November 11th, 2008
05:36 PM ET
6 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. Minnesota

    The man can't even tell the truth about that "Mission Accomplished" blunder even after EVERYONE and their mother knows it was his administration that put that up!!! Ugh!

    Just like McCain's "fundamentals of the economy are strong" comment that he then contorted into the fundamentals meant "our workers" and how dare we criticize our work force!!

    OMG these people are waaaayyyyyy to predictable.

    Please America.... never again!

    November 11, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. Christian

    If he has true regrets he will behave honorably as he leaves office and finally cooperate with the investigation of the Justice Dept. and the Valarie Plame leak, producing all the e-mails and not having those close to him hide behind exec. authority. Also he will not pardon scum like Scooter Libby. I guess we will see if he has regret for his behavior or only regret that the American people held him accountable.

    November 11, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. indy chris

    I hope obama prosecutes the entire administration. treasonous bastards.

    November 11, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. Susan

    I cannot figure out why anyone in their right mind would want to be President of the U.S., no matter how good of a person you are, the Pres. becomes nothing but a scapegoat! I hope that doesn't happen to Pres. Obama.

    November 11, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. giniajim

    These are nice comments by Pres. Bush. With everything that has gone on in the last eight years, he is a nice guy. History will judge his, and his administration's, performance, and I don't think it will be pretty. But for this moment: well done Mr. President!

    November 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. Curtis - Marietta, GA

    If Mr. Bush was this forthcoming and gracious during his tenure, I would have approved of him. It was his horrible decisions and his stubborness to change those decisions that always got me. At least I can see that he's not completely ignorant, but that he just did some stupid things and surronded himself with people who didn't see what they were doing was wrong.

    November 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. Speider

    A bit of clarity in the end does not explain or forgive where he has led us. Speaking of family, does he understand the families who have been torn apart by the two wars we now wage?

    November 11, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  8. Clinton Supporter

    I think Laura Bush is the best thing that ever happened to this guy.

    He's not evil. He has many good traits. His heart is in the right place.

    He is NOT intellectually curious – and this is his downfall.

    No one is happier than I am that he is finally, FINALLY going away.

    I'd say he was dumb, but I would also have to say that the American people were even more DUMB to elect him a second time.


    November 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    however, there is a video still circulating that shows President Bush being asked if he'd made any mistakes. He looked surprised, appeared to be thoughtful and then said that he could not think of any mistake he had made.

    Either with age comes wisdom or he is trying to work on his legacy. Too little – too late.

    November 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. Gene

    See.. if the people at Fox News and their viewers were anywhere near as gracious as Bush is being... then I wouldn't have anything to say about Republicans in general..

    But.. so far I keep seeing venom spit out of Fox and their viewers.

    November 11, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  11. Briana the college student

    I think is ready to go as much as we are ready for him to leave. I don't think George Bush is 100% evil I hope he can live the rest of his life peaceably.

    November 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. Clinton Supporter

    Cheney, of course, was his life insurance policy.

    No one would dare eliminate him with Cheney waiting in the wings...

    November 11, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. Dave

    I love hearing about how much of a family man Obama is... he is really not the stereotype Democrat.

    What I want to know: did Bush and Obama pray together?


    November 11, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Richard A. Spomer

    You all are ignoring the fact that President-elect Obama can think he is a stud and get laid by some female, and you all will let him get away with infidelity because you are selfish and dishonest.

    November 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  15. Tip my hat!

    If I think about it, I have to give this man some respect....earned. He was faced with being in charge of one our our country's worst events ever: 9/11. At the end of the day, sitting on the side of the bed with, literally the weight of the USA on his shoulders, how he must have struggled with making the right decisions to protect Americans. What a heavy...heavy burden that must have been. Criticize him, his "in" to the WH, his policies etc., but you have to think about what he has gone through in the name of "Mr. President". I don't envy him and I certainly don't agree with many of his policies, but the Christian in me knows that he had a heavy burden to bear and it must have broken his heart when that happened. Imagine how he must be saying to himself..."If only...".

    Let us not dog the man out...let's give him the respect that he deserves and if you don't think you can, take a minute and put yourself in his shoes. Imagine that it was YOU carrying the burden of the heartache and safety of millions of Americans. I genuinely feel sorry for him.

    God bless him for making decisions that he thought were right...even if they weren't.

    Now...moving forward....Obama/Biden! It's a New Day in America!

    November 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. julio

    President Bush I wish you well.

    November 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Chris F.

    Why don't he regret the millions of jobs America has lost under his regime and outsourced overseas. He has supported this and sold the workers of America out to Big Business wants. He should of protected this country not just from terriorist but globalization. His policies have put us on the brink but I do believe we can get by because we are Amiricas and we will overcome.

    November 11, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  18. xddy4u

    Mr. President-Elect, DO NOT watch these news outlets, nor listen to their advice. Already, before you even take office, they are trying to stir things up. WATCH YOUR BACK. The News medai IS NOT your friend.

    November 11, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. Lisa

    I was waiting for the Misson Accomplished statement, that's one I will never forget. Also I will never forget when he said "Well he did try to kill my father" referring to Sadaam Hussein.

    1. Dumbest statement by Bush
    Mission Accomplished

    2. Well he did try to kill my father.

    3. Bush " I'm not really wooried about Bin Laden"

    November 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  20. keeth in california

    It is bitter-sweet to say, "Thank you, Mr. Bush, for giving us Barack Obama. Had you not screwed up so badly and surrounded yourself with such incompetent people, you would not have set the stage for Obama to succeed you. And he will succeed,... spectacularly!"

    November 11, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  21. Luigi ina California

    Too little, too late. Mea Culpa time for the Bushman. Croc tears all around.

    November 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. SJC

    This is "way too late". Bush may have salvaged his presidency if he acknowledged these mistakes soon after they occurred. Instead he stubbornly maintained his stances and created additional justifications to his failed policies.

    The moment it was officially declared in 2004 that there were no WMD in Iraq he should have stood before the country and apologized for his grave error. Instead he insisted he would do it all over again. No sympathy here considering the 4100 dead and 35000 injured.

    November 11, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. Patrick

    Bush you had the ENTIRE WORLD behind you after 911. Obama now has it... Let's see which president accepts this good will and runs with it to benefit the US. Can you guess?

    November 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. mr herrera manuel

    hey bush you should regret how arrogant you was against latinos becau
    se they are the one who make a big diference when is voting time you ne
    ver see more gop presidents in the white house is long is you live,bec la
    tino vote would keep growing faster and faster every four years

    November 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |

    He has got to be kidding. He is why most americans have no use for politicans as a rule. His poor wife and children to have to bare this burden is just sad.

    I understand failing and doing something wrong, but to go around telling other people how to live a moral life while not doing it yourself insults my inteligence.


    November 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
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