November 11th, 2008
05:36 PM ET
3 years ago

Bush names his regrets, praises Obama

 Bush reflected on his presidency Tuesday.
Bush reflected on his presidency Tuesday.

(CNN) - As his presidency nears its end, a reflective President Bush suggested Tuesday he regrets some of his more blunt statements on the war on terror over the last eight years.

"I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said," Bush told CNN's Heidi Collins Twhen asked to reflect on his regrets over his two terms as president. "Like 'Dead or Alive' and 'Bring 'em on.' My wife reminded me that, hey, as president of the United States be careful what you say."

The interview, aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York City, came after the president addressed a Veterans Day Ceremony.

Shortly after the attacks of September 11, the president said of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden: "I want justice. There's an old poster out West that said, 'Wanted, dead or alive.' " Bush was also criticized in 2003 for his answer addressing insurgents in Iraq.

"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on," he said then.

The president said he wishes he had not spoken in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner he declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq on May 1, 2003. The now-infamous moment occurred aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln only a month after U.S. troops in Iraq were deployed.

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soundoff (256 Responses)
  1. WestCoastWoman

    I suggest you read HUBRIS (The inside story of spin, scandal and the selling of the Iraq War) by Michael Isikoff and David Corn. BUSH is EVIL! He is a horrific man! The damage he has done to this country is down right shameful. I also fault Karl Rove, Cheney and most of the Bush administration. Out with the thugs, liars and haters and in with the new, honest and smart administration. God Bless America! Peace

    November 11, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. Hilary

    It would have been nice if he could have revealed his "regrets" a little sooner. Doing it as he's leaving office feels kind of like a slap in the face.

    November 11, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. SLO BLu !

    One moment of unrevealing candor in eight years does not a statesman make. Or even a mensch. When he acknowledges that this sloth and disinterest allowed Cheney to run free and wild outside the Constitution then maybe, just maybe, he gets some credit. However, none of us will live that long.

    November 11, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. wildofski

    I also wish President Bush plenty of time to reflect, preferably from a
    prison cell while serving a life sentence for war crimes against
    humanity.

    November 11, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. Oregonian for Obama/Biden

    As a die-hard Obama supporter, I cannot say that President Bush is a bad person. He may be a bit dim, and he may be surrounded by even dimmer or potentially radical people, but he is not the evil anti-christ he's made out to be.

    I still don't think that justifies what he's done to our nation, but his failed policies are more of his idocity than what he wanted

    November 11, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. jaimetout123

    As nightmarish as the past eight years of war, executive undermining of the separation of powers principle, war, economic collapse, war, war, and war have been, I have to agree with the other commentators who have expressed their willingness to admit that President Bush is, in essence, a decent (if intellectually stunted and lacking in judgment) man. In his governance he has been short-sighted, incompetent, and power-hungry, and to say that his presidency has been a colossal disaster of epic proportions is putting it quite mildly. It is more than fair to criticize his policies and actions, but those who would criticize him as a human being do a great disservice to the viability of such criticism.

    I hope that Mr. Bush will in the future continue to be cognizant of his failures, as well as candid enough to admit to them. Such admissions do not diminish the problems he has either caused or exacerbated, but they do serve in some small way to redeem him as a human being.

    November 11, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  7. Howard Beasley

    He probably regrets that part about promising to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Twice.

    November 11, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  8. I voted for Obama (not Bush 3)

    Daniel, I completely agree with you. It's not really Bush that should be getting blamed, he was a decent, kind of stupid guy who ment well. Cheney is the one behind all of this. We really should not be counting down the days until Bush is out of office, but Cheney. Dick Cheney is probably one of the more evil polititions out there.

    November 11, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. jxn

    Where was this guy for the past 8 years? I'm glad he's gone but if he would have been more regretful of mistakes while in power, we would have all given him a lot more slack. That is why we need someone who is able to communicate to the people...we just didn't believe this man. I don't know if he is the guy to thank but I will anyway...THANK YOU for keeping us safe since 9/11, I'm willing to give him credit for that.

    I'm ready for the change that we so desperately need though.

    Bring on President Obama!!

    November 11, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. J.L.

    Wishing the Bush's well as they return to Texas. Never have been a big fan of his policies, but I appreciate the fact that he was sincere in his efforts for our country.

