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. ericmiami

    As a Vietnam combat vet, I had a special place below my heart for Nixon's lies to the American people. But Nixon wasn't dumb. George W. Bush will go down in history as the worst president. Too late for more lies and false remorse, George. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That's the way the saying actually goes, George.

    November 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. Keena

    God bless President Bush and his family. Although I've disagreed with most of his acts as Commander in Cheif, I acknowledge his hard work and effort to lead this country in the face of constant adversity. I also have great respect for he and First Lady Laura Bush's warm welcome for the Obamas. I pray that God brings his family comfort and peace regarding his term of service to this great country.

    November 11, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  3. ctaylor

    What people fail to realize is the great job Bush did in keeping us safe since 9-11. Another thing is the housing crisis fueled by the democrats and a few republicans meddling in the free market system caused the entire meltdown-adding fuel to fire was the speculation and nasty rumour mongering and proliferigating from the Bush hating crowd including those in the MSM-that increasingly caused panic in the stockmarket-causing even more problems-this is a manufactured crisis put in place years ago when fannie and freddie were created and the refused to be regulated-our future is a marxist president with a kangaroo whitehouse-you will wake up when your infatuation wears off and you all take a good long look at who you have elected this year-by then it will be too late -already foreign countries call us socialists and commies-I guess they are right. So congradulations all you commies and socialists-welcome to hopenchange.

    November 11, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  4. scott williams

    A million dead Iraqis, and he regrets some things he said. The banality of evil.

    November 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  5. DallasNE

    All three of those things reflect on Bush's judgement. The difference is that most of us knew at the time they were uttered that they were a mistake. Interesting that he has no regret over his State of the Union address claiming falsely that Saddam attempted to acquire yellowcake uranium from Niger nor the outing of Valerie Plame in retalation for exposing that claim as a lie. No regret about torture. Just regret over a couple of numbskull statements. Not much to applaud there.

    November 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  6. Catherine

    Too little, too late.

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

    Pres. Bush and his father have always been extremely gracious, I think Obama is cut from the same cloth as is Bill Clinton, Hilary and Nancy Pelosi could learn a thing or 2. case in point the unveiling of Clinton's portrait at the White House or congratulating Pelosi on becoming the speaker of the house.

    November 11, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  8. Pinky

    This country will hurt for a long time from the horrible mistakes this administration has made. President Bush has had eight years to see and acknowledge his mistakes but he chose not to. I did not vote for him and could not understand the people voting again for him after the first four years when the handwriting was clearly o n the wall of what was to come. I do wish him and his family well. God bless America.

    November 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. i remember

    What's with the "he's a good man" and "I wish him well" comments? Today is Veterans Day – have we already forgotten that Bush sent over 4000 of our troops to their deaths for a needless war he drummed up. Not to mention the wounded, the 100,000+ dead Iraqi's, the hate he has generated towards America. He doesn't mention any of this among his regrets, only things he said that he thinks made him look foolish. (And he still is lying about the Mission Accomplished sign, as if this was some accident that he was standing in front of it.)
    This Veterans Day, I say "Lest we forget".

    November 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. Ron , West Coast

    Hind-sight is always 20-20 .....
    Happy Trails To You , until we meet again ,..... Happy trails to you , keep smiling until then .....

    Geo. W ., and Laura remind me of Roy Rogers , and Dale Evans .
    The only difference is , I liked Roy and Dale ......

    November 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  11. Nikki, Houston

    He needs to spend extra time reflecting on all of the people who lost their lives during Hurricane Katrina, and his slow response to that disaster. What an idiot. Good riddance.

    November 11, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. Sean

    freenlovit.. you must be blind. what do u expect? bush to come on national media and blast Obama and the democrats? come on. Our unjust war in iraq has blood in his hands. Innocent civilians are dieing there..as well as Our troops. we shouldn't have gone in Iraq at all! it's a stupid war without Honor! we have enough domestic problems here in America.

    November 11, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  13. Still for Hill

    Lock him up! Do you think the families of our dead soldiers feel sorry for him?

    November 11, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  14. Reverend JR Davis

    Yes, the Boy King will have plenty of time to think about his regrets while he's spending the rest of his miserable life in Federal Prison for war crimes.

    November 11, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. Jim Nickel

    I think he's mildly retarded and very reflective of the current Republican base.

    November 11, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. Butch Pansy

    He should be reflecting on his war crimes from a cell in The Hague. Surrounding himself with evil people is his choice; it reflects his own corruption and mendacity. He regrets his choice of words, not his actions. Shame on him!

