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

Bush says some voters backed Obama ‘because of me’


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. 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 |
  2. Gary

    Har Har Hardee Har Har .. you betcha!!

    December 1, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Jeremy

    nice comments Pam

    December 1, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Unilateralist Loser

    Bush will go down as one of the most incompentent presidents in modern history. He lead us into a senseless war in Iraq which now is very difficult to leave. He let Bin-Laden off the hook by diverting resources away from Afganistan. He has lead us into economic peril which has resulted in millions of Americans being unemployed and our economy in shambles. He has isolated this country from our alies and potential alies. He has helped create millions of new jihadists in the world all wanting to take aim at the U.S. No, I have no respect or sympathy for a man who was so stubborn and that manipulated intelligence information to get the American public to back his ill conceived war. He should pay a thousand times over for his follies, not be remembered any other way.

    December 1, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Phil from Pennsylvania

    I can't believe private investors are going to throw their money away to help build a Presidential Library for Bush. What good things did he accomplish in 8 years that can possibly be put on display in a Presidential Library. Better yet, who would pay to go and see it?

    December 1, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. biff

    The problem is that it was clear what and who Bush was prior to his being elected the first time. He never really changed much. Just a constant display of ineptitude, incompetence and arrogance from start to finish. The sad thing is that at least half of the American people elected him not once but twice. We should be looking at ourselves to understand why Bush appealed to so many of us when he is clearly not qualified for the job, and moreover why he was chosen over candidates who were demonstrated to be much more qualified than he was. Shame on the American people. We got just exactly what we voted for.

    December 1, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. History will honor my service

    I served in the Army and in Iraq under this president, the people of Iraq are better today than they were suffering under Saddam.

    I will be welcomed back to Iraq as a liberator just like D-Day veterans.

    I would vote for Bush again. He kept this country safe for 8 years. See how long it takes once Obama swears in, for us to be attacked!

    December 1, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. yellow dog democrat

    I voted for Obama/Biden because they presented the most intelligent and progressive campaign. I considered McCain until I had a real good look at Palin – which clinched my vote overwhelmingly for Obama! Bush, my friend, you had nothing to do with it in my mind – I always want to see what the people running have to say not the past. I am very happy with the Obama President – elect and the team he is putting together. I am also very tired of the continued pointless comments about how Obama isn't doing what he said he would do and everyone including many in the news media also picking apart every choice Obama is making – give it a rest and get to the real news – stop all the drama!

    December 1, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Chelsea

    Sky: Beautifully put-I couldn't have said it better myself....

    December 1, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. From South Carolina

    Bush thinks most of us see his role of president as that of "explaining policy." Guess he must mean Dick Cheney's policies. BYEEEEE George! Don't let the White House doors hit you in the butt.

    December 1, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. silver bells

    we are in a recession, we have lost over 4,000 of our young men and women in a war that was given on false information, why when you found this out didn't you bring our troops home, i don't understand.

    December 1, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Kathryn

    I think when Bush's administration is analyzed, it will be seen to be the most dishonest, disprudent, irrational administration ever to lead our country. While I'm glad I never voted for Bush, I will always regret that others did.

    December 1, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Ken

    The neo-nitwit-in-charge is already in historical-revision mode. The [D]s will indeed have to accept responsibility for whatever role they played in deflecting oversight on Fannie and Freddie....But PUHLEEEEEASE!!!! When this issue was brought up a few years ago, the [R]s had the presidency and controlled both houses of congress. If the [R]s wanted oversight of Fannie and Freddie so badly, as they now disingenuously claim, it would have been done...or at the very least it would have come up for a vote (which it didn't in either house). This continuous deflection of blame by the GOP, in the face of such obvious realities as their one-party rule for 6 years, speaks to a stunning level of personal and political immaturity. It is so stunning, that I again call for DNA testing of all those remnant [R]s that deny any blame for the mess our country is in, those that worship Bush and speak so highly of Palin as their savior. Good grief, for the sake of our country, let's find the genetic disorder that causes people to be sooooo stupid!!

    December 1, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. cindy

    Where's that arrogant, strutting "Mission Accomplished", "bring 'em on" cowboy? Got taken down a step or two, huh?

    Too bad he won't be held accountable for his crimes.

    A legacy of lies, incompetence and ignorance.

    Well, come Jan 20, he can sit back and watch a real leader in action. Somebody strong and good enough to clean up the disaserous mess left by the bush administration and make this country wealthy, strong, and respected again.

    December 1, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. juli

    I see a lot of bashing here but this man won twice. The second time by about 3% more than the first. So in his own words:
    "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on ....shame on.... you can not be fooled twice" but quite a lot of americans did get fooled. That is if they truly believe that this president was an idiot.