    November 11, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  11. Haywood

    This is the most clueless man to have been in the white house in my 47 years on earth.
    i am a republican and did not vote for him in either election.
    i would still like to know about the military service he just walked away from.
    Why did we attack Iraq?
    Because he wanted to finish the job for his father... it was 100% personal as we have found NO WMD's and when ever we pull out, it will be a disaster as we have made the entire region more unstable through his short sighted policies.
    I happen to believe Clark when he said "Bush was doing everything possible after 9/11 to tie it to Iraq".
    His legacy is a punch line to a sad joke he'll never get.

    November 11, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. Joe Regis

    There will be no redemption for the Bushes, they are cooked.

    There will be no praises of the Bushes for at least 10 years by the GOP or anybody seeking office.

    This chapter in the history of America and the world is going to be tough to reverse. Obama needs full control of the Houses to be able to reverse the damages done every where.

    November 11, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  13. Lynda Ridgefield, CT.

    Bush will regret that his favorable numbers went into the toliet!

    He will also regret, that he was the worst president this country ever had.

    GOOD RIDENCE!!!

    November 11, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  14. Charlie

    Good riddance to this narcissitic coward. Thousands and thousands of American deaths in Iraq, plus untold Iraqi lives lost. He's leaving in ruins our economy, and our standing in the world - he's even destroyed the GOP brand with his divisive, nihilistic politics! And he regrets the banner? Miserable failure. Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you!

    November 11, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  15. stockpile

    Bush made many bad statements, bad deciions, plus many acts of action of stupidity. As a republican I voted for him both times, the second term was my act of action of stupidity. Bush was arrogant as Cheney & I personally believe Mc Cain was of the same caliber. If Mc Cain wanted a women for V.P., he could have selected a qualified woman from the house or senate. With Mc Cain's health & if he would not survive his term I shutter to Think of Palin as President, without experience. Her being on SNL did not help. Personally; I have nothing to say against Palin I just felt she was not qualified & Mc Cain should not have put her in that position. No I did not vote Republican for the 1st time in 65 years. May be an act of acrion of stupidity but I feel the Country has a better chace this time around.

    November 11, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. Leslie Newman

    I just hope he decides to vacation in Europe, and that while there, he is arrested for war crimes.

    November 11, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  17. Derek

    Well, without Bush, there'd be no Obama. McCain would win in a landslide if Bush was even moderately popular.

    November 11, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  18. Obama 08

    I don't have any ill will towards him, but I'm glad he is leaving!!

    November 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. Bellingman

    "Wish him well?" "Good man?" You've gotta be kidding.

    No citizen is above the law, and despite any feelings of pity one may have for the President as a man, he should be prosecuted for his crimes to the fullest extent possible.

    Respected legal scholars have argued seriously and persuasively that he and Cheney should be prosecuted for treason, which if convicted is punishable by death.

    In my opinion, even that would be getting off easy, considering the immeasurable damage they have inflicted upon our country.

    November 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  20. Chris

    I wouldn't want to be him. Yes, he will have a lot of time to reflect. If it were just words spoken in error or haste, that would be one thing. How many have died because the words that were spoken were not true...

    November 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  21. Andrea

    Wow...How about regretting the over 4,000 dead in a war that should've never been waged.

    November 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  22. John

    I take it that he doesn't regret letting the Oil Companies gouge the consumers on Gas Prices either!!
    50% price drop since he crashed the financial system!

    November 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  23. Laurel

    George Bush may not be "evil" but his actions have caused incalculable harm, which fits part of the definition of evil. I don't think his intentions were to cause harm, but because of his arrogant ignorance [as my Dad would say] the end effect was the same. He also ignored the wishes of the rest of the world because he thought his way was the best. So he tried to make the United Nations irrelevant. Unfortunately, as the United Nations does not advertise, most Americans are unaware of the enormous amount of good that the United Nations does and has done, such as eliminating small pox and trying to eliminate Polio, in addition to their peace keeping missions, scientific missions and their humanitarian missions to help refugees etc, etc, etc. By ignoring the United Nations and attacking a nation that did not attack the United States, his use of torture [don't be mealy mouthed about it, call it what it is] and multiple other illegal activities, he could be considered a war criminal. So I just wish he would get what he is due – a jail cell.

    November 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  24. Emeka

    why do you libs hate bush so much?

    November 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  25. Bush hater

    I didn't vote for Bush, and I don't wish him well. He is a murderer of over 4,000 American troops and thousands of innocent Iraqies.

    November 11, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
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