June 18th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
6 years ago

Bush takes aim at Obama policies

Bush criticized a range of Obama policies Wednesday.
Bush criticized a range of Obama policies Wednesday.

(CNN) – In his most critical comments to date of the Obama administration's policies, former President George Bush Wednesday warned against the nationalization of healthcare, government overreach in the country's financial system, and the potential effects of closing the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

"I know it's going to be the private sector that leads this country out of the current economic times we're in," the former president said during a speech to business leaders in Erie, Pennsylvania, according to the Washington Times. "You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money."

"Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States," he also said in the closed-door speech, according to the paper.

During the remarks — one of Bush’s first in the United States since leaving the White House - the former president commented on a wide-range of issues currently confronting the Obama administration, including the new president's push for universal healthcare.

"There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care," Bush said. "I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care."

Asked directly if he thought his successor was embracing "socialist" polices, Bush stopped short of weighing in one way or the other, instead saying: "We'll see."

In a vigorous defense of his own national security policies, the president appeared to take issue with the new administration's early decision to close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay and ban the use of aggressive interrogation techniques.

"I told you I'm not going to criticize my successor," he said, according to the paper. "I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind."

Bush, in contrast to former Vice President Dick Cheney, has largely remained silent on the new administration's decision to prohibit the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. But during his speech Wednesday the former president insisted he used "every technique and tool within the law to bring terrorists to justice before they strike again."

Bush also appeared to take a broad swipe at the tone of American politics in general, noting that partisan vitriol dates back to the founding fathers when Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton.

"At least when my vice president shot somebody, it was an accident," Bush said.


Filed under: Popular Posts • President Bush • President Obama
soundoff (295 Responses)
  1. Pete

    ....yep, and your opinion is valid how?

    I only wish America had the balls to stand up to our own facist, neo-christian right wing like the Iranians do.

    Enough lies. Enough hate. Enough bastardization of the word of God.

    We need to throw out all the right wingers. They are hate. They are greed. They are ignorance.

    June 18, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  2. changing my screen name to see if it helps getting my comments posted

    "You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money."

    Yes, Former President Bush. You made that point quite clear with your spending practices.

    June 18, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  3. Seth in Jacksonville, FL

    Um...his policies got us into this mess. If we had spent the Iraq war dollars on improving health care, this would be a non-issue. Billions of dollars have been wasted in Iraq, and that money could have stayed here in the United States.

    June 18, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. hdf

    Who cares what "Goofus" thinks; he had no clue when he served with
    Dick Cheney

    June 18, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. changing my screen name to see if it helps getting my comments posted

    Oh, and another thing. Government can create wealth, by cutting taxes. That's money people wouldn't have had otherwise. And if government couldn't create wealth then that completely blows a whole in the Republican's trickle down economic policies.

    June 18, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. RahmAxleRod SuperTroopers

    "Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States," Very True... o well cant wait to read the hate responses.

    June 18, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. George From Minneapolis

    Nothing could help gain support for President Obama's policies than Bush speaking out against them.

    Keep talking Dubya.

    June 18, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  8. ANGIE

    If there were " lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care" why didn't you do something about while you were in office for 8 yrs. Oh I forgot you were too busy starting wars.

    June 18, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  9. lol,lol,lol

    Bush has never been wrong before. Great job America, lol

    June 18, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  10. wizila

    wow! This comes from the person who left the country in ruins, created the biggest animosity in the world toward us, started 2 wars finished none, and created the biggest divide in the US today. Because of his fail policies the GOP party is tryng to figure out his next steps and how to reorganzie itself. So yes, would should really listen to anything he has to say

    June 18, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  11. norb

    What a dork or dufus. Take your pick!

    June 18, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  12. GI Joe

    This is a sure sign that Obama is CORRECT.

    The republicans have brought out the one that DID NOTHING BUT START A USELESS WAR – an expensive useless war.

    $1.2 billion dollar war if it lasts 10 years.

    June 18, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  13. GI Joe

    OOPS – that's $1.2 TRILLION DOLLAR WAR IF IT LAST 10 YEARS.

    Haliburton come to mind anyone?

    June 18, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  14. in the middle

    Bush would have better serve America by staying quiet.. He has done enough damage, and he got his chances for a full eight years.

    June 18, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  15. coup d'etat

    George W. Bush is right. The private sector got us into this mess; government did nothing. So naturally the private sector can be expected to get us out, while, again, government does nothing.

    With logic like that, we should be able to expect Iran to unmake its nuclear weapons program. After all, the Iranian regime made it–they can take it apart, right?

    June 18, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  16. johnny

    He needs to just maintain his silence. His judgement cannot be trusted on the economy. And as for his "techniques and tools" used to bring terrorists to justice...he never brought them to justice. He stuck them in limbo, and left that mess for President Obama to clean up too. Not only does President Obama deserve his silence, we all do.

    June 18, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. iupg

    Bush, you're wrong as always. Obama isn't nationalizing health care. His proposal creates an alternative for Americans who can't afford the ridiculous cost of private insurance, as well as helping businesses who are being raped by the ridiculous cost of private health insurance. This will not make private providers obsolete, but will force them to examine their policies and restructure to offer coverage for more reasonable prices. This is a win for all Americans.

    June 18, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. Fitz

    The Republican position is to be against everything Obama tries to do so what is surprising about this. This all politics, the game. Everybody get on board the Universal healthcare is bad band wagon ok, make sure you give loads of interviews, talk it up and remember it will cost too much and we gotta pay for it. But the ** and the ** next to the Iraq war cost was OK huh George? We are paying for that too aren't we? so give me a break

    June 18, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. mikearthur

    you have a lot of nerve to talk bush!

    June 18, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  20. Marc in Virginia

    What a goober.

    June 18, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  21. Randolph Carter

    Sorry, brocephus, the private sector has done a really lousy job of providing healthcare and housing and managing our investments. Their one and only concern is profit at all costs. Why do you think all those jobs went offshore? Next thing you know, he'll be talking about privatizing the military. Oh wait, he already did that. Have a nice day!

    June 18, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  22. Sweet Pea

    bush is a joke...an evil man who placed our nation in peril.

    June 18, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. Jonita

    As if "Anybody" would listen to anything this man has to say...

    June 18, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  24. Lowell

    He's got no room to say anything. He's part of the reason we're in such an economic quagmire as it is! His failed policies, his failed ideas, his absolutely ignorance and lack of common sense has put a major hurt on the USA.

    June 18, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  25. Nancy

    NOW Bush has all the answers to what ails the country !

    If as he says there are other ways to provide national healthcare, why didn't he do something about it when he was in office.

    Talk is cheap !

    June 18, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
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