For days now, the job at Eisenhower Park in Nassau County has been to follow the order from the White House through the Secret Service and down to the park workers:
"The president's feet are not to touch the dirt."
So all yesterday, large crews drawn from all county parks worked to ensure that, as always in his life, George Bush's feet do not touch the ground when he appears in the big park today.
Bush arrives for a fund-raiser at a restaurant in the park. That is indoors and he doesn't have to worry about his feet there. But he has to go over ground to an administration building where he is to meet with families of 9/11 victims. After that, he has to go over more ground to get to the site of a memorial to the victims.
He doesn't want his feet on the ground and he will be at a groundbreaking ceremony.
The 9/11 memorial is not up. Someday it will be a site by a pond. What happened was that Bush was coming in for this big fund-raiser. The county executive, Suozzi, a Democrat, heard about it and rushed an invitation to Bush to be at the dedication to the memorial and also to meet the 9/11 families.
There was no way for Bush to turn this down. So he appears today for a local Democrat. The county Democrats fell all over themselves to have a memorial site and the paths around it following the Secret Service regulations.
Yesterday, a big guy, who had been fixing serious pipe leaks in the county executive's building, was on the walkway unrolling wooden storm fencing that would create an alley for Bush to walk down.
"When you get the fence up, what do you do?" he was asked.
"Cover the ground so his feet don't touch it."