BACK THEN

When President Bush met the Mighty Mac

By Larry Chabot  •  Illustration by Mike McKinney
The death last November of George H.W. Bush stirred memories among those who remember one of his visits to the Upper Peninsula. His four trips here tied him for first among the presidential visitors and qualified him as an Honorary Yooper. Neither the visits or his most notable feat were mentioned in the funeral eulogies, but they were big news here.

In the fall of 1992, during his unsuccessful re-election campaign against Bill Clinton, Bush combined exercise with politics as the only president to walk the five-mile long Mackinac Bridge spanning the Straits between the peninsulas. A record high of over 80,000 people showed up to join him; witnesses said the bridge sagged noticeably in the middle (the combined weight of the walkers was probably 6,000 tons or so). For those who have never had the thrill, walking the center span is like being on top of a 20-story building.

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