August 9th, 2007
01:08 PM ET
11 years ago

Bush on Obama: Leave me out of it

Bush held a press conference Thursday morning.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - When it comes to anything related to the ’08 campaign fray, President Bush says just leave me out of it.

At Thursday morning’s White House news conference, Bush again declined to comment on the race – this time the criticism of Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama’s Pakistan statement.

Bush said, “I suspect that over the course of the next months when I hold a press conference you'll be trying to get me to engage in presidential politics, trying to get me to opine about what candidates are saying, whether they be Republicans or Democrats. And hopefully I'll be disciplined enough not to fall prey to your questions, not to fall into that.”

Last week, the Illinois senator said he would be willing to use military force against terrorist training camps in Pakistan if Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf did not act against them.

His chief rival for the Democratic nomination, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, criticized the comments at Tuesday's AFL-CIO forum, saying presidential candidates should not "engage in hypotheticals."

"You can think big, but remember, you shouldn't always say everything you think if you are running for president, because it has consequences around the world. And we don't need that right now," Clinton said.

Meanwhile, at Camp David Monday, Mr. Bush told reporters, “I'm confident, with real, actionable intelligence, we will get the job done” and capture top al Qaeda leaders inside Pakistan. The President was then asked at Thursday’s news conference if the “we” included Pakistan’s government.

Mr. Bush responded, “To the question you asked and to my answer in Camp David, I said I'm confident that we - both the Paks and the Americans - will be able to work up a plan based upon actionable intelligence that will bring the top al Qaeda targets to justice. And I meant what I said. We spend a lot of time with the leadership in Pakistan talking about what we will do with actionable intelligence. The question was: Am I confident that they will be brought to justice? And my answer to you is: Yes, I am confident.”

- CNN Political Desk Manager Steve Brusk

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. DJ, Los Angeles

    It's stupid for reporters to ask an active President to comment on foreign policy statements made by a candidate.

    Yes it is good he didn't take the bait.

    What do the expect him to say?

    August 9, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. Phil R. Philadelphia, PA


    Osama Bin Laden will be caught and paraded before the world – Fall 2008.

    Right before the President Elections.

    August 9, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. David, San Mateo, CA

    "both the Paks and the Americans"

    Wow, he was about one syllable away there from a racial slur.

    August 9, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. Wigmor, Chicago, IL

    "Paks?" Why say Paks as opposed to Pakistanis? The word "Paks" or "Pakis" were used as a derogatory term for Britons of South Asian descent. Another demonstration of Mr. Bush's either inherent insensitivity or laziness.

    August 9, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  5. Mike, Washinigton, DC

    it is "amusing" to me how the MEDIA simply fails to mention that Hillary said she echoed the same thing a few hours after Obama's speech?

    Watch this video:

    I think it's a bit of being a hypocrit to speak on both end of the issue.

    The question should be, "Would this candidates will NOT act if they found an actionable intelligence?"

    August 9, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. lavelle

    Wow and how long its been since the WTC fell? man they must be up day and night trying to figure out where Bin laden is.

    August 9, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. Clark Joliet, IL

    Wasn't it the President, after 911, who said that the United States would go after terrorists and countries that support and harbor terrorists; to flush them out wherever they live? Why criticize Barack Obama when we need to put more pressure on Pakistan to eliminate terrorists in their country.

    August 9, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. Myron, Honolulu, HI

    I agree let’s leave Bush “out of it”; he has been “out of it” for quite a while. 😉 With Bush’s low ratings the majority of voters probably wouldn’t take Bush’s endorsement for anything—most would go the other way.

    August 9, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. Ringo, Earth

    are you fine folks working on another anti-Obama piece for tomorrow? I hope the streak continues, maybe regurgitate how McCain thinks Barack is naive. Or throw in Hillary's criticism again, or sneak in Dodd's skepticism of Obama... maybe Biden?

    August 9, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Anne, Austin, TX

    Did Bush really call people from Pakistan "the Paks?" Is that short for "Paki"? I've never heard that abbreviation used before.