    November 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  17. Peter (CA)

    I agree with you guys on these posts. Bush wanted to look tough but he was a "yes man" for the evil that is Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz.
    He was not bright enough to make a difference so he talked tough and stuck his foot in his mouth.

    Scott-problem with Bush is he looks only at the theater of it. It's about his statements and standing on the deck of the aircraft carrier in a flight suit. He just is not deep enough to think about and regret his actions. He was human in the moment....like when he went to Mississippi after Katrina and hugged the survivors but, as soon as he got on the plane, it was all gone.

    November 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Julio

    Whenever you come to power beholden to the religious idiots..like Bush did ..it was only a question of time that such hypocrites will lead us down the hill.. The religious right gave Bush the feel that no matter what he does he will supported by these hypocrites ...such false sense of confidence doomed Bush ...faith is private thing but these hypocrites wear it & then come across as righteous that they are right & everyone is wrong ... GOP has always been wedge/non-sense issues abortion, gays, intolerance, guns etc rather than the welfare of its citizens ...OR better policies ...It took 8 years of self serving attitude & to hell with others ...Now he leaves the biggest mess for this country 2 wars, highest unemployment in nation, economic mess & a recession ...Thank you President for the service ...Hope you reflect on what you heaped on this nation ...

    November 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. planejane

    I sort of feel sorry for him, because he has to go to sleep every night and the souls of the fallen and wounded and crippled of this unjustified and unneeded war are probably not giving him sweet dreams.

    Besides that, hindsight is always 20/20 and while he and Cheney leave office laughing all the way to the bank, we shall hope that the future will guide the American people to make better choices when they have their election day. And in between elections, stand up and be heard for better schools, roads, clean water, fuel efficient cars... man, that would be nice.

    November 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Alexis

    It's been a long eight years, for America and the world. Better days are ahead of us. It will take a lot of climbing to get out of the hole this man and his cabal have dug for us, but we will do it.

    November 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  21. Donkey Party

    You know, I'm admittedly a California liberal Democrat, and by no means a fan of Bush (or Republicans in general), but I have to respect the guy for at least being able to comprehend the fact that he really made a mess of things througout his tenure, and also acknowledging the fact that America needs a change like Sen. Obama, and that it's good to be supportive of the President. Of course, there is the possibility that Bush's gracious behavior is merely a ruse, in an attempt to appeal to the public and historians that he was a gracious and humble man in his waning moments, and that he expressed a genuine desire to see the next President succeed. I mean, he's done plenty of bad things to give us reasons not to trust him, but on this instance, I'm inclined to believe he's being honest and genuinely sincere. I bid Mr. Bush the best of luck with whatever the future holds for him.

    November 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  22. Al

    Many regret what they told or did in past.

    But the fact is, the aggression into Iraq took many lives. Something like a half million, if media will ever bother to count as humans not only our military, but also Iraqi civilians.

    If one tells "oh, I did not want this, I'm not a criminal, but these bad guys tricked me into this... Cheney and cronies..." – well, now you are guilty too. And also all people who voted for you. Twice. Twice guilty.

    November 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  23. DC

    Not a Bush fan, but I liked the "dead or alive" comment. I thought it captured the sentiments of the country at that time. He is from Texas after all. I believe history will show that he was a decent president rather than the exaggerated bumbling fool that is portrayed in the media.

    Oh, and Scott, if you actually knew anything about our country's intelligence community you would know that 9/11 would have happened to anyone. It was just a matter of time. Our intelligence community and their systems for sharing information were inadequate and have been for years. So blaming Bush for 9/11 is just being a simpleton. How about credit for keeping America safe these past 7 years.

    November 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. Ayo Eboda

    NEVER MIND NOW IT IS TOO LATE MCCAIN WAS ONE OF THOSE OLD AMERICANS WHO MISLEAD U. WHERE IS HE TODAY? PEOPLE SEE U AS AN UNPOPULAR PRESIDENT YES BUT DONT JUST SIT DOWN AND WACTH WORK WITH OBAMA AND MAKE AMERICA GREATER SAFER AND BETTER. AFTER MCCAIN`S SPEECH I GAVE HIM BACK HIS RESPECT.

    HOPE TO SEE GOV PALIN BACK ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL ONE DAY SOME DAY.

    November 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  25. Rachel

    I'm just glad he's gone soon.

    November 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
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