Nov 052006
Authors: Geoff Johnson

GREELEY – Brian Lanzi doesn’t want terrorists coming to the United States again.

In the wake of George W. Bush’s visit to the Island Grove Regional Park Events Center in Greeley, Lanzi, 27, from Louisville, was in agreement with the president’s claim that withdrawal from Iraq would “embolden” terrorists.

“I see Iraq as the central front,” Lanzi said, with people streaming past him out of the venue. “If we leave (Iraq), (terrorists will) come here.”

In a near-empty lobby following the event, a bright-eyed Ashley Obendorf, a 23-year-old from Windsor, also shared the president’s views.

“If we left, it would demonstrate weakness,” she said.

Obendorf also said that she is a “huge” advocate of freedom.

“We should promote it, defend it and establish it,” she said.

To Bush’s claim that the best defense policy is one on the offensive, Obendorf said, “It’s good to take pre-emptive measures.”

She added, “I love Jesus.”

In a near-empty parking lot under partly cloudy skies, Roger Smit, 48, of Evans said both of the president’s main speech topics – defense and taxes – are important to him.

“The more we have in our pocket book, the more we can spend,” Smit said. “That’s good for the economy. But one of the most important things about being an American is being safe.”

Jessica Veik, 23, and her mother, Kathy Manak, 48 – both from Greeley – did not feel strongly about either of these issues.

“The most important thing for me is abortion,” Veik said. “When (Bush) talks about pro-life issues, I’m like, ‘whoa.'”

Manak added that she also feels strongly about other issues of the family, like Amendment 43, which would make the legal description of marriage between a man and a woman.

“I’m Catholic and I follow the teachings of the Church,” she said. “Same-sex unions diminish the honor given to marriage by God.”

To Bush’s exhortation to those in attendance at the rally to “find a Democrat,” and ask him or her “what their plan is,” Smit said he wouldn’t know where to start.

“I don’t know if I know who they are,” Smit said. “Unless I meet them at a place like this.”

Staff writer Geoff Johnson can be reached at

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