    December 1, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Dixon

    you said: I just love reading the "open-minded" liberal responses on here- what a joke!

    You must not be reading all the entries. It looks like the "open-minded" is coming from both sides. The only joke is you putting that statement out there.

    December 1, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. hjo

    Ok I guess the Democratic controlled Congress deserves no blame. Put it all on Bush you Idiots. Sure he made numerous mistakes but NO Democrat did anything but make excuses. Name one thing the Democrats accomplished the past two years that was beneficial to the country. ONE THING!!!!!

    If the things that President Bush did ruined your life then it wasn't much to begin with so go cry alone.

    December 1, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Saigon 75

    I'm a Republican and very proud.
    Many thanks to America. Thank you to President G W Bush. I wish you and your family the best. I appreciated for what ever you had done to keep this country safe.
    Let see 10, 15, 20 years later, the history will tell all.
    May God Bless you as well as your family.
    May God Bless the USA.

    December 1, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Tony

    Dub has spoken. A repudiation of the Republican party.For Dub, his failures and the failure of the Republican party to deliver on any promises of substance.

    December 1, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. tom moriarty pueblo co

    for a guy who used family influence to keep him out of vietnam, he sure as hell talks like a war monger now. this man killed more than a million people. when he stepped out of that jet onto the aircraft carrier, i wanted to vomit. "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" samuel johnson 1790. no more "born agains" please!

    December 1, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. rich

    After Bush, a dog could have been elected to POTUS. The man has ran the country into a ditch! He was an absolute disaster from beginning to end. If you doubt me, think of Iraq, Katrina, wiretaps, torture, and the pink slips that keep on coming. Lesson to America: Idiots do not belong in the White House, not even once, and God forbids twice. I hope America has learned its lesson when they look at their purses and wallets and find nothing but pennies.

    December 1, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Mike

    I voted for Obama because he was the ONLY candidate with a clear plan to lead this country after the dismal last 8 years of failed policy, and self-centered politics enacted by the Bush Administration.

    America needs a leader who has a clue to what needs to be done, instead of surrounding himself with people who are out for their own personal interest (i.e. Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, etc).
    America needs to remember the last 8 years, so that we NEVER have a repeat performance.

    In addition, and most important, we need to provide President Obama with our support, involvement, and advice. The only way a country 'of the people, for the people, and by the people' can succeed is if the people show up, and do their part!

    December 1, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. USN

    To All:

    Be thankful you are in a country that can speak out against its president. Some countries don't have this right. And by the way Consuela it is spelled IRAQ! It is amazing the people my husband, my friends, co-workers, and I defend everyday. That's right people I am proud to say I am in the United States Navy. My husband is a Marine in Iraq right now. Be thankful you have the brave who serve to protect your freedoms. Ya'll talk about genocide and bringing the Bush administration to a war crimes trial. And exactly what would you have done if you were President Bush! What about congress! Have you forgotten who their speaker is! Who the majority is! It's not all Bush. Stop trying to bring him in as the scapegoat! If you think that we can leave Iraq right this very minute your the idiot! That country would fall before we even left. Have you forgotten that we still have not finished Afghanastan? Obama wants to go back and finish so we will still be at war for the next four years. Are you going to call him the same names and want to impeach him as well and bring him to trial for war crimes? In a time of tragidy President Bush did the only thing right. We went after those SOB's who attacked us and are trying to rebuild an whole country from scratch. Think you could do any better? Run for President then in the next election. Rebuilding Iraq is not an easy task. It takes time people. America was not built over night. It took time. That's what it is going to take. For everyone who is bashing our President, like I said be thankful your not in Iraq, you would be shot dead for speaking out against your government. God bless the USA! President Bush you did what you had to in a very difficult time.

    December 1, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. *Smiles*

    Good Ol' Bush...

    I guess that dusty bulb finally clicked on huh...?


    December 1, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Betty, Virginia

    Having voted for republicans for many years, I proudly voted for Obama year. I had been a McCain fan for years but Obama had a clearer vision. It wasn't a anti Bush/McCain vote, it was a pro Obama vote.

    McCain seemed angry and entitled. The election was more about him than us. His campaign seemed focused on Obama – an us versus them kinda thing.

    Obama seemed hopeful and embracing. It wasn't about him. It was about us. His campaign was focused on a message – we as Americans can fix what is wrong.

    If Palin with her ugly, meanspirited, stupidity is a hint of things to come, I'll be voting for a democrat again in 2012.

    December 1, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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