January 12th, 2009
10:09 AM ET
6 years ago

Bush gives prescription to GOP

Bush said Monday Republicans must broaden their appeal.
Bush said Monday Republicans must broaden their appeal.

(CNN) - Reflecting on a brutal election cycle that saw his party lose the White House and several seats in Congress, President Bush warned the GOP to avoid instituting an ideological “litmus test.”

"I am concerned that in the wake of the defeat, that the temptation will be to look inward, and to say, 'Well, here is a litmus test you must adhere to," Bush said in his last press conference as president. "This party will come back. But the party's message has got to be that different points of view are included in the party."

The president specifically cited the at-times heated debate over illegal immigration, and said Republicans appeared as if they "don't like immigrants."

"If the image is we don't like immigrants, then there is probably somebody else out there saying, 'Well, if they don't like immigrants, they probably don't like me as well,'" Bush said. "Our party has got to be compassionate and broad-minded."


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. Tony Bickert

    Why is it that when Bush finally says something smart he's no longer in charge to make it matter? – Tony in Alaska

    January 12, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. 18 year old voter from Jersey

    Says the failure himself.

    We've got this under control President... The last thing we need you to do is try helping. In fact, whatever you say to do... we'll do the opposite.

    January 12, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. JohnBoy

    The Obama haters will be stronger than the Bush haters by 10 times. Good luck on your 4 year term Obama. It will be all you get.

    January 12, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. katiec

    Bush giving advice to the republicans when his philosophy has been my way or the highway? Until the republicans stop putting party, ego first, they will not have respect of the American people. Until they are sincere about trying to resolve the diasterous decisions they have made these last eight years, they will have no credibility. Until they unify to save our once great country we will continue to be in a world of hurt.

    January 12, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. Clinton Voter

    Who is this guy? Never seen him before in my life.

    January 12, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  6. Proud American

    lolololol this one is funny, the completly blind leading the blind. 8 more days and your out of there.

    January 12, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. S Callahan

    I understand alot of Repubs think the loss is over immigration...but truthfully...it's much more than that..the economy, the mistake of 'using religion' as a party ideology instead of respecting an individuals relationship in faith, not 'really' fighting for what is right and just for our citizens (ie: justice that inclusive 'for all') ....the list goes on and on...
    Yes, someday the Repubs will recover but when that day comes it needs to make sure it has all of this countries citizens in consideration of it's agenda. and a postiive agenda at that.

    I agree 'new views' need to be listen too...I would call it 'ideas'...

    President Bush, in all fairness, I can't imagine the burden you had to stand in front of .....and I really don't think 'you' had ill intent (though i have many concerns about your influeneces and believe you may have even been duped along the way). Somewhere in your heart I think you also welcome some change. Good luck in your retirement.

    January 12, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. John McCain

    Now you tell us.

    January 12, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. Joanna

    Where was all of this over the last 8 yrs?

    January 12, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. grahame

    Want a prescription? Drop Sarah Palin.

    January 12, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. badger

    Do as I say not as I do. This was Bush and Cheney's credo from the start of his adminastration. Always stay on scrip right or wrong never admit to making a mistake. Look what that got him and our country. Cheney is still in denial but George is starting to feel that his legecy won't be very nice to him. I give him credit for saying he was a uniter not a divider, because he took us all down with him.

    January 12, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. Mari

    All Bush & the rest of the Republicans need to know is that their VILE politics of ....... lies...... hate....... fear ........and division cost them the elections!

    They need to rid themselves of their mouthpieces, Bill-O-the-Clown, Hannity-the-hater, Limbaugh-the-comedian...... and FAUX News! As long as these haters are speaking on behalf of the Republicans the American people will continue to reject them!

    HOPE WON........... HOPE WON............ HOPE WON.......... HOPE WON!

    January 12, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. GOPloser

    I have been saying this for many years GOP is a white Party, this party does not like anybody who is not white. It is about time this party is going down.

    January 12, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  14. JohnCynic

    Keep giving your advice to the GOP Bush, the democrats can bank on an implosion by a confused, and unhealthy political party.

    January 12, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. Ray Fisher

    During Georgie's administration the GOP developed an allergy to the word "Legal". For some reason they preferred not to use the term.Today, for example he doesn't seem to realize that Americans love "Legal" immigrants as most of us are only dislike open borders to "Illegal" immigrants. Just as the Supreme Court decided to condemn private property a direct violation of our Constitution our basis of "Legal" in favor of private corporations. The list of issues abusing or ignoring the term "Legal" by this administration is staggering yet we haven't the time, money nor resources to broach the subject while America is failing. Those issues will wait till another day.

    January 12, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. Michael

    It seems only fitting that he'd give the GOP a prescription, since he's the man who led the ill-fated party.

    January 12, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. james

    Suggestion,-- get out and listen to the public, not just to the lobbiests and your "buddies". -- Times are changing-–

    January 12, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Al in Alabama

    GB II is unqualified to lecture or lead the party. He failed to lead his own congress, failed the American public on ILLEGAL immigration, failed the American public on the WALL ST bailout, spent mony as though it sprang from a well.

    January 12, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  19. TomD

    Do Republicans like immigrants? I think the majority of them would close the doors. Fact is, we're all son & daughters of immigrants.
    Let the rants begin.

    January 12, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. Vence wilmington CA

    Bush and GOP had eight years to change this kind of politic against immigrants. They did nothing, so they deserved all this hate they spread against hard working people. He should tell them that hate, fear, and evil cames back. Radio hosts and right media are next to dissapear. Their only hope is Mr powell who recognized his error a little too late. It's funny "now" how many Republicans wants forgiveness for all the sins they caused to this hard working people. again too little too late. Let's see if Barack Obama can give freedom to this people and with this ensure reelection, otherwise we won't see a black president for at least a century. That is one of the few qualities of hispanics "loyalty."

    January 12, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. Adam

    As a conservative, W has damaged the republican party. He has abandoned the ways of fiscal responsibility. As far as immigration, We conservatives are against the illegal invasion of tens of millions of unskilled, uneducated, illiterate, dirt poor people with dieseases. This open border policy of this president is sickening

    January 12, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Michael

    If you think about it, we haven't seen such a bad election result for the party of a two-term president since Harry Truman. Technically, Truman wasn't a two-term president, but for the purposes of argument, I'll consider it a two-term presidency.

    January 12, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. Aaron from Ohio

    Bush gives a prescription to the GOP. Good. They need some chill pills.

    January 12, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. Jackson, Seattle

    Of course the GOP needs to be pro-immigration. Americans have stopped voting Republican, so they have to import new votes!!

    January 12, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Nick of Charleston

    Having grown up in a Republican family, it is kind of sad to see the party in the sorry state it's in. Probably one of Bush's more insightful statements to be honest. It needs to change quickly, lose the super-evangelical fundie nutjobs clogging it with social issues and ignoring the economic side (both McCain and Palin admitted that they knew squat about economics, and were focused more on military and social issues).

    January 12, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
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