|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
July 1, 2006
Interview of the Vice President by Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond, Fox Sports Network
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
8:45 P.M. EDT
Q Thanks for being with us, sir. Nice to see you're in good health.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good to be here. Yes, the doc signed off on me for another period of time here, so.
Q All right, sir, good enough to attend the race. You ever address a crowd that big before?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I was just thinking -- 140,000-150,000 people -- that's probably the biggest crowd I ever spoke to live.
Q And your first -- you've been to the track before.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q But your first actual --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's the first time I've been to a live NASCAR event. I've watched it, of course, on television like everybody has. But it is an awesome, awesome undertaking -- just the sheer size of the crowd, the energy, the complexity of what goes on in the pits, and with the teams and the crews. There's so much to learn about the intricacies of the sport. It's really something.
Q On that right now, we're getting ready to go back to a green, so you'll get an opportunity to see what the restart is going to look like, at least from the Hollywood Hotel. But earlier today, we were talking about cars and you shared something with me I thought was really kind of unique. You haven't driven a car in seven years yourself.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's a bummer. The morning the President -- then Governor announced that I was going to be his running mate, the Secret Service showed up outside my door and I haven't driven since. They take over. They do it for security reasons. And it's understandable, but it's very frustrating.
Q Yes, now, Air Force Two, you get to travel around. What was your first car, Vice President?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The first car I ever owned was a 1949 Chevrolet. And I drove it for a few months, and then the engine blew up on me and I got $25 for the radio. (Laughter.)
Q You've done well since. You must be overwhelmed by the support of patriotism at an event like this, especially on the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It is. It's a remarkable period of time, got to spend some time with the troops today. One of the great things about NASCAR is the extent to which the drivers and the crews and the owners have been involved in supporting the troops. A lot of the drivers have been to Afghanistan, Iraq, have been out and seen the troops in the field. I know oftentimes they get to Walter Reed in Bethesda where the guys are that have been wounded and are coming home. And that's deeply, deeply appreciated. There's a symbiotic relationship there, a mutual admiration - the young men and women in our military who love NASCAR and NASCAR, we praise for supporting them --
Q Speaking of that, I had an opportunity to watch you -- you got an opportunity to meet Ken Schrader who drives the Air Force car. He's quite a character.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes, well, there are a lot of characters. (Laughter.)
Q What did some of the drivers say to you when you got to meet them. Did they ask any tough questions?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, no political questions. They were all very nice. I got to the drivers meeting at the beginning -- before the race today and then visited with the service-sponsored cars, especially the Army, the National Guard, and the Air Force. And they're down-home people. They're very straight -- straightforward, no pretense. Everybody is measured by how they perform out here on the track, so it's a meritocracy.
Q At nearby Cape Canaveral, the space shuttle delayed until tomorrow because of weather. I guess, you were going to go see --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Yes, we were there. I went down, wanted to see the launch. I saw a launch 20 years ago, but they were going to launch today and they got a last-minute bad call on the weather. But they'll try again tomorrow.
Q And I know you've worked in Washington, I expect a political answer. Who are you rooting for to win tonight's race?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm going to be a nonpartisan. (Laughter.)
Q Good answer.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I'm not going to get into that.
Q All right, well, it was a pleasure having you here. Thanks very much. Always an honor.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's good to see you guys. I enjoy the show.
END 8:50 P.M. EDT