    August 9, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Steven, Boise, ID

    Thank God! The less George W. Bush opens his mouth the better! He's PATHETIC!!

    August 9, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Gary Tennessee

    When President Bush's name is used, use the title President in front of his name. He is the president and for yall to not recognize that title is just childish after almost 8 yrs in office.

    August 9, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Darren R., Morgantown, WV

    I, for one, am glad to hear these words come out of Bush's mouth. When it comes to National Security issues like what's going on in Pakistan (certainly a volatile issue at this moment) I think it's important for these things to be taken seriously from all perspectives. What I find disturbing is that between Obama, Bush, and Clinton, Hillary seems to be the odd one out when it comes to speaking frankly about what I think is probably the most important issue in the headlines today. Is Bush's response calculated? Yes. Is Obama's based on a hypothetical? To a small degree. But playing it "close to the vest" as Hillary seems to be doing is NOT what this nation needs at a time when reasoned discourse is getting rarer by the minute. It's too easy for democrats to paint Bush as an example of everything wrong with politics, but this doesn't mean that what we need is an anti-Bush; and I'm afraid that's what Hillary is trying to be.

    August 9, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Cody Bralts, Urbana IL

    His press conference was very embarrassing to this nation.
    We need a president who actually knows what he is saying!

    August 9, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. Sean, Durham, NC

    Contrary to Clinton’s philosophy, I would rather have a president who says what he thinks, instead of saying what he or she thinks the opinion polls want to hear, as Hillary does. We must take bold moves against these terrorist organizations, and I personally don’t think we need a president who is afraid to speak the truth because he or she are afraid of a little political fallout in Pakistan.

    Hillary only pretends for the polls, Obama is a leader to the people.

    August 9, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. stanley, pittsburgh p.a

    why does cnn hate obama? bush never responded to any one candidate, he never said directly to obama to leave him out of it, bush is too smart for that, please report fairly when it comes to obama, thx.

    August 9, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    Let's wait a see if he is true to his word after the parties select their candidate for President. I bet he will be doing a lot of opining.

    August 9, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Rissa, Kansas City, MO

    Mr. Bush??? Do you call Bill Clinton: Mr. Clinton?? I believe it is President Bush. I guess CNN doesn't hide it's disdain for the president anymore.

    August 9, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    I'm glad Geroge is staying out of it. Whoever wins will have to clean up the lttle mess he has made of the world. Further, there are candidates, from both parties mind you, for whom is even unworthy of licking the bottom of their shoes. Yes, he is lower than any Republican candidate on the horizon...he's had more time and opportunity to betray us all.

    Do humnaity a favor George, and just be a lame duck for the rest of your term.

    August 9, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. Josue Romano, Buena Park, CA

    That can be, he is the core of politics right now.

    August 9, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. Tim Williams

    This is not Bush speaking directly to Obama.

    This is just Bush saying he won't get involved in the Presidential race. Another misleading headline.

    August 9, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. Dan Dean Orlando. FL

    One of the few intelligent utterances...

    August 9, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Vladmir, San Diego, CA

    The media, including CNN is trying too hard to find someone "slamming" Obama for his comments on Pakistan etc. Bush here has said absolutely nothing about Obama, yet someone still conjures up the headline.

    August 9, 2007 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. ACA, San Diego, CA

    cnn needs to quit being the clinton news network. it's so obvious now, you guys just need to stop

    August 9, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  25. Matt from Iraq

    So the Clinton News Network is pairing comments on Obama from both Hillary and President Bush. I am confused, because normally CNN only tells the story of what Clinton says and leaves Obama's comments out of the argument. But here they are showing exactly why Clinton is the establishment candidate, even comparing her to Bush, which is just what Obama is trying to do. Thanks Clinton News Network. Please give the public more Pro-Hillary-Anti-Obama coverage, because we are not capable of reading through your spin.

    August 9, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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