November 11th, 2008
05:36 PM ET
2 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. Charles Freeman

    George W. Bush was and is an abject failure as President. Good riddance and I hope he just disappears after January 20, 2009.

    November 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. HB

    President Bush really doesn't regret a thing!! He firmly believes that providence guided his hand and that future generations will revisit his presidency and declare it bold and successful. He is the prototypical right wing idealogue. Poorly educated, intellectually disinterested and messianistic. If the US is to avoid electing future demagogues, we must encourage a liberal worldly education and celebrate our elite scholars almost as much as our athletes. Since when did elite become a bad word.

    November 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. Kim

    Give me a break...George Bush is trying to get any extra positive press he can in his last couple of months in office. We are not about to forget anything, and he's certainly not going to convince me that he's a "good man" as another commenter said. No "good man" would envelop himself in the horror that has been our government for the past 8 years and be (1) oblivious or (2) innocent. Sorry Mr. President. I don't believe it for a second...and 5 minutes of decency from you isn't going to change my mind.

    November 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. Bo from the ATL

    Why do people always wait to the end to show they have a heart and are not the evil people they are often perceived to be?I never voted for Bush but deep down I believe him to be a decent man.

    Note to Barack: Do not surround yourself with people that have their own agenda's. I like what I see thus far, continue to use good judgement.

    November 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  5. Charlie in Maine

    I've given this a lot of thought and I can think of three things that President Bush did that will help President Obama. The first thing was to make Colin Powell part of the Executive branch. This alowed people to see an African American run the State Department. The second (although I disagree with her on many points) was bringing in Condi Rice.

    The third thing Bush did was mess things up so badly that even if Obama were not the gifted statesamn that he is, he would look good by comparison.

    Thank you George W. you may leave now.

    November 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. jt

    Thanks God you're not gonna be there, Amen

    November 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. Whatever

    Bye Bush!!

    November 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. Sam

    Where was THIS Bush for the last 8 years? I can't believe it took him this long to admit a mistake (and then, only minor ones). I'm glad he's almost gone... but I hope he'll do even more to ease the fears of right wing lunatics by continually reminding them that Obama is a decent man.

    November 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  9. paul (staunch Moderate)

    Regardless of his reflections upon regreting "some things" he said, he allowed the country to end up hated by many former friendly peoples of the world. The disdain pointed at the people of our country was (really) directed toward us due to our electing him a second time. Too much of his "With us or against us" philisophical mentality continued to prevail in his foreign dealings. While history may lighten up in its view of his administration it will always find that he most certainly left us worse off than he found us.

    November 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  10. Sandy

    Too little, too late George.
    As of today..4,193 DEAD and over 30,000 WOUNDED..Shameful.

    "It is frightening how the actions of a single leader can have such drastic effects on the prestige of an entire nation."

    ~Ramman Kenoun

    November 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. Nara

    Yes W, these were mistakes you should have avoided. Hope you will be a little less arrogant from now on.

    November 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  12. dagnome, Las Vegas

    Our long national nightmare is almost over. This ineffective, untruthful (and un-elected) president has cost us our standing in the world, immersed us in two unending, expensive, economy-destroying wars, drained our national pride, made us a mockery in the world and sapped our national good will.
    Dear Mr. almost-ex-President Bush, GO AWAY, and mope in some corner, secure in the knowledge that your eternal legacy will be "He was the President who got America into two wars that killed over 4,000 Americans, nearly destroyed Iraq, cost nearly a Trillion US dollars, tanked the American economy, and NEVER captured the true perpetrator of 9/11 – Osama Bin Laden – fugitive-at-large". Your administration SUCKED, and you have left us, as a nation, poorer economically and emotionally. But there's HOPE now – Obama.

    November 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  13. Bob

    No. He's not a good man. He's a vindictive dimwit who failed at everything he ever did and there are hundreds of thousands of people dead as a direct result of his being elevated to the presidency. He and his buddies used fear as a weapon against the American electorate far more effectively than Bin Laden ever did. He is scum, and he's going to Hell.

    November 11, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. vern

    My feelings toward Pres.Bush are still the same.I feel that he had the right intentions,but as commander-in chief he was in over his head.

    November 11, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. rosalvo

    Let's just all be glad that his term has finally come to an end. Just like he will have time to reflect on all the stupid comments he made, the people who voted for him should also reflect. So that in the future they don't make that mistake ever again!

    November 11, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Daniel

    To a few commenters, I don't understand how you can overlook that many of our current hardships have formed over years and decades prior to Bush's coming to the office. Much was even led and caused by Clinton, Bush Sr., Regan, and even Carter if you understand how to read history.

    Though there is not much you cannot blame Bush for, you need to decipher trust from truth, what media tells you from what you really should know. His staff are not bad people. Some agree with certain degrees of what they were trying to do. I am one sympathetic to many of his policies and I know plenty of others that won't even discuss them.

    Just imagine yourself in that office. Is it a place of power or entrapment? This is where I hope that Obama's positive tone can take hold. He does need to be fought against on some of his stances, but I will do so with respect. Life and liberty are too precious and we are a nation of shallow people to understand that depth.

    Be well.

    November 11, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. Virginia S. Lowe

    No more Michael Chertoff. South Texas, Galveston, New Orleans and Houston should be dancing in the streets. We won't have to listen to his arrogant mandates as he marched over people's homes, property and the Constitution. Few administrative flunkies have ever treated all three with such disdain.

    November 11, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  18. Dingoangst

    This is a purely evil man. I'm quite sure he has regrets, like the murderer that he is, getting caught is the main regret. Let the first degree homicide trials begin.

    November 11, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  19. Glenn Sand

    I hated him then, I hate him now and don't trust him anymore than I would a 'pet' rattlesnake. His forgiveness will come from someone of way more divine light that me if at all. In any case, that's the forgiveness that he should seek, not mine because there is none in my heart. He's a criminal by anyone's measure and should be dealt with as such. Good riddance and may the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits.

    November 11, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  20. Bill

    Common, he cannot reflect. Thats beyond his intellect. Holding him responsible for the whole mess is like holding you cat responsbile to cook a meal. Its beyond.

    November 11, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  21. Kriss-ATL

    I didn't vote for Mr. Bush, but I like the guy. He can be arrogant, but he provided a lot of humor for us to keep is laughing when things were so bad that we couldn't cry. You couldn't create that character if you were paid to do so. I had a lot of laugh at his expense, and I will miss him, but God never fails, he provides Biden. His mistakes were many, but they are his to live with. I will still pray for him and really wish him all the best.

    November 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. TheForse

    I'm a proud supporter of President Bush- voted for him both times and I cannot say there is one thing I regret about his presidency. In fact, when he spoke tough against terrorists I applauded the loudest.

    He's a decent, honorable man w/ great sensitivity. It's a shame the incoming Pres lacks those qualities.

    November 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. Joe-6-Pack

    FINALLY .......I JUST COULDN'T SEE HOW HE COULD HAVE NO REGRETS. HE HAD ALWAYS TOOK A STAND ABOUT NOT HAVING ANY REGRETS.......I THINK THE (OBAMA'S/USA/WORLD) CHANGE GOT TO HIM.

    November 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. Wraith

    This man is so irrelevant that I don't know why we're even discussing him anymore. History will record these past eight years as the most catastrophic presidency in history, and rightfully so. I defy anybody to cite one positive thing that this man accomplished during his presidency.

    Go away.

    Get lost.

    Don't write.

    November 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. sol

    Why do I get this feeling that Bill Clinton might have put the Colombia deal on the table for Bush when Bush called him? Hmmmmm.

    November 11, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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