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What it was like to be next to George W. Bush on 9/11

President Bush addresses the nation on 9/11/01.
President Bush addresses the nation on 9/11/01.
(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy, both at home and abroad. Before coming to Vox in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world.

Ari Fleischer, President George W. Bush's Press Secretary at the time of the 9/11 attacks, is live-tweeting memories of what it was like to be on the inside when the news broke. Reading through them reminds you just how panicked the day was — for instance, according to Fleischer, the administration was worried that there was an enemy agent on Air Force One, of all places.

Obviously, this exercise is a touch self-serving: unsurprisingly, some of Fleischer's tweets are essentially hagiography of Bush's "brilliant" response to the attacks. Setting those aside, the collected tweets amount to a really interesting, and horrifying, reminder of the raw uncertainty and fear that pervaded not only the nation, but also its highest officials, on the day of the attack. Here they are, up to about 12:30 EST:

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