On this morning's Today show, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell opened her report of the President's tour of Latin America with protest coverage, showing footage of a sign of Bush with a Hitler mustache, a man chanting "Gringo go home," and even noted local priests' desire to "purify" a Mayan site, Bush planned to visit, of "bad spirits." Over video of protestors O'Donnell emphasized: "The President is followed by Iraq and how bitterly unpopular the war is here. Protests in each country he visits."
The following is the full report as it aired on the March 12th Today show:
Ann Curry: "In the news this morning President Bush is in Guatemala today on his five nation Latin American tour. His visit has been greeted with protest against his war policy and now the President is making a case for sending another 8200 troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. NBC's White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell is traveling with the President. Kelly, good morning."
Kelly O'Donnell: "Good morning, Ann. A different kind of protest will follow the President today. He plans to tour Mayan ruins here in Guatemala and we're told some local priests want to purify the site afterward with a kind of ritual they say will get rid of what they call 'bad spirits.' Visiting Latin America for what he calls a tour of quiet diplomacy-"
George W. Bush: "I appreciate your hospitality."
O'Donnell: "The President is followed by Iraq and how bitterly unpopular the war is here. Protests in each country he visits. In Guatemala a march outside the U.S. embassy."
[Man chanting: "Gringo go home!"]
O'Donnell: "In Colombia clashes between riot police and protestors. At a news conference the President talked about the announcement over the weekend that he is sending more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. For Iraq he described the increase as support for the more than 20,000 troops recently sent to help secure Baghdad and Anbar."
Bush: "Those combat troops are gonna need some support and that's what the American people are seeing in terms of Iraq. To support troops necessary to help the reinforcements do their job."
O'Donnell: "The cost for both missions, another $3.2 billion."
Bush: "My hope, of course, is that Congress provides the funding necessary for the combat troops to be able to do their job without any strings attached."
O'Donnell: "The White House hasn't been saying very much about these protests that we've been seeing except to say that it shows the people in these emerging democracies feel safe and free to express their opinions. Ann."