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. Mick

    Maybe you should not have lied and taken this country into war G W B then perhaps you words might mean something. The true "messiah" and his crusade against Iraq. Thank God you are gone and we're only left with the whining and crying of you, Cheney and the rest of the Baby Bunch.

    June 18, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Wow

    Well, if W is against Obama's policies, Obama must be on the right track.

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

    It was the private sector and all their greed and deregaltions that got us in this mess. SO I ready do not trust that it will be the private sector along that will get us out of this mess. We need the help of the Federal Government and the Private Sectors to work together to get us back on track. Most Republicans only fight for the Private Sectors CEO'S AND THE WITH THE REST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    June 18, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  4. Duke

    Someone tell Dubya to shut up. The way he jacked this country up, he's in no position to criticize anything.

    June 18, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  5. Moe NY

    If Bush says it's wrong....we all know it is the right way to go! It is Bush and his cronies who got us into the mess we find ourselves in now. I am sick and tired of REPUBLICAN/CONSERVATIVES and their hatred, lies, racism, and absolutely no new policies....same old, same old. No new plans, they just want to return to the failed old policies of war, tax credits that don't work, trickle down economy...that never trickled down to the masses. President Obama, in my opinion, is doing a fine job, he would be doing even better if it were not for the Republican/Conservative obstructionists. Health care for ALL AMERICANS...it is the right thing to do!

    June 18, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. A

    First you were keeping a lid on it out of respect for the prez. Now you feel the need to insert your two cents. You got us into this and left it to someone else to get us out. Why should we trust your judgement?

    June 18, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Terry

    HEALTHCARE – "There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care," Bush said. -- This man got 8 years to fix this mess and all he ever did was worsen it, and WE are still listening to him???? What nonsense.

    ECONOMY – Socialism? "We'll see" Bush said"..... Is this not the same guy who wanted us to privatize SOCIAL SECURITY so citizens could invest their social security savings in the STOCK MARKET? Well, where would be if that had happened with this economic mess we are in now????

    Those listening to Bush are the ones who are worried that finally some SANITY is coming to government. Mr. Bush should enjoy his retirement in peace.

    GTMO – The least said about this one, the better.

    June 18, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  8. Larry

    Mr. Bushwack please shut up. You screwed up the world and now it is time to fix it.

    June 18, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. Andre

    And?! It's coming from George W. Bush, the poster boy for intellectual devastation. I'm certain he doesn't even understand what was written for him to criticize.

    June 18, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. Mark

    "There are lots of ways to remedy the situation..."

    Too bad Bush didn't try even one in his lame-duck presidency. I say this as a Republican. He did nothing on health care, nothing on immigration (ultimately). The latter could ultimately translate to the destruction of his own party.

    June 18, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  11. gl, From Pittsburgh

    You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money." AND BUSH SHOULD KNOW becasue that is what he did when he was President – He spend our money and look what happen!

    June 18, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. lori

    It is about time that Bush started sticking up for himself. It is a shame that Obama has used his first months in office to do nothing except critisize and tear Bush down. It does not matter if it is the popular thing to do. The president is supposed to be above that. It is very unbecoming of a president.

    June 18, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. Chris

    Bush is so insightful and brilliant... *chuckle.* If you want to ensure that Obama will get reelected, keep this man in the news.

    June 18, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  14. Robert

    Thank goodness this clown is gone.

    June 18, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  15. George the Democrat Obama fanatic.

    Bush did not know what Goverment did while he was President.

    June 18, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  16. JC

    Really? economic advice?

    June 18, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. K. Owens

    Honestly, who really cares about what 'W' thinks? It was his lack of leadership ability and micromanaging that led this country into its present dire straits. Thanks to 'W', the rich got richer and then lost all of their money and we're facing the worst economic times since the Great Depression. It would be wise of him to NOT call attention to his legacy as the worst president that this nation has EVER SEEN!

    President Obama, you should refuse to get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man (or in this case, an unarmed former commander in chief). Just saying that makes me laugh...I cannot believe he was in control of this country!

    June 18, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  18. JerryT

    "...an environment where people take risks".
    The George Bush philosophy in a nutshell, and why we are in the mess we are in.

    June 18, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. Bob Painter

    If "there are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care," then why didn't Bush use just one of them during his eight years of destroying our nation?

    June 18, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. GRACE

    Its very funny now that Mr. Bush can see how to fix a problem after he has left office. Maybe he should have thought of that all those other ways while he was President.

    June 18, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. malkittens

    Bush harmed this country in so many ways – I could care less what he thinks.

    June 18, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  22. Mark G.

    I wondered when he was going to open his mouth. Remaining silent was just killing him!

    June 18, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  23. alex phillips

    Last time I checked he was President the last 8 yrs, he ran the government and country into the ground. Some nerve this man. I'd like to see him making comments from a jail cell and answering to crimes against humanity. Also didn't the American just rebuke him a few months ago and decide on a new direction. Please CNN post this, I never see my comments guess the convervative filer there doesn not like certain comments.

    June 18, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  24. D. Johnson

    This is outrageous. This guy, Bush screwed up the economy, poeple's live savings, brought a useless war that cost us trillion, increase the deficit, allowed the taliban to rise again, failed to capture Osama and campriots in terrorism, and damaged our reputation around the world, want talk about what?

    Honestly, someone tell me, who in the hell pay money to listen to this loser and incompetent garbage?

    June 18, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  25. Jenn, Philadelphia

    He wasn't taking "aim at Obama policies". He was defending his administrations policies and stating his beliefs about what should be done in the future. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know they would disagree on policy. Also, President Bush wouldn't need to defend his policies if this administration would stop blaming everything under the sun on him. There was no coup. The 6 years of Republican control and 2 years of Democrat control contributed to all the problems we face now and President Obama should have the courage to lay some of the blame at the feet of his own party (himself included, having been part of those 2 years).

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