Daughter’s catch bit bigger than dad’s in pre-Putin fishing trip

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KENNEBUNKPORT (AP) – President Bush’s daughter Barbara hooked a slightly larger striped bass than her dad Saturday in the Atlantic Ocean off this tiny town that’s gearing up for a visit from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After a 90-minute morning bike ride, Bush hopped aboard his father’s speedboat, Fidelity III, and sped out into the chilly waters on his second fishing excursion in two days. His dad, former President George H.W. Bush, was at the wheel.

Bush’s fishing trips have attracted the attention of residents and tourists in Kennebunkport, where the president’s father has spent his summers since he was a boy.

The town is buzzing with activity in advance of Putin’s arrival on Sunday for what some have dubbed the “lobster summit.”

A Russian flag flew alongside Old Glory at a home having a yard sale. Bartley’s Dockside Restaurant posted a sign that said: “Kennebunkport is Putin on the Ritz.” The menu at The Clam Shack is posted in both English and Russian.

On Saturday, though, Bush was the focus.

The president – sporting a cap depicting a Scottish terrier like his dog, Barney – used a bait fish to angle one of two fish caught by the group. Barbara cheered her father on as he leaned back and reeled it in.

Then, just as he reached down to pull the fish out of the water, Barbara got a nibble and began reeling in her fish, which was a little longer and fatter than dad’s. The two smiled and posed with their bass.

Visits by foreign leaders are not new for Kennebunkport and the Bush family estate at Walker’s Point, which juts into the ocean.

During the former president’s term in office in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the compound was visited by French President Francois Mitterrand, British Prime Minister John Major, Jordan’s King Hussein and other world leaders. The former president also notably retired to Walker’s Point three days after ordering American forces deployed to stop Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

AP-ES-06-30-07 1441EDT

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