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. Kathy

    I honor President Bush for his honesty about his regrets. I can imagine in this time of transition there is alot of reflecting going on at the White House. I like many Americans are ready for change in the White House, and look forward to the new Administration. President Bush is right when he says an Obama presidency is good for America.
    President-Elect Obama is no different from any other good father, of course his top priorities are all his girls. It is wonderful to see the entire family.

    November 11, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. kcbob

    His biggest regret should be thinking he was ready tfor the office.

    Being able to win isn't the same thing as being able to lead.

    November 11, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. jay

    I always knew Bush was a good man and would have been a better president if he had good people around him.
    The big head Carl Rove and Dick Cheney are the evil men who did not care about Bush but themselves.

    November 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. C

    22% approval ratings have a funny way of forcing idiots to reflect. He is the worst president ever – end of story.

    November 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. Courtney F.

    Bye Bye George!!! It's time to get on your horse..and go back to Texas.. Finally a end of a error!!!

    November 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. kcbob

    Someone saw Oliver Stones movie this weekend.....

    November 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Becky, Midwest

    Who cares? His days are numbered. He and Congress screwed the country over for oil. I can't believe these same Congress people got re-elected! Both democrats and republicans in Congress are equally guilty of the economic mess we are in. I'm tired of everyone blaming Bush, Rove and Cheney. They had a lot of help from the democrats. The dems gave in to Bush darn near on every single issue that Bush ever wanted. Idiots. But, they don't want to talk about that. SIck of all of them.

    November 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Duct Tape

    I hope he saved the banner, it would be awesome hanging over the White House on election day.

    November 11, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. dave harlow

    Hey folks, The guy stood up and did what he thought was right. He was not right all the time but dammit he still stood up in front of everyone and did it....can any of you say the same? I can not.

    November 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. Gina

    Does he regret killing 100,000 people? His departure can't come fast enough.

    November 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  11. angela

    Of course he has regrets NOW! After finally having to admit to himself that it was his administration and his policies that brought the repubs down in 06 and 08. Go back to Texas, Bush. Americans, as well as the rest of the world have had enough of your stupidity, partisianship, and total lack of leadership.

    November 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. Perusing-through

    My initial impression was to feel sorry for Bush. Bust then I thought about the following list of issues, and my sympathy went out the door.

    [1.] – 4,300 U.S. service men & women dead in the ill-fated Iraq War.
    [2.] – 30,000 U.S. service men & women wounded and physically impaired for life.
    [3.] – 645,000 Iraq civilians killed in the crossfire between warring factions and U.S. collateral damages.
    [4.} – 5,000,000+ Iraqi civilians uprooted from their homes and many leaving the country.
    [5.] – two unending wars (Iraq & Afghanistan),
    [6.] – economic meltdown,
    [7.] – skyrocketing unemployment,
    [8.] – disastrous energy policies,
    [9.] – record breaking home foreclosures,
    [10.] – unaffordable or no health insurance coverage,
    [11.] – lost investments, pensions and retirement plans,
    [12.] – never ending national debt,
    [13.] – out-of-reach affordable education,
    [14.] – lost of international credibility,
    [15.] – shipment of high-paying jobs overseas.

    November 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. Karen

    While I am a strong supporter of Obama, I do think that the history will be less harsh to Bush than "W" is or people are at this time. He was a president in the most challenging time and his failure was partly due to factors over which he has little or limited control.

    November 11, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. Kate

    It is nice to see such gracious comments from Bush. I only wish Bush could have been as reflective while he was in office and truly ponder what actions would be "good for the country" instead of brashly taking action and insisting his actions would be. Even so, as kind and honorable as his words are, I can't ignore that he is also busily signing vast numbers of executive orders that are setbacks in science, environmental protection and transparent government. Do actions speak louder than words? Yes.

    November 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  15. Nelsen

    President Bush is a human being like the rest of us. He makes good decisions and bad decisions. Despite some of the bad decisions, he is still our president and we should accord him that respect. Obama is a human being like the rest of us. He will make good decisions and bad decisions. Despite some of the bad decisions, I hope we will acknowledge his as our president and be respectful.

    November 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  16. Mazzy

    History will show that this man was the worst and most dangerous President in America's history. He had the change do bring the world together and 911 and he fugged it up and created new haters of America.

    November 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  17. LeoTheDog

    Enough of the "he's a good man" comments!

    No amount of humility at this point can reduce the harsh judgment historians will have of this man's presidency.

    Sorry, George, but just like you were not persuaded by jailhouse conversions when you were governor, I will forever consider you the man who destroyed the greatest chance this country had at unity. Instead, you told us to shop and used that fateful day's event as a club to beat your political opponents over the head. You have blood on your hands, and you cannot leave office soon enough.

    November 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  18. me

    I agree the people surrounding him let him down...
    I pray that u find peace within yourself

    November 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  19. lipstickonapig

    I didn't vote for the man either but who amongst is without sin. I just wish he would have governed like he spoke today...what a different country/world we would have today!

    November 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  20. Rapadio

    After all, Bush was not tuly a bad guy. His biggest and unforgivable mistake has been to be driven by Dick Cheney and other hawks.

    November 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  21. garyoke

    George W Bush is an ignorant, self-righteous, truly banal, yet evil man.

    He and his cronie have done great – though not irreperable – harm to this country.

    I hope he burns in hell.

    November 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. Ben in Dallas

    It is too bad that GWB did not listen more to his human side and less to the mean spirited radical right. Each President has a chance to make history, as did GWB. Unfortunately, the shambles left by his administration will haunt the american people and the world for years.

    May he truly rest in Texas. We need the break

    November 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. James Wilson

    Maybe you can go live out the experience you never had now Bush.

    Try starting a business and run it successfully.

    No Government loans this time to make you wealthy.

    How you ever got (3) Three SBA Loans to drill dry holes and pay yourself a $200,000.00 a year salary is beyond me. Guess having Daddy in Government helps huh !

    How many in your family live off the Government now ??

    November 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. BJ Moritz

    He just doesn't get it. The mistake was not using those phrases regarding the war. The mistake was going to war in the first place under false pretenses and with essentially no strategy. Bush and his cronies lied to the American people countless times. Either he is too dense to recognize his serious mistakes, or too prideful to own up to them. My bet is that it's a lot of both.

    November 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. Steve

    He's been an absolutely dreadful president, but I appreciate the fact that he's being gracious now.

    November 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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