January 12th, 2009
10:09 AM ET
9 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. GT

    Bush needs to just disappear into the same abyss that Nixon did when he was sent packing, The more he talks the more reminds us just how ignorant he really is.

    January 12, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. Bararck Obama, still just B.O.

    I grew up a democrat but am now a republican. It doesn't mean I have to believe extreme ideals, I just believe that the republican party's ideals are what made this country great in the first place. I find it infuriating that the democrats believe that if you work hard and sacrifice and become rich, you should take a large part of that money and give it to those that didn't make the same choices as you or chose not to work hard or sacrifice. This doesn't mean I want to keep everything I make, I just want freedom of choice to give where I want to give and how much I want to give. Why should I trust the government to make that choice for me. The democrats scream about freedom of choice for a life when all I want is freedom of choice for a lifestyle.

    Vote Republican! Vote for freedom for your life!

    January 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. tee


    January 12, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. rob

    it will only come back when the right wing religious groups and bigoted old white men are well gone from the GOP . in other words never

    January 12, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Maggie from Virginia

    A Real American – You named 3 "non-whites" and consider that plenty? You're not helping your case here.

    January 12, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Cathy

    Why did you not tell Senator McCain these or even the cow calle Plain Palin Sarah?

    January 12, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. shucks

    They don't like any minorities. Period. This is a fact that was front and center during the whole presidential race. All you had to do was listen to the rhetoric coming from people waiting in line to see Gramps and Chippy. The best part is neither one of them denounced it unless it was shown on national TV. Having a token black, latino, or gay person does not make you tolerant, it just makes you deceiving.

    January 12, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. Mike, Wash. State

    I agree with Bea. The Republican Party is the party of rich, white people. Unfortunately, they already know the damage Bush caused to their party. They know that the "my way or the highway" mentality that the Bush/Cheney Admn. brought to Wash. backfired on them.

    They'll sit back, regroup and wait for the next "conservative mandate" from the people. It will come. The pendulum always swings back around. For now all we can do is to hope that Pres. Obama will undo as much damage that Bush did as he can in the time he's been given.

    January 12, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. JP from GA

    well said Shawn from Georgia. a thoughtful post.

    I, too, am concerned about the expectations have for PE Obama. If he can get us moving in a different direction, one that heals the electorate, and that heals our connections with other countries, and that does something about the economy, I think he will have had a good first term. Health care, environment, maybe the second term.

    January 12, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Ex-Republican

    It's going to take quite a bit to take care of every single mess Bush and his republican cronies have caused. Between record setting vetoes by Bush and a habitual philibuster republican congress, we have been wrecked into oblivion. The republicans have become a party infiltrated by do nothing lazers, who's only accomplishments are the escalating crime they themselves commit. Ripping off american citizens and murdering/torturing the people of the world!

    I do hope Obama can begin to turn this tide, but it is with out a doubt a monumental task to rectify the absolute devestation that Bush and his domestic terrorist administration have caused.

    January 12, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. MurphyMorseJohnson

    A view of a Yuma Arizona vidoe as waves of thousands of illegal immigrants flood the U.S. border shows at least three things. Our government does not just love immigration–it loves illegal immigration. Our government has failed to define the significance of its borders. Third, this would never happen in China!

    January 12, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Jan

    Good Luck, President Bush–I agree with all of what you said in you Press Conference And the fact that you were able to answer real questions–not manufactured answers from known questions! Give the American people a couple years of democrats and they will be begging repubs to come back and protect us.

    January 12, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Luke Brown

    How wise.

    January 12, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Obama supporter

    The Repubs really need to get their representatives in check. When they have people like Palin, Limbaugh, Colter, Hannity, etc. speaking for them they come off as hate-filled racists.

    I watched a program about the Neo-Nazis on National Geographic last night. The Neo-Nazi rhetoric sounded just like Sarah Palin during the campaign. The Neo-Nazis say things like "this is our country", "we are the true Americans". They are anti-immigration, they want to burn books that have opposing views, etc ... sound familiar, Sarah?

    If the Repubs want to gain a following, they need to have people like Colin Powell representing them. They need to realize that the "face" of America is changing and, like it or not, they are going to have to go along with it.

    January 12, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Walt from Canada

    I have a visual picture for Bush and Cheney as their legacy. They are standing on an aircraft carrier which is setting on water/houses of New Orleans from Katrina. Behind them is the Mission Accomplished sign with sailors being tortured and behind that are towering flames from the Mideast wars (3 of them) and in the background is a very large mountain at the base of which is a sign (debt). This is what they leave behind.

    January 12, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Maggie from Virginia

    John – The GOP wasn't formed until after the civil war. Also, the majority of blacks were republicans before they joined the democratic party. The republican party is not what it once was.

    January 12, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Michael G -Ventura ca

    Yeah repugs-listen to this man...the way you have been for 8 LONG years- Dr Bush with his miracle perscriptions---Please.

    January 12, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. S. Boatman

    I think Bush did the best job he could have done. unfortunately his best was not good enough for most of us and his decision making was poor. hopefully the next president will do better. its hard to imagine he will do worse.

    January 12, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. tcaudilllg

    So he says these things now... why not eight years ago? Why didn't he do these things when he had time to do something about them? Why didn't he believe in himself instead of bashing people whose ideas he felt uncomfortable with?

    January 12, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. James in Nebraska

    @Shawn – GA

    Whoa, whoa...whoa...
    We don't need your common sense and intelligent posts here. These blogs are for the neolibs, neocons, trolls, and those who grab a bag of popcorn and watch the show.

    Seriously though, we do need more posts like this. The kids on here are getting pretty bad. It's pretty sad there are so many one sided people.

    January 12, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. Charles L. Shaw, Liverpool, NY

    The GOP will only recover if Ron Paul is allowed to participate. Freedom and Liberty are the foundation of the conservative ideology.

    January 12, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. beachgirl

    Hey Mr. Bush, don't you think it's a little bit too late to admit you WERE WRONG????? this morning you sounded so defiant on TV, so arrogant and so phony (as usual) You said..............the country was in trouble when I took office...... WRONG!! Bill Clinton handed you a wonderful country will money, respect and prosperous, you brought us down sir! you put us the position we are right now! You as you did with your beisball team, did everything wrong for the country, so don't tell us you inhereted problems, YOU ARE WRONG TO THE END!!!

    January 12, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. Billy

    I think Shrubs about 8 years late on his "don't hate immigrants" because then you look like you hate everybody speech – that horse has already left the barn. The last election proved it.

    January 12, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. Griff

    Whenever this guy is Talking I aways watch and Liten...

    When Obama opens his face to Talk, I either switch off Compleatly, or turn down the Sound...... Why.... The Guy is Genuine....
    Obama is nothing but a Preacher. (Empty)...

    January 12, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Mav in Midwest

    Kick out the neocons, then you might have a chance in a decade or two.

    January 12, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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