SIMI VALLEY, Calif. -- President Bush on Friday compared the war against terrorism to Ronald Reagan's battle against communism and vowed that the United States would prevail over Islamic extremists just as it did in the showdown with the Soviet Union.
"Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is doomed to fail," Bush said.
The president spoke at the ribbon-cutting of a pavilion featuring a gleaming Air Force One at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. He participated in a wreath-laying at the grave of the revered Republican and basked in warm wishes from former first lady Nancy Reagan.
"We're great fans of Nancy Reagan," Bush said standing before the Boeing 747 that carried Reagan and six other presidents. "We admire her strength. We admire the love she has for her husband, and we're grateful for her friendship."
Despite the cheerful ceremony, Bush's visit rankled some California Republicans, who felt his appearances were poorly timed so close to the Nov. 8 special gubernatorial election.
While he is a Reagan admirer, Bush is in a far different position politically than the late president was at this time in his eight-year tenure. Bush's job approval rating has dipped below 40 percent, while Reagan's approval rating was at 63 percent in October 1985.
Bush's popularity in California is low, part of the reason that Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a no-show at a $1 million fundraiser attended by the president Thursday night and the Reagan library event the next day.
The library event was marred by fog that settled in over Simi Valley, shrouding the glassed-in pavilion at the hilltop library.