December 1st, 2008
02:51 PM ET
5 years ago

Bush says some voters backed Obama ‘because of me’

ALT TEXT

President Bush says he wants to be remembered as a president who stuck to his values. (GETTY IMAGES)

(CNN) – President Bush told an interviewer that his presidency may have helped Barack Obama win the White House.

"I think it was a repudiation of Republicans," he told Charlie Gibson of ABC News, according to a transcript released by the network Monday. "And I'm sure some people voted for Barack Obama because of me. I think most people voted for Barack Obama because they decided they wanted him to be in their living room for the next four years explaining policy."

Earlier: Bush reflects on legacy

As Obama — who made opposition to the war a centerpiece of his presidential run — continued to assemble his national security team, Bush would not say whether or not he would still have pushed for war with Iraq if he had known there were no weapon of mass destruction in that country.

"A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein," Bush said. "It wasn't just people in my administration. A lot of members in Congress, prior to my arrival in Washington, D.C., during the debate on Iraq, a lot of leaders of nations around the world were all looking at the same intelligence.

"I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess," he said, but would not say whether he would have pressed forward with the decision to invade Iraq if he had known otherwise: "That is a do-over that I can't do."

Bush also said that his administration had pressed for tougher regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but that push had been short-circuited by politics. He also said that many of the decisions that led to the economic crisis came from Wall Street before he arrived in the White House.

“I'm a little upset that we didn't get the reforms to Fannie and Freddie - on Fannie and Freddie, because I think it would have helped a lot,” he said. “And when people review the history of this administration, people will say that this administration tried hard to get a regulator. And there will be a lot of analysis of why that didn't happen. I suspect people will find a lot of it didn't happen for pure political reasons.”


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (1,029 Responses)
  1. Willy

    To whoever, and for whatever reason someone brought Laura Bush's education up:

    "She graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1968 with a Bachelor's degree in education, and soon took a job as a second grade school teacher. After attaining her Master's degree in Library Science from the University of Texas at Austin, she was employed as a librarian. "

    Learn to Google, nubcakes.

    December 1, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. pam

    As I read the comments listed above, I see how angry some people are, I hope that they are not this angry in their own lives or what a miserable existence that is.

    I am hoping that Barack Obama will be a good leader for this country even though I did not vote for him.

    I watch Fox news sometimes and CNN news sometimes and I have never seen the HATE being exhibited here.

    I can only hope this hate does not turn into something worse.

    December 1, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. Dan

    Shame, he could've been an acceptable president, if he had gotten an opposition Congress sooner. In the same way that Clinton did a horrendous job when HE had a Democratic majority in Congress then turned into an acceptable president one Newt and the Repubs took over, Bush had the opposite – entered with a Repub majority. Only, he got SIX years of governing like a maniac. What could've been otherwise?

    Oh, I'm sorry lefties – did I spill my reasoning on your WHARRGARBL?

    /independent

    December 1, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. sky

    This man has no self awareness. The repudiation is not of Republicans. It is of Bush and his team who brought his own party down. Bush ruined the Republican party just like the Religious Right ruined religion. they spewed hate and separatism and greed and we all suffered. I dont think he realizes how pathetically inept he looks when he makes statements like this. Has he ever apologized to us.....for not only ruining his own party but in putting America in turmoil. History will crucify this guy and his :"buddies". What I find inexcusable....is that if he hadn't stolen the election.....4000 young Amercian men and women would be alive right this very moment. Not to mention the death and destruction of Iraq.

    December 1, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Jeff Brown

    Ya Think?

    December 1, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. WENDY

    OMG!!!!!!!! NO ONE CAN BE THIS DIM WITTED.CAN THEY? I MEAN BESIDES THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR HIM THE 2ND TIME??

    December 1, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Doug Hughes - Phoenix

    George W. Bush will undoubtedly go down in history as the absolute worst president this country has ever had. Good riddance!

    December 1, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. From DC

    Neo-cons are dangerous, and I am just happy to see one down, though there are still many to go.

    To CJ: How ridiculous! Looks like you fit right in the short bus with the W. Your statements are just comical!!! "Go to California and start your own country..." Didn't you see from the election that the Republican Party is now a party of old, white, Southerners and Mid-Westerners??? What do y'all have in common? Racist, narrow-minded and ignorant views + bible-hugging! These are the types of "wackos" who shouldn't be able to vote, but we are a DEMOCRACY, and that's what you neo-con losers try to shove down the world's throat, so your statements on how some shouldn't be able to vote just goes to show how hypocritical Republicans are. You "wackos" are now the MINORITY!!! It's not just Cali and the Northeast anymore. YOU wake up! P.S. I think you should go back to school and brush up on what "communism" is.

