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. Jen

    Ok, this failed business man and president is making a critique on handling the economy – the mess he significanly contributed to?

    June 18, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  2. Amanda in Richmond, VA

    Yeah, he has a lot of credibility in the fiscal policies area. Sounds like he was reading out the Republican handbook...

    June 18, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. Sniffit

    Caption: "I pooted!" Seriously, is it me or does he have a look on his face like he just got caught with his hand in the cocaine, I mean cookie jar?

    "Asked directly if he thought his successor was embracing "socialist" polices, Bush stopped short of weighing in one way or the other"

    Bush said something slightly smarter than the rest of his party? I need a drink...

    June 18, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  4. "What If?"

    Would our economy be better off if the War in Iraq never happened?

    June 18, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. Frank from Peterborough

    It must be so refreshing for Americans to see such a successful person giving advice on how to fix the mess his policies created.

    If there are so many ways to fix health care as Bush suggests why weren't they adopted during his 8 year regime?

    June 18, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Why can't we banish Bush and Cheney? They just don't seem to get it. I could care less about Bush's opinion on the President's policies. Alot of the policies being put in place is to combat this terrible recession caused by the previous administration. As far as Gitmo goes, Bush even wanted the place closed.

    June 18, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. John in Austin

    Just as I suspected... still a COMPLETE moron.

    June 18, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. Debra from Georgia

    I thought you were going to keep your mouth shut. You have racked our economy and you have the nerve to give your "we did not ask you opinion." go back to to your Texan Ranch and Shut up.

    June 18, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. Debbie

    Hahahaha. The fact that this clown thinks anything that comes out of his mouth holds any credence is really just hilarious. Man its been a long time since I had that good of a belly laugh.

    Dubya and his regime have DESTROYED this country, so basically if we do the exact OPPOSITE of what he says then I think we shall be fine.

    June 18, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. KRN

    How Ironic since GWB sure knew how to spend our money like a madman!Oops, he WAS the government! And yet another GOPer blasting a national health plan for people who can't afford to pay for one yet offers NO alternative option.As someone who works in oncology research and sees patients have their insurance deny them treatment or rips it out from under them in the middle of treatment, we must come up with a plan for coverage for anyone who needs it. If GWB listened to Obama's speech to the AMA he did NOT say healthcare in the country will or should be nationalized. He said we need to have a nationaly subsusidized plan for those that do not or cannot afford a plan offered by one of the private insurance companies.Now talk about an industry that needs serious regulation – that's a whole different blog comment...

    June 18, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. Virginia

    This sorry jerk has a lot of nerve criticizing Obama for the way he is trying to get us out of the depression that jerk Bush helped get us into. But that is the repub way. Be the cause of the problem and then try to pretend otherwise.

    June 18, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  12. steve

    Stocking an audience with your partisans and sounding off against policies that your created and Pres. Obama is trying to clear is very disingenuous for a former president . It earned you some cheap applause but we all know your records.
    Remember your horrible leagacy of Illegal iraq war, failed economy, tarnished image of the country overseas. etc.
    Stay low and allow the grow-ups to fix your problem

    June 18, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    "I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care."

    Well the government is not replacing the private sector of healthcare Mr. Bush. I guess you still don't read your intelligence briefings.

    June 18, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  14. Steve in Denver

    Obama and the rest of us will be paying for your stupid policies for decades to come. Go away

    June 18, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  15. watching

    Interestingly, it was the Bush administration that sent some Gitmo detainees to a Saudi jihadi rehabilitation camp - called the "Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Centre for Care and Counseling."

    Keep talking Bush
    Keep reminding us why...
    Bur remember anything you say can and will be held against you

    June 18, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  16. RH

    Could we move past reciting dogma, please? Everybody knows the ideologies of the right and left. Let's grow up and have some compromise, shall we?

    June 18, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  17. Too True For You

    You had your eight years, and when you weren't doing nothing, you were screwing up everything you touched, squandering every opportunity to advance American interests, and bankrupting us financially, socially, and globally.

    You never earned the gravitas of the Office, and never demonstrated command of these issues while you had the chance. You obviously had only the most tenuous grasp of policy then, and have nothing to offer now other than criticism. No one, not even your own party wants to hear from you now. Or Cheney, for that matter.

    June 18, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  18. makesUwonder

    Some good points you made Mr. Bush, but don't expect "The Messiah" to take note. Well, Obama will in his way.........He'll blame you Mr. Bush for everything.......... like he always does.

    Thank you Mr. Bush and thank you for your eight years of service to this country!

    June 18, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  19. Foreign observer

    He is rich and so for him a private system is definitively the better choice. Whoever belongs to the low income working people will better profit from a government run health care. Europe tried both systems and a mixture has proven to be the best.

    June 18, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  20. Ryan, CT

    Bush and Cheney both know their administration killed our economy and our foreign policy.

    They didn’t get it then, and they don’t get it now…..

    June 18, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  21. Dee, VA

    Didn't the former first lady just say 1-2 weeks ago that Bush thought it was important not to publicly criticize his successor? She didn't mention that it was only the first 100 days...

    June 18, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  22. Terry

    This is a man whose advice we have learned NOT to follow. We took his advice and followed his lead for eight long, long years.

    He - and other Conservative leaders - cannot see or will not admit that the private sector led us INTO this recession. If CEOs had made prudent decisions during the last 8 years and had not created the subprime housing market, we would not be in this mess.

    They were warned about the housing bubble, but the lure of a fast $50 million is too powerful for them to resist.

    Fool me once, shame on you...

    June 18, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. La Chatte

    Back under your rock, George!

    But wait a sec! On second thought, keep talking, W. You just may be the final nail in the Repug coffin.

    June 18, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. Wally

    If W knows all the solutions, as it seems, what has he been doing for 8 years???? The last 2 months of his terms were the most horrible days in the US history..... People have short memory MR. Ex President, but not that short.....

    June 18, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  25. rob

    OMG–its Sarah Palin in drag –just go away

    June 18, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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