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. max (NY)

    Well it takes a man of charaters, of wisdom and of great philosophy, especially a president, to recognie his errors and denounce them publicly. That's the real Mr, Bush which was outshadowed by Mr. Bush, the President. Hoorah! for him.

    November 11, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Shall

    I am glad to see President Bush has attempted to make this transition as smooth as possible and is displaying a lot of positive characteristics. Although I do not feel that he did all of the things he could have done to lead our country in the right direction, I do believe that at heart he isnt a bad person nor did he intentionally try to put Americans in compromising situations

    November 11, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. Limbaugh is my Saviour

    We adore you George,and your boss Cheney.We made a fortune in the last eight years and can now go to Dubai and live like Kings.

    November 11, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |

    How come I am starting to like Bush more now that he is about to be out of office? Lol why didnt act/say things like that before so everyone didn't think he was such a bone head?? Weird..

    November 11, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. Ms. B in California

    I wish he would have thought about the consequences of his actions WHILE things were happening instead on the way out the door. The epitomy of his tenure was when he said six months ago that he hadn't heard of gas going up to $4 a gallon three weeks before it went up to $4 a gallon. That is how he ran this country, always three weeks behind and never caught up to what was the present. On the positive side, I personally think that as a person, Bush probably is a good ol' guy, but that wasn't what we needed in the White House. We needed a leader that would had stopped the helicopter during Katrina and picked a few folks up on the way instead of doing a Presidential "Fly By". That is how I will always remember him, the President who "Flew By" every catasterphe.

    November 11, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  6. reminiscing and promise

    The peaceful, usually gracious, transfer of power that is taken for granted in the US. It is rightfully applauded and should emulated worldwide. Elections are real. The people speak, and show remarkable good sense, eventually. Refreshing. It works.
    My issues with Mr. Bush were not his lack of cordiality, but his lack of intellectual curiosity that led to incomplete and simple, but disastrously ineffective, solutions to very complex issues; his substitution of loyalty for competence as prerequisites for apolitical service; his confusing being stubborn and being steadfast,;and his administration's attempts at executive power expansion at the price of constitutional civil rights.
    This high hopes this nation, and the world, sees in the new president is in part that Mr. Obama has shown every indication of being the opposite–smart, thorough, depth, respectful, and introspective. Yes, attention to political reality is necessary, but rational respectful governance and prioritization will be refreshing as we face critical economic issues not seen since FDR and the US reclaims its special international place squandered in the prior eight years.

    November 11, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. Craeg P; BC, Canada

    It is easy to feel benevolent and forgiving to an outgoing president, but I don't think that Bush deserves my respect. I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost or ruined because of his thoughtless and illegal decisions. I can not think of a single accomplishment that would be attributed to him, the most powerful person in the world.

    November 11, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  8. carol

    Of course we all say things we shouldn't have said and I'm sure President Bush is no exception....but you do have to watch what you do say especially in such a high profile position.
    He will have time to remember many things he shouldn't have done or said but that will be for him to have to live with as he leaves office next year.
    I didn't vote for Bush last time and McCain this time as I think their policies are all wrong....we need a new direction and leadership and I feel we will get that when President elect Obama is sworn in next year.
    I do wish however President Bush and his family all the very best in their new lives and wish God's blessings on President elect Obama and his family as they start their new journey.

    November 11, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. 3strikes

    NO WAY!

    NO HOW!



    take that nobama democraps

    November 11, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. Concerned Texan

    I never voted for Bush either, but it always seemed he had the wrong type of advisors in his administration. The people that he surrounded himself with were self seekers to say the least. They never seem to address the needs of the people of the country. They spent more time using the peoples tax dollars to discredit people like Valarie Plame (sp) and her husband instead of addressing the state of the union.

    November 11, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. anyonmous

    « Back to mainPrevious article:
    Can John Edwards make a comeback?Next article:
    Poll finds most Americans welcome Dem control

    November 11, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. Shannon

    that's it, no regret for the tens of thousands of dead in this illegal war, I guess that's why you're so unpopular Mr Bush.

    November 11, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. DP in CA

    Bush says: "I am proud to be the commander in chief of people who are so selfless and so courageous that they would volunteer to serve our country in a time of war," he said. "I'm proud when I see people feed the hungry. I'm proud when I'm in Africa and see volunteers helping those citizens dying of HIV/AIDS."

    Bush... Is there anything YOU did as president that you can be proud of, or is your pride limited to things OTHER people did, that you had NOTHING to do with?

    November 11, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. Americans

    We have 2 regrets...


    November 11, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. Mike

    Is Bush developing a conscience, or is it re-growing the more time he spends away from Rove?

    November 11, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  16. gregory james

    mr bush go wright to hell sir an burn ok

    November 11, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  17. StacyGA

    I think he allowed others to set the agenda instead of taking the lead as he should have done! This shows that he had no ideas of his own. Good riddance to the worst president in recent history. On a more personal note I think he is a fairly decent person, but not leadership material. He is not intelligent enough, PERIOD. What I want to know is WHY so many of my fellow Americans voted for this loser TWICE???!!!. It truly defies logic and is the reason why we need EDUCATIONAL IMPROVEMENT in this country.

    November 11, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. caywen

    This should improve his approval ratings, showing his personal side and his approval of the character of the next President.

    The Bush administration is an example in failure to execute paired with the desire to execute the wrong things. But I think it's important to remember that Bush is a decent guy at heart, just like McCain is.

    Of course, it's far easier to admit that now that Obamas are moving in 🙂

    November 11, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. mr herrera manuel

    i dont know why dick cheney was elected for vp bec eveybody knows and i
    know he have big racist feelings racist should not have a place on politic
    s on a diferce country like this

    November 11, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. Nick Parga

    Now with the good will of the pasing error we most organized to make a permanent change on the overpopulated world by looking faster for new source of energy and transportation and get rid of many nuclear destruction. Nick

    November 11, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  21. jc

    1. Who knows what role he had in 9/11

    2. Started a war because of it, and went into Iraq on false terms

    3. We're in debt because of him due to the wars and his defense spending

    4. Our reputation nationwide was shattered

    5. His links to the oil industry are hard to ignore, as are the links of Iraq to oil

    5. Unregulated free market left us with a shattered economy

    6. For all we know, the masterful bailout of 700 B was all in the master plan–money that will all go to his republican banker buddies. Not a loan...a bail out.

    7. Welcoming Barack to the white house with this renewed, innocent, "i'm the victim" spirit of American greatness does not and should not let us forget what a horrible president this guy is.

    November 11, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. Ken

    Bush better suck up to Obama! My wish for Obama would be for his administration and Justice Dept. to investigate many of the things that the Bush adminstration has done. Investigate agressively, and let the chips fall where they may. The American people deserve to fully know how this country has been abused the past 8 years. I don't want to hear about this vague concept of "healing" - I'll be healed when the truth of the last 8 years finally comes out.

    November 11, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. John

    We are going to need a sense of humor to face Bush's legacy.

    November 11, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  24. 3strikes

    in 2012, the new slogan america will be taking up is "nobama change failed, republican reform needed"

    November 11, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |

    President Bush made a lot of mistakes, but I think the country should just focus on having a new president oboma and let by gones be by gones there nothing anybody can do to bring back the last eight years, america must focus on the future. Good luck and best of wishes President Bush and Lord bless our new president to bring change to america

    November 11, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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