    December 1, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. Missouri Bob

    Good call by Bush. Not hard to understand – the many bad things that happened on his watch: 9/11, Iraq, the attack on the Bill of Rights, the attack on the environment, Katrina and FEMA's pathetic response, the incredibly high gas prices followed by an economic meltdown, big jumps in unemployment, the health insurance crisis. Republican hard-cores want to blame everything on either Bill Clinton's term or on the 2 years the Dems controlled the Congress (but could still be vetoed or fillibustered). Oh well – must be the FOX news effect!

    December 1, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. Chelsea

    I could not agree with all of you who are stating that Bush needs to be held accountable for his war crimes (along with his little band of misfits...). If he is released back into the Texan wilderness...it will truly show the stranglehold that fear and greed has on America...we know he acted unjustly... yet I fear that too many people are too afraid to do anything about it.

    December 1, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. Breaking News

    Sounds like the kid caught with the matches after the house burns down.

    December 1, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. Reedeasy

    We saw how the dumb guy ran our nation, I'm pretty sure the smart guy will do better.

    December 1, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. Mike PL

    I am a big Obama fan and supporter.

    However, I think people here are much too harsh on Bush.

    The problems we are facing are a result of many things that went wrong, both before he took office and also from other people in Congress during his time, and other people in his administration. Sure he probably made some poor choices, and is not a good on-the-fly speaker like our new president elect.

    Yes he took us to war, but if you had to make that decision, and its a couple years after 9-11, and you have your brightest advisors giving you intelligence that terrorists are making and piling nuclear weapons in iraq, and iraq repeatedly refuses to let UN inspectors in, can you tell my you gaurantee you would not choose to go with your advisors? I'm not sure what the answer is, but I don't think he was facing an easy decision.
    And to compare him to a cruel dictator like Saddam Hussein is both silly and unfair. Everyone who has studied this dictator at all knows about the creulty Saddam inflicted on his own people, and that he has killed countless people for no reason. I love this country, am excited about Obama, and respect the job that Bush had to do during his tenure. He was a victim of the times so to speak, and I don't think anyone else sitting in that chair over the last 8 years would have been able to do something remarkably different in a more positive way.

    December 1, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. Karen from Charlottesville

    I voted for Barrack Obama because he is intelligent, handled crises in his candidacy with forthrightness and calm, demonstrates integrity with others and has a long fuse that will be very useful in a very trying time ahead.

    I don't think Bush is evil but I do think he was manipulated and intentionally misinformed. He has wrecked our country by being too complacent. I find it hard to forgive him because so many Americans and people all over the rest of the world are suffering because of his policies. It would make it a lot easier if he would just accept responsiblity and apologize for his actions.

    December 1, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. Jerry

    It's kind of a shame.... when Bush goes back to Crawford he is going to put another person out of work.... the Village Idiot. Just can't have 2.....

    December 1, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. Cary Lacayo

    He got it right for once with his usage of words in a sentence...On his way out...Repudate....to divorce or separate formally from (a woman)
    2: to refuse to have anything to do with : disown
    3 a: to refuse to accept

    Exactly what the American people did in the voting booth along with Obama's message to us during the election days...We are in a recession due to the bush reign of bad decisions...

    December 1, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Mike P

    I am a big Obama fan and supporter.

    However, I think people here are much too harsh on Bush.

    The problems we are facing are a result of many things that went wrong, both before he took office and also from other people in Congress during his time, and other people in his administration. Sure he probably made some poor choices, and is not a good on-the-fly speaker like our new president elect.

    Yes he took us to war, but if you had to make that decision, and its a couple years after 9-11, and you have your brightest advisors giving you intelligence that terrorists are making and piling nuclear weapons in iraq, and iraq repeatedly refuses to let UN inspectors in, can you tell my you gaurantee you would not choose to go with your advisors? I'm not sure what the answer is, but I don't think he was facing an easy decision.
    And to compare him to a cruel dictator like Saddam Hussein is both silly and unfair. Everyone who has studied this dictator at all knows about the creulty Saddam inflicted on his own people, and that he has killed countless people for no reason. I love this country, am excited about Obama, and respect the job that Bush had to do during his tenure. He was a victim of the times so to speak, and I don't think anyone else sitting in that chair over the last 8 years would have been able to do something remarkably different in a more positive way.

