December 1st, 2008
02:51 PM ET
10 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. Ryan, CA


    Do you only believe what the right wing media tells you?

    December 1, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Mickey, New York

    Uhhh...George...SOME voters voted for Obama because of you?!? How about ALL of them!!

    December 1, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. So It Goes

    The clarity of vision that GWB has, is equal to his popularity ratings, which are equal to his IQ – 36. Perhaps in retirement he will have more lucid moments about his role in history. Out of a sense of humility perhaps he will spend his golden years in another country that thinks more highly of him – like Iran or North Korea. Good riddance Mr. Bush.

    December 1, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Dave

    Thank you, CPT Obvious.

    December 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. j

    all of you america hating liberals, if you actually read your news. when bush first got into the white house up until 2 years ago the econmoy was doing A-OK! As soon as the snate was taking over by the communist leader speaker of the house nancy pelosi everything has gone downhill. Bush isnt the best thing since sliced bread and barack obama the highest thing he has been was a junior senator from illinois, fyi also apart of a church with a minister who hates white people how long was he there for? hmn lets think about this, when the country implodes on itself because we have a guy who doesnt know what he is in for, dont blame anyone but the liberals!

    December 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. DeVone

    As President Bush said himself he is leaving the White House with
    the same values that he came in with, he is honest and I am glade
    he is finish an for Mike, the person who said that Obama has the wors
    resume in the history of President elects that is your words is that
    what you realy fell? it is true this country this world is in trouble
    and each and every one of us need to do all that we can to make it a
    peaceful transition no matter who we like or dislike because
    the one you dislike may be the one to help you

    December 1, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Watchout!!

    While all you libs were shaking in your boots on 9/11 President Bush was not.. Funny how cocky you all get when you feel safe.

    BTW.. Jimmy was and always will be the worse President. A title that he will never relinquish.

    December 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. From DC

    To STEVE:

    Bravo!!! Couldn't have put it better myself! ** (I tried!)

    December 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Mike

    Well, I'm glad that Obama got elected. I didn't vote for him but hey, he's going to fix everything. I can't wait. By the way, when the economy really tanks in a few months, we can all send our bills to the White House. I'm sure Obama is going to cover them. What's scary is that a lot of Obama supporters really believe what I just typed.

    December 1, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. Muggle

    Carolyn, wow, check your facts – the recession started after Bush was elected – not before – and Bush was the president when the 9/11 attack occured, not Clinton ...

    December 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. Old white lady in Birmingham, AL


    December 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. Jackie in Dallas

    "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."

    Hmmm. And that may have been why the UN Security Council voted AGAINST going into Iraq, while you, Bush, decided that you and your little buddie from England were smarter than the rest of the country and the world, and decided to go ahead.

    And it is too bad you didn't pay very much attention to the intelligence reports that said that WE were a target for Al Qaeda before 9/11/01 instead, which were a lot more credible than the ones on Iraq. Remember, that happened on YOUR watch, Mr. President, after the Supreme Court named you President.

    December 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. job b

    It's sickenning that he is proud of his mess

    December 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Muggle

    Check your facts. 9/11 was in the planning when your boy Clinton was relaxing in the Oval Office.

    WOW, did you forget???

    December 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Elated New Voter for Obama

    Nahh Bush it wasn't all you, Palin helped BIG TIME!!!

    December 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Didn't vote for either Bush

    President Bush can talk all he wants about how he was prevented from reforming Freddie Mac and Fannie May – there is ample evidence that his policies specifically focused on increasing home ownership by people on the margins of financial viability which helped fuel the mortgage meltdown. For example, see the press release titled "President Calls for Expanding Opportunities to Home Ownership" on the Whitehouse web site – June 17th, 2002. I For others, just search the internet for articles on Bush and minority home ownership.

    December 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. redwhiteblue

    Well. The fact that he is sorry makes me sick. He sounds like an alcoholic about to go on the binge of his lifetime. I am sure that all the families of the soldiers that died or lost their limbs or intelligence feels so much better now.
    It is like he is finally seeing himself as most Americans do. He wasn't prepared for the war!!!!!!!! Then why the hell did he start it with lies?
    Bush, also remember the Katrina people. Are you sorry you let them sit on their roofs for 5 days?
    Are you sorry you outed Valerie Plame? There are so many reasons for you to be truly sorry. BARACH OBAMA says the buck stops here. He will take the blame for anything that goes wrong in his administration. See there, you people thought there would not be a change. That is the biggest change ever.

