Bush's 9/11 Classroom Reaction Was Meant to Project 'Calm'

George W. Bush explains that he didn't want to frighten the children

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In the moments after George W. Bush learned from his Chief of Staff that an airplane hit the first World Trade Center tower, why didn't he immediately leave the Florida classroom he'd been visiting? It's been an endlessly replayed moment in the decade since the September 11 attacks. In another clip from his forthcoming National Geographic Channel interview, Bush says there was a method to his puzzled expression. Via Reuters, Bush says:

"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....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."

It's easy to nit-pick the video of the president learning the news in real-time, but as Gawker's Jeff Neuman points out, to many the video of his reaction has looked less like calm and more like confusion.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.