    December 1, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. carol

    I don’t think people voted for Obama because of Bush personally, although it was his policies were against....they voted for Obama because they saw a fresh, young face with new ideas, that just wanted to get this country back on track.
    Bush was so out of touch and has been for years, he has totally lost the plot when it comes to understanding what the country really needs and how to go about fixing it. I do honestly believe he is a nice man outside of politics, but Presidential material he never was as far as I’m concerned.
    I do however wish Bush and his family all the best after he leaves office, I'm sure it can't come quick enough for him and it can't come quick enough for me to see Obama as our new President.

    December 1, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. Gary

    Har Har Hardee Har Har

    December 1, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Bam!

    This simpleton NEVER could/ve fooled, convinced, or even cajoled me into thinking he could run a hen house, much less the White House.

    December 1, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. boered1

    @ ldsb33 December 1st, 2008 1:42 pm ET
    ____________________________________________________
    The stupidity and duplicity of the radical right never stops amazing me
    FIRST the economy when clinton turned the running of the government over to bush was doing very well, stock prices up, oil prices low, the average spnedaable income of Americans was on the rise for the first time since Nixon., a SURPLUS was in the offing. So the economy was NOT failing when he took over, the tech bubble burst AFTER bush was in office.. I feel it occured as a reuslt of him getitng in office.
    SECOND I have worked since I was 18, did 21 years in the military and put myself through college (sorry no GI Bill for me I was under VEAP) now have a full time job, and am NOT looking for a government handout and resent you thinking that because I voted democratic this year I am some poor person on the dole.. I am not.
    THIRD the stimulus check was to bail out the failing economy after 9/11 attacks and bushes failure to respond adequately to them in a reasonable time.. guess he was too caught up in the story about a goat....
    FOURTH The dems have NOT run the country for the last two years, they do not have a veto proff majority in the Congress and bush has vetoed most of the legislation they tried to put in to get control of his almost dictatorial powers (which were supported by a republican ribber stamp congress for 6 of bushes 8 years)
    FIFTh and FINALLY the fact is clinton did not take care of biun laden when he had a chance.. however look who FUNDED bin laudens rise to power, it was reagan and bush sr. bin laden was considered an ally to the US during their terms.. as well as they put saddam hussein in power, they also stopped the palestinian.isreali peace program that President Carter had started, as well qs reversing many of President Carter's policies towards the middle east which would have prevented those like bin laden from rising to power on his hatred of the US so if you want to lay blame I would point to the republicans long before I got around to pointing to the clintons.

    IDIOTS

    December 1, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. Sean

    Thank you for your service Mr. President!

    December 1, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Uncle Fester

    idsb33-
    You REALLY need to study up on recent history.

    The "Dems" have not run the country for the last several years. In case you missed it the Republicans had control of the house and senate from 1995 to 2006. In 2006 the Dems won a majority too slim to override a veto or block filibusters. The Republicans have had the white house since 2000. The Bush stimulus checks were sent out starting in Feb 2008, he had been in charge eight years, and they did nothing to help the economy, which was already in trouble. We now have record debt thanks to your "figurehead"

    December 1, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. D. Mountain

    The comments on this site are a great illustration of why our country continues to struggle – vehement, sometimes hateful, partisanship. The reality is politics just aren't that simple. There are many liberal scholars who would acknowledge that Bush is not evil, or stupid incarnate – after all, folks, America has not been attacked again – at home – since 9/11. Prior to the economic catastrophe this year, we had no inflation and 7 years of relative economic stability. He broke with his party on immigration (much to the disappointment of Republicans) – and made the fight against AIDS in Africa a major platform (much to the applause of Democrats). So those who find themselves arrogant enough to write off his entire presidency with words like "Disappear, forever," and "Stupid George Bush" leave me wondering if you have any concept of the complexities that any president has to deal with. And just to drive the point home, I think there are conservative scholars who will embrace Obama – and the decisions he makes that will likewise be controversial – but made, we all trust, with the country's best in mind. As much as these men are presidents, they are also simply men – not perfect, certainly not the embodiment of all that America hopes for, and definitely not the ultimate solution to our nation's woes. But they deserve our respect for trying – and in that collective spirit of uniting and supporting for the greater good, we all just might find that the real answer lies in us – and our ability to reach up and across to those we may disagree with, but that we share our great home with. What a difference civil discussion, respect and true willingness could make in the United States of America.

    December 1, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. A Real Feminist

    He is our president and it's not his fault that Americans voted for charm over wisdom. Bush did the best he could according to the GOP agenda. American voters need to be upset with themselves and not crucifying this man. I watched the debates, he made no pretense about who he is. He fought dirty all the way to the white house. Let's not play coy. This mess is all of our doing.

    December 1, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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