June 30, 2006 - Posted at 8:33 pm CST
Memphis, TN_A history-making day in the Mid-South. President George Bush brings the Prime Minister of Japan to a place he's always wanted to visit: Graceland. President Bush is the first sitting president to visit the home of the king of Rock-N-Roll. And with him, he brought--quite possibly--one of the biggest Elvis fans: The Prime Minister of Japan Junichiro Koizumi.
It's no secret the Prime Minister is enamored with Elvis Presley. Just last night he sang a duet with the President at the White House, an Elvis ballad of course.
With elvis' daughter Lisa Marie and his former wife, Priscella,watching, the Prime Minister just couldn't help trying out a few signature Elvis moves. The trip to Memphis comes as a thank you from President Bush to Prime Minister Koizumi for his support of the war on terror.
But just across the street, sentiments were not the same. "I'm here to tell the President that if he wants some grace from Graceland, he needs to withdraw our troops from Iraq", said Carl Rising-Moore.
Adoring Elvis fans waiting to tour the mansion found themselves sandwiched in between protestors. "We come here to celebrate Elvis", said David Pulley,"but Bush just happened to be here the same day we are."
It's not everyday that an American President and the Prime Minister of Japan pass through the gates leading to Graceland. The very idea has locals all shook up. Just think foreign diplomacy meeting American pop culture here at the home of the king of Rock and Roll. Kevin Kurn of Elvis Presley Enterprises said, "The international spotlight is on Memphis and Graceland and this is tremendous."
Tourists could only watch the President's passing motorcade from the distance. Secret Service, a contingent of city busses and a fire engine all acted as a barrier for the two world leader's safety. News media from all over the world recorded their tour...which was far from typical. The pink cadillac belonging to Elvis' mother was brought to the mansion last night.
The President and Prime Minister even got to see Elvis artifacts that have never been on display before.
"We have taken some of these things and placed them around the house, so we could show the Prime Minister what Graceland has to offer", said Kern.