Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf drew more attention than most of the horses Thursday as grand marshal of the Kentucky Derby Festival's Pegasus Parade.
Schwarzkopf, commander of Operation Desert Storm, said he was a bit overwhelmed by his reception in the United States.Appearing with his wife, Brenda, at a news conference, Schwarzkopf said, "We're sort of overwhelmed by the whole thing. I just keep reminding myself that it's not me, it's 541,000 great Americans I just happen to represent."
Schwarzkopf also said he has found it difficult to adjust to living outside a combat zone.
"I had to go in and recapture one-third of the bathroom from the shampoo and all the other things that took it over while I was gone," he said.
Schwarzkopf generally ducked comment on his role as commander of allied forces in the Persian Gulf. He denied any differences of opinion with the Joint Chiefs of Staff or with President Bush, saying, "As a military officer, you don't have `differences' with the commander-in-chief."
Security was tight for Schwarzkopf's visit. Local officials said they were asked to weld shut manhole covers along Thursday's parade route, and both military and plainclothes officers escorted the general around the city. Schwarzkopf acknowledged threats against his life but said he is not troubled by them.
"There have been a lot of threats. I guess it goes with the territory," he said.
Schwarzkopf was asked how he picks winning race horses. He said he considers many scientific factors.
"At that point, I normally turn to my wife, Brenda, and ask her, `Brenda, which horse should I bet on?' And she will say, `I like the name of this one.' "
Asked which horse she's picking in Saturday's Derby, Brenda Schwarzkopf said, "I haven't seen all the names yet."