June 18th, 2009
08:06 PM ET
3 years ago

White House fires back at Bush comments: 'We won'

The White House responded Thursday to recent comments by former President George W. Bush.
The White House responded Thursday to recent comments by former President George W. Bush.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A day after former President George W. Bush seemed to criticize the Obama administration for departing from a number of his anti-terrorism policies, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fired back.

Asked about Bush's remarks during Thursday's press briefing Gibbs had a simple response. "We won," Gibbs told reporters.

In a vigorous defense of his own national security policies during a speech in Pennsylvania Wednesday, Bush 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," Bush said, according to a report by the Washington Times. "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."

Gibbs said Thursday that the American people had made their own decision about battling terror.

"I think we've had a debate about individual policies. We had that debate in particular – we kept score last November and we won," Gibbs said.

Gibbs also responded Thursday to the former president's remarks that appeared to be directed at the Obama administration's unprecedented involvement in the private sector in the middle of the financial and economic crisis that began last fall at the end of Bush's tenure.

"President Obama believes that the free market is what governs our economic principles, and looks forward to getting out of the business of being involved in banks and in auto companies," Gibbs said.

–CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney contributed to this report.


Filed under: Extra • Popular Posts • President Bush • President Obama
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. nicu

    What a stupid response. I can't belived! An answer like a stupid person.

    June 18, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  2. Jim T

    We won is all they can say? That's laughable.

    Attention everyone: Under Bush the dems had control of congress. The Dems have a direct link to the housing collapse. Um hello?

    Wake up! Stop swallowing the junk and spin from both sides.

    We all need to hold all our elected leaders accountable.

    Obama has done nothing more than become a reality star. He needs to get something done!

    June 18, 2009 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  3. Hopeful Optimist

    I love the way Gibbs responds - very matter-of-factly, to the point and cordially. He tries to avoid any acrimony whatsoever, something the Repubs thrive on.

    Along those lines, something I've noticed in a crowd (for example a crowded elevator) is that if anyone is going to state their political bias its always a conservative. Its almost as if they cannot just let it rest for even a very few moments. They've got to ferret out who is withem and who is againem.

    June 18, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  4. George

    I don't think the world, or the majority in America, mourns the passing of the Bush presidency.

    June 18, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  5. SS

    We did win! Here here!

    June 18, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  6. DF

    He's absolutely right, too. Bush and his like lost, so they need to just rally with the rest of us, and stop being naysayers.

    June 18, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  7. TJ

    What a stupid and petty thing for Gibbs to say. Bush didn't lose to Obama. He finished his second term and left office quite gentlemanly in terms of his treatment of the Obama team.

    As for "winning", Gibbs can't claim any victory, since Bush's comments had to do with the Obama administration's flailing policies on the economy, foreign affiars and everywhere else. No victories that I've seen. That is unless you count ramming legislation through that no one is allowed to read before a vote. They're quite good at that.

    June 18, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  8. ATR6000@aol.com

    what's up with barak

    June 18, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  9. indy29

    I am an Independent and I voted for Obama, but I don't want to hear his administration say this again. It sounds arrogant and it turns people off.

    June 18, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  10. Louisiana Man

    I am hoping the Obama Administration's decisions about terrorism, interrogation, and the closing of GITMO ... does not cause "the chickens to come home to roost".

    June 18, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  11. Craig Simpson

    Bush and Cheney should be in jail for war crimes, lying to America and the needless death of > 5,000 Americans.

    You've got 30 minutes to leave the country Georgie otherwise we're coming to get you.

    Dickie my boy, you are all mine.

    It is an insult to America that these morons are still walking the street.

    June 18, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Darn right Gibbs! When are Republicans going to get it through their thick skulls that the American people soundly rejected them and more importantly their ideologies the last two election cycles? In fact it's been over twenty years now since a Republican has ever won the White House by more than a razor thin margin.

    June 18, 2009 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  13. Perry

    First, you didn't run against GW Bush, but it doesn't surprise me that the Obama admininstration doesn't know that. As it has proved aptly in less than 6 months, it doesn't know much of anything. The only person that can possibly be happy with Obama is Jimmy Carter because in less than 6 months, Obama has replaced him as the worst President in modern history. Someone should remind the Obama minons, just because you were able to win an election through fraud, doesn't mean you have the right to destroy the country.

    June 18, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  14. Geesh

    Real mature...."We won"....Grow up!

    June 18, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  15. none

    This is another in a string of shallow, base-less comments from an arrogant administration.

    June 18, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  16. Danny J

    "we won?" Are you serious? That is both arrogant and childish. That's a really unhealthy attitude to take. There is going to be a huge political fallout with a lot of these policies. It doesn't take a Bush to recognize that.

    June 18, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  17. Kerry

    "we won" attitude is going to make you lose in the future. the dems need to quit being so snobby and try for true nonpartisan ways of doing things like they told the world they were going to do. they are so full of steer manure.

    June 18, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  18. Dave

    That seems to be their answer to everything...."We Won." I would like to see a rebuttal on some of these arguments, not the reply of a spoiled kid.

    June 18, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  19. Proud to be an American

    President Bush seems to have forgotten that the 9/11 terrorist act happened on his watch! He and Cheney can only talk about how they made America safe...after the fact. First and foremost, they need to explain how foolishly invading Iraq served a useful purpose in securiing the safety of America. Then, and only then, will he or anyone else in his administration will be worth listening to. He sent our men and women to die in a needless war and I will never forgive him for that. May he and the rest of the Bushies never have a moment of peace or restful sleep.

    June 18, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  20. TonyR

    So in other words "Screw you"!

    Thanks for making politics so wonderful and making people feel part of the process.

    June 18, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  21. NoTelePrompTer

    They may have won this time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. There are a lot of people out here with Voters Remorse.
    I don't believe that last statement Gibbs made one bit. He is not for the free market and before long the government will control everything.
    Wake up America.

    June 18, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  22. Grizzly

    "We won??" That refrain is getting old. Any time that anyone criticizes any part of any Obama plan, they trot out the "We won, so shut up" comment. Just because you won doesn't mean that you have free reign to do whatever without comment.

    June 18, 2009 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  23. Bob Cooper

    Bob Gibbs is out of his league. How in the world did that guy get to be in the position he is in. B.O. and Rahmbo have him on a short leash.
    B.Cooper

    June 18, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  24. Fred May Sr. Spanaway WA.

    I think GWB ought to go back to Texas and craw into a hole and shut up. He and his paty put this country into the mess it is in. He had 8 years to straighten out things and all he did is make things worse. From a $ 300 billion surplus into a trillion $ deficite in 18 months has got to be a record.
    Hang it up you has been. We don't need your comments.

    June 18, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  25. Concerned

    I guess we get childlike comments when we elect a child to the office of presidency...

    June 18, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
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