President Bush

President Bush touches down in Salt Lake City this morning for a visit of less than three hours that will include a speech before the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Air Force One is expected to be back in the air again by early afternoon.

This is Bush's second visit to Utah since he took office in 2001. He spent a little over nine hours in Salt Lake City on the first day of the 2002 Winter Olympics, speaking at the state Capitol and officially opening the Games at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Bush's plane is scheduled to arrive at the Utah Air National Guard area of Salt Lake City International Airport. He will address the 15,000-member VFW convention at the Salt Palace.

Justin Jones, spokesman for the Utah Transit Authority, said UTA has no plans to close the TRAX line that runs near the Salt Palace while the president is inside. "We've not been asked to do so," he said on Sunday.

One city road will be closed as a security precaution.

"The only road that will be closed during the presidential visit will be 200 West between 200 South and South Temple," said Detective Dwayne Baird of the Salt Lake City Police Department. That section of road passes beneath the Salt Palace complex, he added.

Also, some routes will be blocked temporarily as Bush's motorcade passes through the city. But normal traffic will resume when the motorcade has passed.

At least one formal protest is planned during Bush's visit. Families and veterans opposed to Bush's war policies will gather at Pioneer Park at noon, and Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson called on Utahns to join the protest.

Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia, whose son was killed in action in Baghdad in 2004, will speak, along with local members of Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace. Zappala is a co-founder, with Cindy Sheehan, of Gold Star Mothers for Peace, and has joined Sheehan at her vigil outside the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Gold Star Families for Peace began running a 60-second ad featuring Sheehan in the Salt Lake market Saturday, calling on Bush to meet with her. A similar ad has aired in the Waco-Crawford Central Texas market since Sheehan, Zappala and other mothers began their vigil on Aug. 7.

The advertisement was rejected by KTVX Channel 4 because of the content, according to a statement from general manager David D'Antuono. The ad has been running throughout the weekend on KSL, KUTV and KSTU.

"Upon viewing the spot the management of KTVX felt that the controversial content could very well be offensive to our community in Utah which has contributed more than its fair share of fighting soldiers, and suffered significant loss of life in this Iraq war," D'Antuono said.

D'Antuono said that the decision was made by local management and not influenced by station owner Clear Channel Communication, whose executives donate heavily to Republicans. The management also did not place any prohibitions on coverage of the advertisement's rejection by its news team.

Anderson also has called for a "major demonstration" today by Utahns who oppose the president's environmental and war policies.

Anderson's plea went out in an e-mail to fellow Democrats, environmentalists and a few of his top administrative staff.


Contributing: Joe Bauman

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