Former President George W. Bush keynote speaker at local casino Thursday

43rd President is headliner for Western Riverside Council of Governments

POSTED: 10:32 PM PDT Jun 12, 2013 
President George W. Bush, 2002 State of the Union
CABAZON, Calif. -

Former President George W. Bush will be the keynote speaker at a regional conference at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa Thursday.

America's 43rd president will speak at the Western Riverside Council of Government's 22nd annual General Assembly.
Bush's appearance will be less a speech and more of a question-and-answer session touching on economic development and other issues and how what's going on internationally affects Riverside County according to Council Executive Director Rick Bishop.

WRCOG is a regional alliance consisting of Riverside County, 17 cities and two water districts. Its General Assembly is an annual event which gets funding from corporate sponsors. Last year's keynote speaker was Colin Powell, a retired Army general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Bush, a 66-year-old former Texas governor who was president of the United States from January 2001 to January 2009, made nine trips to the Inland area during his two terms. He visited the Mission Inn in Riverside in 1999 and 2003.

Bishop declined to say how much Bush would be paid for speaking, saying he was contractually prevented from doing so. No public money will pay for Bush's appearance, he said.

Since leaving the White House, Bush has been paid at least $15 million in speaking fees, and he charges $100,000 to $150,000 a speech, according to published reports.

Protesters plan to gather across the street at the Morongo gas station,
denouncing economic policies in operation during the Bush administration which they say precipitated the Great Recession. Most of the demonstrators are affiliated with the Occupy movement that sprang up in 2011.