Security Tight for Former President Bush

CHICAGO – Attendees at the DMA's 84th fall show planning to attend today's opening general session should plan to be punctual.

That's because security checkpoints will be present as former President George Bush will address the conference. Restrictions that will be in force will prohibit attendees from bringing cameras or recording equipment to the event. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. with DMA president and CEO H.Robert Wientzen scheduled to begin his remarks, billed as “Direct 2001: Tradition Driving the Future,” at 8:45 a.m. Bush's “The View from the Top” address is set for 9:45 a.m.

The 41st president of the United States is expected to speak for 30 minutes, followed by a 25-minute question-and-answer session. Audience members will be able to submit questions on cards that will be distributed. The cards will be submitted to Wientzen, who will select the questions that will be read to Bush. There will be no roving microphone in the room.

“I've given his speechwriter a lot of information [about the DMA and the direct marketing industry],” said Dan Goldstein, the DMA's director of conference program development. “He's interested in global trade [and] general topics on American business. I believe he doesn't go from a prepared speech. I suppose he'll have talking points [and there will be no TelePrompTer].”

The room in which Bush will speak — which was scheduled to be checked by trained dogs last night — can accommodate 3,000 people and has two doors. Two DMA staff members and a Secret Service agent are expected to be at each of the doors.

“The agents will have seen every type of badge [that attendees will be wearing] and they'll be eyeballing what people will be carrying,” Goldstein said. “We don't expect long lines.”

Goldstein said the Secret Service has conducted background checks on “eight to 10” key contacts.

Also, Secret Service agents could be seen Saturday taking photos from the roof of McCormick Place, the site of the conference.

Only members of the trade press will be permitted while the general media will not be permitted access.

Bush agreed to speak at the event in the spring. Just after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States, Bush e-mailed the DMA and informed the organization that he remained committed to making the appearance.

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