BILLINGS – During his political career, President George H.W. Bush made four trips to Montana.
The first visit was to Billings, while Bush was serving as vice president in 1988. During his trip, he endorsed fellow Republican Conrad Burns for U.S. Senate at a rally at the Billings airport.
“We need him,” said Bush at the time. “We really need to get control of that Senate again.”
During his ’88 visit, Bush sat down for an exclusive interview with the crew at KTVQ, speaking about the impending changes coming to Washington.
“There is going to wholesale change in a Bush administration,” said Bush. “And that is not disrespectful to those who have served, it’s just the process reinvigorates the system.”
The next year, now as president, Bush came back to help Montana to celebrate its centennial.
During his speech at the Capitol, the Republican president lauded the state for leading the way when it came to conservation.
“This great state was once the scene of an epic battle,” said Bush. “Man against nature. Too often the only question that mattered was what man could take from the earth, not how he left it or how we put it back. Well, no more.”
The president would make two more visits to the state, both in Billings in 1990 and 1992.
While he covered plenty of topics and issues in his visits, his message was always one of love – for both this country and its people.
“As I look out over this magnificent audience – ocean of red, white and blue – I see America at her best,” said Bush at a Billings rally in 1990. “This countries strength has always been her people – people who for generations have always helped – not only for the neighbor next door – but for the stranger down the street.”