June 18th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
5 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. Truth

    Bush,

    Do us all a favor and crawl back into that little dark hole or rock that you have been hiding under for the last several months. Also, remember history still hasn't written your legacy yet; therefore I would try to disappear before your skeletons come out of the closest i.e. Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, the great recession, torture, pardons, and etc.

    I think American’s know the real reason why we are in this mess in the first place. It's because of your renegade administration that treated the rest of the world as if they were second class citizens and your ambitions ego went unchecked.

    June 18, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. kc in va

    Thanks but no thanks for your advice, Mr. President. You were instrumental in driving this country into a recession and turning a budget surplus into a crippling deficit. You're the LAST person whose opinion I value.

    June 18, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. Phil

    If George knew how to fix this, why didn't he do it when he was in office? He did such a great job (NOT).

    June 18, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. zago

    I agree with pres Bush that it's the private sector that will pull the country out of the mess that he created.
    At least he has a point should all governments be the same. He said that the private sector can spend the money better. That's very true should the government spend the money in Iraq when all the return on that investment to the American people are the plastic bags that we receive for the casualties because of his cretinism and idiocies. Go away Bush. You are ill-advised. The American people cannot stand people like you.

    June 18, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. Sniffit

    darn typo...should've read:

    OK ok…I'll be nice…Bush has 46.99 chromosomes…he's close, but not quite…

    ah well, blog jokes...can't win 'em all

    June 18, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. Deb

    Americans should all listen to President Bush because??? Was he not responsible for the deregulation of Wall Street which led to our economic distress? Was it not eight years of not caring that led to our healthcare system to be so expensive and is he not the reason so many people do not have health coverage? Is he not the reason Americans around the world are so despised? Despised so much that it led an Iraqi to throw two shoes at him? Forgive me President Bush but listening to you for 8 years + and living through this nightmarish economy is enough for me. Please live your life and please stay away from any podium with a microphone if it means you will discuss politics out loud!

    June 18, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. Brenda

    Like we are going to listen to this loser any more!

    June 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  8. dominican mama 4 Obama

    "I know it's going to be the private sector that leads this country out of the current economic times we're in,"

    Except that it was the private sector combined with your neglect in regulating it that ultimately put us in the crapper.

    In regards to there being "lots of ways" to remedy accessible healthcare without nationalizing it: what ways are those? Please make them known to the President. How can you and your party sit back and withhold a viable solution, but choose to criticize instead.

    It is amazing to me that the "root of all evil" suddenly has all the solutions. Pathetic.

    June 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. Reassured in Michigan

    It's very reassuring to know that Obama is not doing what Bush would do.

    June 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. Nobody

    This guy should sit down, shut up, and be glad he hasn't been charged with war crimes and treason.

    June 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. The black spider

    Can somebody please tell this republican clowns from former president, vice presidents, senators, congress man or women to radio talk host or TV commentators that THIS COUNTRY IS NOT A CIRCUS OR A COMMEDY SHOW. we are facing serious issues and SOMEDOBY IS WORKING HARD TO FIX their mess and they need to shut up sit back and watch the show?
    GOOD GRACIOUS

    June 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. LMC

    Since Bush left our country in such great shape, his comments are so meaningful, aren't they? We can't really blame healthcare on him, except for pandering to the drug companies and letting them rule. However, he took us into a needless, expensive war in Iraq instead of concentrating on Afghanistan. His policies and lack of oversight led us into financial collapse. I double check his facts if he said the sun had risen, let alone pay attention to his criticism of our current government for the mistakes of the Bush administration.

    June 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. ghost

    "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."

    Well, that is a double negative. Does that mean Bush believes persuasion is going to work?

    The major role of govt is to protect the people. How that is done is the issue of debate. Fostering an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate is great, but not at the expense of the people that you are supposed to be protecting. These companies don't care about the American people, hell they don't even care about their own employees. What they care about is the bottom line, their shareholders and their own pockets. What's wrong with that, you say? Nothing until your companies CEO gets a $10 million bonus the same day you and 999 other people get laid off due to sagging profits.

    June 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  14. Real Change

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

    Thank goodness a bumper sticker slogan. FINALLY !! Now we're getting somewhere.

    June 18, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. gl, From Pittsburgh

    Bush and the Republican's policies where all for war. If we wasn't fight two wars that have cost us trillion of dollors, maybe we can aford a Health Plan for everyone. Republicans are not for the people the like wars and hatred. If McCain was President, we would already be in about three wars or more. Republicans love wars but hate American people. BUSH YOU NEED TO GO AWAY BEFORE SOMEONE BRING WAR CRIME CHARGES AGAINST YOU AND YOUR ADMINISTRATION.

    June 18, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. Adam

    this golpher can stick his head back down his hole. Like this didn't all happen because of his ineptness? Bush/Cheney are talking more now then when they were in power.

    June 18, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  17. Proud DHS radical

    Hard to believe but it appears that Obama is going to make President Bush look good in the next few years. Heck there's HOPE for Jimmy Carter that Obama would succeed him as the worst President ever.

    June 18, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. Edmontonian

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

    This from the man who spent more tax dollars than any person in all of history.

    June 18, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. andrew s. rostolder hillsdale nj

    boy blunda of the reign of error, who created the largest socialist system in the world...... looks like the pot calling the kettle black......

    June 18, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. Mike

    Why would we care what this bozo thinks. We are going to be recovering from his presidency for the next decade.

    June 18, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. DX in TX

    So tell Mr. Ex-President Bush what are the many ways to address healthcare....the world has been waiting for your infinite wisdom, so please tell us what is the answer?

    I'm waiting....what...no solution from the Repulicans...SHOCKER!

    OBAMA/BIDEN
    2008/2012

    June 18, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  22. graceis

    Mr. Bush should keep silent still....all this happened on his watch....Just saying.....silence is golden...

    June 18, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  23. James, Phoenix AZ

    The worst president in US history has a lot of nerve to criticize someone trying to undo his horrendous messes.

    June 18, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Nothing new, the words nationalization of healthcare.Former President Bush still have universal healthcare. President Obama said "if you like your health care plan keep it". Take your health care out of the insurance company hand, put it in your doctor hand.There nothing like needing surgery or medication and your insurance company want pay for it. Emergency Room care that another story.

    June 18, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  25. Betty

    Both Bush and Cheney need to keep their mouths shut about anything the present administration is doing. THEY were the ones who put us in the situation we're currently experiencing; so, what makes them think they were doing the right thing? Our health system is a disaster for all people except the very rich; none of us can afford the skyrocketing costs. Why on Earth we got away from a hospital stay of one bill vs. dozens is beyond me. Separate billing for each little part of a medical problem is killing the public – literally.

    June 18, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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