Just the same, this exchange was humorous:
THE PRESIDENT: Captain, thank you very much. Let me ask you something. As you move around, I presume you have a chance to interface with the civilians there in that part of the world. And a lot of Americans are wondering whether or not people appreciate your presence or whether or not the people are anxious to be part of the democratic process. Can you give us a sense for the reception of the people there in Tikrit toward coalition forces, as well as the Iraqi units that they encounter?
CAPTAIN KENNEDY: Mr. President, I'm going to field this question to Captain Williams.
CAPTAIN WILLIAMS: Mr. President, I'm Captain David Williams. I'm from Los Angeles, California. I'm currently with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, attached to the Military Transition Team. Sir, in North-Central Iraq, voter registration is up 17 percent. That's 400,000 new voters in North-Central Iraq, and 100,000 new voters in the al-Salahuddin province. Sir, I was with my Iraqi counterpart in Tikrit, the city Tikrit last week, and he was going around, talking to the locals. And from what he told me that the locals told him, the Iraqi people are ready and eager to vote in this referendum.
THE PRESIDENT: That's good. It's pretty interesting. That's a pretty interesting concept for the people of Tikirt, when you really think about the fact that that was Saddam Hussein's hometown. They didn't get to vote too often when he was the leader there. Let me ask you about the progress. Most of you have been there for nearly a year, as I understand it.
After the vote, there should be ample evidence as to why the citizens in and around Tikrit were registering. Odds are they are registering to vote "no" on the Constitution. This should be followed after the election.