    December 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Scott NYC Independent

    Doug, New Jersey@3:30 – as GOD is your witness can you truly believe with the 9th commandment in mind that President George Bush the 43rd has not lied to us, deceived us and mislead us about WMD's and terrorist training in Iraq, the financial crisis and deregulation; torture, and 9/11 as well. Do you honestly believe that even when the facts bare out that there were no WMDs, that his financial team knew the housing bubble was about to burst; that GITMO stuff remember we weren't being told anything was happening and how about the bullet proof vest and armored tanks for our troops – yeah initially we were told they were the best equipped in the world. Doug reading is fundamental

    December 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. From DC

    To Josh:

    4,000 deaths in Iraq??? Oh, you mean American deaths.... I guess the hundreds of thousands (and maybe even millions) of innocent Iraqi civilians who have died or become dismembered b/c of this war don't count.

    December 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. HAPPY

    When Clinton left office, this country had a surplus of money. I just 8 years the country is in the worst financial shape since the depression. We owe China trillions!! His time is up....he should be arrested by the World Court and tried for war crimes. I think W should have to answer fot the crap that he has done!!!

    December 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Eric M

    I enjoy reading these comments and seeing how many different ways that people can take a rather humble statement and twist it into another reason to hate Bush. Paraphrased: "I'm sure it's at least partly my fault that the Democrats ate our lunch in November". Not only is it true (Obama's strategy against McCain was focused on equating him to Bush), it's kind of admirable that the guy is taking responsibility for the fact that the struggles of his administration have hurt the GOP overall.

    Maybe I'm alone in this (and it sure seems like it the more I talk with people about politics these days) but I prefer to oppose policies, not people. Let me explain. I voted for Bill Clinton in 1996, having done almost no research into his policies...I was just a college kid who thought the previous 4 years were pretty good. When the Lewinsky scandal broke (i.e. when Bill admitted the relationship), I opposed Clinton's conduct. Upon some research, I discovered that I disagreed with him in many areas regarding his decisions and policy positions. That was my lone regret in voting for Clinton, is that I did so without understanding what he actually stood for, that I had fallen into the trap of supporting the messenger without bothering to find out what the message was.

    This didn't change the fact that I thought Clinton was a good man who was genuinely doing what he felt was best for the country. I thought the same thing about Al Gore in 2000, and John Kerry in 2004, and Barack Obama in 2008. I also thought the same thing about McCain in 2008, and even about Bush. I respect the office, sure, but I can't say I didn't respect any of the candidates I've been presented with in the past 12 years.

    I guess my point goes back to a quote from the Godfather series: "Never hate your enemies, it clouds your judgment". In some cases, I adamantly opposed a candidate's policy positions, yet at no point did I ever find myself hating the candidate or their supporters personally, or thinking less of them as people.

    Now be honest with yourself...can you say the same?

    December 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. C Spurgeon

    Why doesn't he resign early and disappear to Texas. He will surely go into history as one of the worst and the timeline is hurting this country more each day.

    December 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. From DC

    Carolyn and Doug from NJ:

    I thank your imaginary-friend Christian God every single day for the fact that you people are now the MINORITY in this country!!!

    Out with the Radcons, and IN with INDEPENDENT THINKERS AND INTELLECTUALS who are united for the greatest cause: A BETTER WORLD RID OF IGNORANCE AND HATRED!!!

    Let's not let the Radcon fear-mongering spread anymore ridiculous lies to those who are ignorant enough to listen! Let’s get informed, so that the US and the American people can once again rise up through the justice with which it operates internally and externally, through the re-attainment of our superior standards of living, scholarly accomplishments and advancement, and not the blind patriotism which leads idiots to believe that a strong military and being "Christian nation" are the reasons this is the best country in the world.

    December 1, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. fay

    To Brian-Omaha
    Why did McCain have his war record sealed? Check into that and you may find out he is not quite the maverick you thought. Check out also where he crashed most of his planes. I believe it was on U.S. turf in training!

    December 1, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. common sense

    i don't think it's fair to be so disrespectful of Christians or of mr george w bush... i'm glad obama and the dems are in power but does any of us know what lays ahead?

    i'll support barack obama through it all... i even volunteered for his campaign but please let's all remember that he is not perfect... Bush made some very silly misguided steps but so can obama

    December 1, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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