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Bush meets with son of late Ground Zero worker

January 31, 2007
Bush with the son of deceased NYPD 
officer Ceasar Borja.

President in NYC for state of the economy at Federal Hall

(Lower Manhattan-WABC ) - President Bush was in town Wednesday for a meeting that was closely watched by 9/11 workers.

Bush also met with the son of deceased NYPD officer Ceasar Borja behind closed doors. The 21-year-old is demanding federal aid for all Ground Zero workers.
Eyewitness News reporter Stacey Sager has details from Lower Manhattan.

He was supposed to attend a rally at Ground Zero with sick workers, but it's hard to say no to an invitation to meet with the president. And while some wonder what will come out of this, Ceasar Borja, Jr. has high hopes.

"I'm so happy," he said.

Borja, Jr. says his 15-minute meeting with President Bush went exactly as he planned.

The 21-year-old emerged from the Federal Building with his family to say the president's proposed $25 million in funding to help sick workers at Ground Zero is a good start.

"The first time that there's a down payment included in the president's budget toward the relief and help and aide and rescue of all those 9/11 victims," Borja said.

Dozens who gathered at Ground Zero today say they are hopeful. Some are widows of workers who died. Others say they are sick and tired of waiting for federal help.

"We need help now, not later when I'm dead and buried," Ground Zero worker Jimmy Nolan said. "I want to know who's going to feed my wife and kids when I die."

"The president started something, and he needs to finish it," 9/11 first responder widow Jeanmarie DeBiase said.

For the Borja family, this has been an overwhelming time of both promise and grief. Just last week, 52-year-old Ceasar Borja, Sr., a former New York City police officer, died of lung problems more than five years after he worked extensively at Ground Zero. Several hours later, Borja, Jr. was with Senator Hillary Clinton at Bush's State of the Union address.

Borja's widow says she was very impressed by Bush today. And as for what he thinks his father might have said, Borja Jr. was very clear.

"He would just pat me on the back once, if i'm lucky, twice," he said. "Smile at me, do one of those manly hero headlocks, and that's it, and I would love it."

The main point of the president's visit to New York City was to deliver some good news about the state of our economy.

He also took aim at corporate executives and their lavish bonuses.

"Government should not decide the compensation for America's corporate executives, but the salaries and bonuses of CEOs should be based on their success at improving their companies," Bush said.

The president's comments on executive pay was met with complete silence from business leaders who filled the seats inside Federal Hall.

(Copyright 2007 WABC-TV)