In a new interview with the National Geographic Channel, President George Bush speaks about his reaction to hearing the news that the country was under attack on 9/11, as he sat in a Florida classroom with a group of students, Reuters reports:
"My first reaction was anger. Who the hell would do that to America? Then I immediately focused on the children, and the contrast between the attack and the innocence of children," Bush says in an excerpt of the interview shown to television writers on Thursday.
Bush said he could see the news media at the back of the classroom getting the news on their own cellphones "and it was like watching a silent movie."
Bush said he quickly realized that a lot of people beyond the classroom would be watching for his reaction. "So I made the decision not to jump up immediately and leave the classroom. I didn't want to rattle the kids. I wanted to project a sense of calm," he said of his decision to remain seated and silent.
"I had been in enough crises to know that the first thing a leader has to do is to project calm," he added.
The National Geographic interview, recorded over two days in May with no advance questions, was undertaken as part of a series of specials to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this September.