George W. Bush photo

Remarks Following a Meeting With Jason McElwain and an Exchange With Reporters in Rochester, New York

March 14, 2006

The President. First of all, it's great to be here in upstate New York. As you can see, a special person has greeted me at the airport.

Jason, mind if I call you J-Mac?

Jason McElwain. Yeah. [Laughter]

The President. I call him J-Mac. You call me George W. [Laughter]

But our country was captivated by an amazing story on the basketball court. I think it's a story of Coach Johnson's willingness to give a person a chance. It's a story of Dave and Debbie's deep love for their son, and it's a story of a young man who found his touch on the basketball court, which in turn, touched the hearts of citizens all across the country.

So I want to thank you for being here. You probably didn't realize the impact you were going to have on people all across America and around the world when you made those six 3s in a row. I've kind of gotten off the courts these days because I'm getting old, but if I got back on the courts, I'd need a lesson—[laughter]—on how to rotate that ball. But let me have that there, Coach.

James Johnson. Okay. There you go, sir.

[At this point, the President held a sign with Jason's picture.]

The President. Thank you. There you go. Kind of looks like you.

Anyway, thank you all for coming. God bless. I appreciate the wonderful story that's come out of your family.

Q. Mr. President, how did you hear about the story, and what's your reaction?

The President. Saw it on TV. Saw it on TV, and I wept, just like a lot of other people. It's just one of those stories that touched a lot of people's heart.

Q. Did somebody play it for you, or did you just see it?

The President. I can't remember exactly how it happened. Probably somebody played it for me, you know, being the President and all. But it's a wonderful tale.

God bless.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:50 a.m. at the Greater Rochester International Airport. In his remarks, he referred to Jason McElwain, an autistic student at Greece Athena High School who scored 20 points in his first varsity basketball game; and James Johnson, coach, Greece Athena High School boys basketball team.

George W. Bush, Remarks Following a Meeting With Jason McElwain and an Exchange With Reporters in Rochester, New York Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




New York

Simple Search of Our Archives