessee National Air Guard hangar.

After the president honored Cordova resident Sandi Langley for her volunteer work, he boarded Air Force One and left Memphis airspace at about 2:10, bound for an event in Ohio.

Koizumi met with executives from Sharp and Brother, Japanese companies with a Memphis presence, then departed about 2:45 on his jumbo jet with the round red dot on the tail.

"It was a great visit," said Tom Schieffer, the American ambassador to Japan. "Just a terrific afternoon."

. . . .

I wonder what he talked with the Sharp and Brother people about?

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