No? Well there's a good reason for that. There wasn't any.
Or rather his response was to continue his Christmas vacation for another 2 weeks before returning to Washington DC and, as far as I can tell,
never publicly addressing the matter in any form whatsoever (CORRECTION: see UPDATES 2 and 4).
Far be it from me to criticize Bush's response, but in light of recent events and statements by prominent GOP politicians I think it's worth revisiting that episode.
When Richard Reid attempted to bring down American Airlines Flight 63 on December 22, 2001, Bush was on Christmas holiday.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:
Some additional information to bring to you at this time. We do know that President Bush was notified about this situation earlier today and that he has already had a briefing on the situation. The president, as we have noted, is spending the holiday weekend at the presidential retreat at Camp David.
... and the terrorist attack was handled as a law enforcement matter.
The word from the White House, Catherine, is that the administration has been monitoring the situation since it became aware of it late morning according to one administration official. We also know the FBI, (is) the lead investigative agency, at this time.
On December 23, Bush remained on vacation and silent...
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said that President Bush continued to monitor the situation and receive updates at Camp David. Bush has not issued any statements about the incident.
Boston Globe 12/24/2001
...and Senator Joe Biden, Democratic chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, appeared on Face the Nation with the opportunity to score cheap political points against an administration caught off guard by a terror attack for the third time in the space of 4 months. He made these comments:
"The ability for al Qaeda to coordinate and plan and focus on and carry out long-term devastating attacks in the United States has been badly crippled -- not ended, but badly crippled. So we're a lot better off than we were four months ago, although we're still going to have this possibility."
On December 24 and 25, the Bush family continued with their Christmas celebrations as planned.
Hardly a creature was stirring at the White House yesterday as President Bush celebrated the Christmas holiday with tamales and family at Camp David.
Preparing for the big meal, the president hit the gym earlier in the day, where he worked out with family members.
Spokesman Scott Stanzel said he also received his daily intelligence briefings and called nine men and women in the military stationed overseas.
Houston Chronicle, 12/25/2001
Bush's Christmas radio address, which spoke directly to the pain and losses suffered in the 9/11 attacks, made no mention of the shoe bomber incident of just 3 days prior. But that would have been impossible since the address had been pre-recorded the week before while Bush was still in Washington.
After Christmas it was on to Crawford Texas for another week of vacation.
For just the second time since the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush savored the wide open spaces of his beloved Texas ranch on Wednesday, recharging his batteries for "a war year" in 2002.
After a bucolic Christmas at Camp David with extended family, Bush and his wife, Laura, will see in the new year with friends at the secluded 1,600-acre spread they have named "Prairie Chapel."
Laura Bush said last week she and her husband also were looking forward to vacation. "That'll be a great rest for us. A lot of friends will come from the Austin and the Dallas area. A lot of our friends will come spend New Year's with us."
Upon returning to Washington January 7, President Bush hit the ground running. In just his first couple of days back he taped a meeting with the Fed chairman discussing economic policy:
"We're making good progress on winning the war in Afghanistan, and we've got to make good progress about helping people find work."
...gave a speech at the University of New Hampshire:
We have an important mission overseas, and we've got an important mission at home. That's to make sure every single child -- every child -- receives a first-class education.
...sat at a school desk in Ohio to sign his cornerstone education bill, "No Child Left Behind":
Bush pledged to win a war against illiteracy as well as the war in Afghanistan.
...and held a private political fundraiser:
His political team is readying him for a re-election bid.
If anyone is able to locate any news articles about Bush actively responding to the 2001 shoe bomber plot, in its immediate aftermath or any time thereafter, please post a link. This would also be a good place to post references to Republican politicians at that time roundly criticizing Bush for his lack of foresight, misplaced priorities, and weak leadership.
Adding one more item to the timeline, on January 16, 2002 the shoe bomber was indicted on terrorism charges by a federal grand jury. Cabinet-level law enforcement officer John Ashcroft briefed the press and the nation.
Also, Richard Reid is currently serving his federal prison sentence in Colorado.
***UPDATE 2 (12/28/2009)***
Correction! Bush did in fact reference the shoe bomber incident during the course of a press Q&A outside a diner in Crawford on December 31. Famed soft profiler Elisabeth Bumiller records Bush's comment in paragraph 7 of this piece:
A NATION CHALLENGED: THE PRESIDENT; Bush Says Taliban Leader Will Be Found
President Bush said today that it was ''just a matter of time'' before Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban leader, was captured, but he did not say if and when the United States Marines would join in any search. Mullah Omar is believed to be hiding in southern Afghanistan.
''I'm patient, and so is our military,'' Mr. Bush said before having a cheeseburger and onion rings for lunch with staff members and friends at the Coffee Station, the only restaurant in this town of about 700. The president is spending the holidays at his 1,600-acre ranch, eight miles northwest of here.
Mr. Bush, in his last question-and-answer session with reporters in 2001, also said that the main task of the F.B.I. was now to protect Americans from further attacks.
''The whole culture of the F.B.I. has changed for the better,'' Mr. Bush said. He added that the country as a whole was ''on alert'' and praised the flight attendant on an American Airlines flight on Dec. 22 who noticed the man whom Mr. Bush called ''the shoe bomber,'' Richard C. Reid, trying to light a fuse in his sneaker.
***UPDATE 3 (12/28/2009)***
As several people in the comments have pointing out, the press response to events like this is also important to consider. For example, here's a brief excerpt from a NYT article. Can anyone possibly guess if it's from 2001 or 2009?
The visual contrast of a president on vacation while there was anxiety about air travel also drew fire. Although aides issued statements describing conference calls with counterterrorism advisers, pictures of passengers enduring tougher airport screening were juxtaposed with reports of the president picnicking ... and playing sports.
One wishes this article were hosted on Wikipedia so that by whom tags could be applied to "drew fire" and "were juxtaposed". By whom, NYT?
***UPDATE 4 (12/30/2009)***
According to this Politico article, posted one day after this diary, Bush mentioned the shoe bomber incident with reporters on December 28, a few days sooner than I was able to discover. As with his statements I've already posted from December 31, Bush was not asked about the incident by reporters but raised it in passing.
Here is how Elisabeth Bumiller reported the December 28 mention in real time:
In the wide-ranging, outdoor news conference that touched on Argentina, the Enron Corporation, John Walker and the man the president called ''the shoe bomber,'' Mr. Bush also said that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had urged India and Pakistan today to use restraint in an escalating military buildup on the border with Kashmir.
That was the only mention in her 24 paragraph report.
***UPDATE 5 (12/30/2009)***
In this Huffington Post article (which was posted several hours before Politico's article) Sam Stein makes a comprehensive review of events from that period and correctly identifies Bush's December 28 remark about Reid as his first.
***UPDATE 6*** (12/30/2009)
I see now that Amanda Terkel at Think Progress also has a post on this topic (and was kind enough to link back to this diary). Apparently 72 hours is the Karl Rove Standard for presidential reponse times. Good to know.
***UPDATE 7 (12/30/2009 FINAL)***
Now two days after this diary, NBC and CBS have also cited Bush's delayed shoe bomber response.