XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX THU NOV 27, 2003 17:00:01 ET XXXXX HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN: DETAILED REPORT OF BUSH'S SECRET TRIP **Exclusive** Trip of the President to Baghdad Pool Reporter Mike Allen's [WASH POST] Private Notes Nov. 26 and 27 (Thanksgiving Day), 2003 The President left Waco secretly Wednesday at 8:25 p.m. Eastern (7:25 p.m. Texan) with a small pool, stopped at Andrews to pick up a few staff and a few more poolers, change planes and then head to Baghad. Both flights were what we think of as the normal Air Force One, Boeing 747 with the normal marking. The President landed in darkness at Baghdad International Airport at 9:31 a.m. Washington time (5:32 p.m. local) on Thursday, Nov. 27, Thanksgiving Day. He took off at 12:03 p.m. Eastern time, so was in Baghdad roughly 2.5 hours. The staff aimed to keep the trip secret until after he had taken off from Baghdad ? no filing was permitted from the site, by the pool or by locals. The President landed with barely a sliver of a moon. He was already in a white Land Rover or Land Cruiser by the time the pool reached the Tarmac. The staff said the motorcade was 12 vehicles plus a military ambulance. Short motorcade of less than five minutes through a blacked out, rutty part of the airport, which looks like a military base. Passed Humvees, dog teams. The President pulled up to the back of the Bob Hope Dining Facility, a huge soft-sided, white building that looks like the most expensive and sturdy type of party tent. The soldiers, we were told about 60 The programs at each place said "Happy Harvest Thanksgiving 2003 Baghdad, Iraq." On the front were the logos of the First Armored Division ("Old Ironsides") and the logo of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Iraqi Freedom. Menu was boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce, roast turkey and cranberry sauce, baked ham, prime rib of roast, glazed Cornish hen, sweet potatoes, buttered mash potatoes, savory bread dressing and corn bread dressing, turkey gravy, buttered corn on the cob, seasoned green beans; pumpkin, sweet potato, pecan, apple and cherry pie; assorted candies and nuts; assorted salads; assorted breads and rolls; sparkling grape wine; eggnog and assorted beverages. On the table were non-alcoholic malt brew and sparking grape juice. Soldiers were at long tables with paper tablecloths showing harvest scenes, with soft drink with Arabic writing. The high-ceilinged hall was hung with American flags and the tables had paper, pop-out turkeys. The event had been set up with Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Paul Bremer, the chief civilian administrator. When the President arrived, the soldiers were still thinking those would be the speakers. General Sanchez said, "God bless you for all of your sacrifices," and hurriedly introduced Ambassador Bremer. Bremer said he had Thanksgiving greetings from the President. But then Bremer, hamming it up, looked toward stage left and said, "Let's see if we've got anyone more senior here." Then the President came out and the room erupted even before he reached the stage, with soldiers standing on chairs, standing on tables to bark, hoot, yell and "Hoo-ah!" their approval.