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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Bush Speaks at White House Correspondents Dinner

Aired April 26, 2003 - 21:58   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush has just started speaking at the White House correspondents' dinner in Washington. Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... a "soldier's journalist."

And Michael Kelly's readers knew of his intellectual courage. He wrote with integrity and moral conviction, never attempting to gain favor or to please the powerful. He deployed his wit against...

(APPLAUSE)

He deployed his wit against pretension of any kind and showed reverence when reverence was due.

All who knew him remember Michael's intensity and his decency; friends came to know his loyalty.

He was mentor to young writers; a devoted husband to Max (ph) and a wonderful father to his boys, Tom and Jack.

The man Michael admired above all others said this of him: "He was our very best -- smart and brave and noble and loving." That fine tribute comes from his dad, who is with us tonight, Tom Kelly.

(APPLAUSE)

Also moving with the 3rd Infantry Division was David Bloom.

(APPLAUSE)

He was the perfect man to carry viewers along on the charge to Baghdad. He was tireless, completely focused and, clearly, doing the work he loved.

David had a natural sincerity that people liked. We saw his live reports from the "Bloom Machine," and we saw some of the finest war coverage every broadcast.

One of...

(APPLAUSE)

... -- our last images of David Bloom captured a journalist in his prime, making full use of his gifts.

His own last e-mail home tells us something else about this man, who was about to turn 40. He wrote to his wife, Melanie, "Here I am, supposedly at the peak of professional success and I could frankly care less. Yes, I am proud of the good job we have all been doing, but in the scheme of things, it matters little compared to my relationship with you, the girls and Jesus."

It says something about a man's entire life when those are his final thoughts.

For those words and for so much else in David's life, we are grateful.

(APPLAUSE)

Both men brought great credit to a hard and worthy profession. Their work is done and well done. We will remember them with admiration and we will remember them with affection.

May God bless their souls.

(APPLAUSE)

COOPER: You have been listening to President Bush speaking at the White House correspondents dinner. Of course, the annual event, which honors White House reporters. You heard President Bush praising the work and the lives and the contributions of Michael Kelly and David Bloom to journalists killed in the war in Iraq.

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