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Gov. Mitch Daniels spends Easter with troops

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Submitted photo

Gov. Mitch Daniels jokes with Sgt. Scott Drake of the Indiana National Guard during a weekend visit to Iraq.

Gov. Mitch Daniels spent Easter Sunday overseas, in Iraq with three other governors.

Following his return, he met with President George W. Bush and spoke on the South Lawn of the White House.

Bush thanked the governors for making the trip.

"I thank them for sending a message from home that we care about them, we care about our troops, that we'll support our troops, that we appreciate the fact that people are willing to make sacrifices," Bush said. "Secretary Rice brought the governors up to date about a conversation she had with Ambassador Khalilzad. We fully recognize that the Iraqis must step up and form a unity government, so that those who went to the polls to vote recognize that a government will be in place to respond to their needs. In other words, we also recognize that vacuums in the political process create opportunity for malfeasance and harm. And so we assured these governors that we understand full-well that the political process in Iraq must occur soon, and we're working toward that end."

Gov. Daniels praised the troops for the way they are carrying out their mission.

"My dominant impressions are, one, the sheer proficiency of the United States military in carrying the tasks they have been assigned. One knows this, but till you see it firsthand and on the immense scale, very hard to express how well they do what they are asked to do."

He also praised the military for its "commitment to their safety, the enormity of the investment in each and every soldier, and the ingenuity and the constant adaptation to the evolving tactics of a very malicious and determined enemy is very heartening to people who -- like us, who feel responsible for the men and women in harm's way. Everything that can be done is being done, and on a daily basis."

The Indiana National Guard and reservists are working together very well in Iraq, the governor added.

Thirteen Guardsmen re-enlisted for six-year hitches and were sworn in by the governor during his visit to Iraq.

Note: Information for this article and the accompanying photo came from Gov. Daniels' office.

Gov. Daniels joined Gov. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa and Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida.

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