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. TRUTH

    yes, President Obama is leading this country right into Socialism and we the people need to Stop him or our children and grandchildren will suffer under this new Regime.

    If we continue this current path, the Governamne will be controling every aspect of our life and the United States of America will become a 3rd world country.

    June 18, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  2. Todd M

    Bush is an opportunist and it is plainly clear that he was only going to jump into the fray when he could look better. He knew he couldn't go against Obama's popularity at the outset, but now as Obama had had to make some hard choices and his popularity is decreasing slimy Bush comes out of his nest to make some pointed comments. He completely disregards the mess he put us in in the first place. He would have you think everything was everyone elses fault, not his.

    June 18, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Mike D. in San Diego

    George Bush telling Obama how to run the country is like the Bad News Bears telling the Yankees how to play baseball...irony at its finest!

    June 18, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. Jeanne H.

    Very funny! When is this loser going to learn that as a loser you don't have any credibility to criticize anybody?

    June 18, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. Martin

    "You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money." Seriously, W? Still? Shut your trap and go clear some brush or something. Thank goodness you're gone.

    June 18, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. LoLo

    Please clown shut up. This man did nothing but sit back and reap the rewards from his croonies. Now all of a sudden he has an opinion on something. You should be in jail.

    June 18, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. Trina

    Mr. Bush is the expert now? Hilarious.

    June 18, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Steve-O

    Why won't these guys just go away for a while? Why? Why do they have to keep blabbing and commenting and whining and finger-pointing? They ran the country for eight years, now its someone else's turn. This constant verbal diarrhea isn't helping.

    June 18, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  9. Stephen Brady

    Bush's comments are irrelevant. He should go back to his room and let the grownups take care of the mess he was incapable of cleaning up.

    June 18, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. Junior Mottley

    I aleady know what hateful comments will come from this forum in response to this article because I see it all the time . I just want to say that disagreeing with Bush policies are fair game. Calling our former President names and spewing insults makes you sound un -american and ignorant.

    June 18, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. bcords

    shut up idiot. you and your cronies made enough money and left the rest of us the garbage!

    June 18, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Texas Teacher

    Ohhhhh.... yessss.... isn't this sweet! Pres. Bush... you got us into this mess with your deregulation of everything... less government... more power to the Fat Cats on Wall Street... AND Insurance of all kinds... medical costs... and ON and ON and ON.... NOW you are coming back to tell us that YOUR policies are what we need to clean up YOUR MESS? Pffffftt.... give me strength!

    June 18, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. WhoCares?

    "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.""

    Translation : I am worried that insurance companies won't be able to make their 10,000% markup and stop providing us elected officials with millions of dollars in campaign contributions. I mean...we all need a few houses and how else can we buy them!!

    June 18, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Hugo

    I never thought I would say this. George, please come back, I did not think anyone could do worse, I was wrong!

    June 18, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. brad

    He certainly has a right to speak his opinion as does Cheney. However, not worth much. One thing is absolute. That is the health issue is the root of the economic difficulty. Fix that, you fix a whole lot more down the list. It has to be dealt with. Like it or not. There needs to be some control on all sides from consumers to corporation. Shared sacrifice. At the rate its going nobody will be able to afford insurance.

    June 18, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  16. Joe the REALIST...!

    I was wondering how long it would take for this War Criminal to jump on the Dick Cheney band wagon......5 months into President Obamas administration and this is what we get.....

    The current President is cleaning up behind the Former President, and the Republicans act as if the last eight years of Hell never occurred....

    I surely hope now more than ever, that other countrys pursue War Crime Charges against the Bush Administration.....

    The one thing I vehemently Disagree with the Obama Administration, is the fact that War Crimes have been committed by the Bush Administration, and their getting a free pass, this will turn out to be President Obamas biggest mistake...!

    June 18, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. Susan L.

    Yes, because the Bush years were SO wonderful.

    If I am stupid enough to listen to George W. Bush I'd deserve all the hell that I'd get. He was by far the worst President in American history.

    June 18, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. Takeshi

    Just when i thought he had class. And was reflecting on what he did to this country. WOW you NON believer!

    June 18, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. John B. From New Hampshire

    FINALLY an intelligent representative of the republican.... WAIT A MINUTE!!!! haha, same old song and dance huh repubs? No new ideas, No new insights... i thought only D.A.R.E taught "Just say no!" :)

    June 18, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Annette

    I like to also add, that I and anyone else may not always agree with Obama's policies. But in 6 months this current President. Has done a great deal. NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING will change in 6 months. Obama has been President for 6 months! not 4 years. It's impossible to think, believe or feel that every request, suggestion, compaign pledge will be done, completed and finish in 6 MONTHS ! The American people gave Bush 8 years, and most of what he did was done at the end of his 2nd term.

    June 18, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  21. HelpMeUnderstand

    If Bush is critical of President Obama's policy.....then Obama must be on the right track..afterall look what the Bush policy got us into.

    June 18, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. Jeremy

    Let the daft and misguided comments about Bush begin (while failing to mention how he kept us safe in a very precarious time years ago).

    June 18, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. The Voice of Reason

    Who is he kidding?

    After eight years of constant downward economic failure, who does
    he think is going to listen to him?

    If he were still in office, we would all be in the bread line right now!

    June 18, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. Mike G

    Wasn't Bush on his 3rd or 4th vacation by this time during his first term?

    June 18, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. Simmy

    I knew it was a matter of time before he would come out and validate Cheney......Birds of a feather really do stick together.....Cheney has a spell on him.......

    June 18, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
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