Bush breaks silence on bin Laden
May 13th, 2011
12:40 PM ET
7 years ago

Bush breaks silence on bin Laden

(CNN)-In his first informal comments following the death of Osama bin Laden, President George W. Bush said he was not “overjoyed” at the news of the bin Laden's death but it was a “good call” to mount the Navy SEAL operation into Pakistan and go after the terrorist leader.

According to ABC News, Bush told a crowd of 1,800 hedge fund managers in Las Vegas that the mission he initiated to track down bin Laden almost ten years ago following 9/11 was not "out of hatred but to exact judgment."

Still, "The guy is dead. That is good," Bush said. "Osama's death is a great victory in the war on terror."

The former commander-in-chief who famously vowed to bring justice to those responsible for 9/11 and "smoke them out of their holes," released a written statement following the assault on bin Laden’s compound, saying, “This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.”

“The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done,” he said.

Bush later declined an invitation to visit Ground Zero with the president four days after bin Laden was killed, and refused requests for interviews.

President Obama called both Bush and former President Clinton following the raid to deliver the news of bin Laden’s death personally. Bush revealed Wednesday that upon hearing the details from President Obama of the success of the Navy SEAL team’s mission, he told Obama, "good call."

Bush said he was eating soufflé with Laura Bush and two friends when he got the call from the president. He then excused himself and returned home to take Obama's call.

soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Dave, Central Illinois

    Bush has shown nothing but class since he left office. He has not taken any cheap shots at the current President and, in fact, has spoken in support of Obama. Too bad the current President and Carter did not do the same while Bush was Peresident....

    May 13, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. jen

    Nice one Prez. Bush, is great to see our leaders standing together not tearing each other apart. God bless America, our Troops!

    May 13, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. Jake

    let's not forgot that Bush stopped looking for Bin Laden...his sights were always set on IRAQ

    May 13, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Bush later declined an invitation to visit Ground Zero with the president four days after bin Laden was killed, and refused requests for interviews.
    Yes, Bush has far too much class to be used by Obama as a prop in his cheap political exploitation event. Heck, even Bill Clinton could see through Obama and refused.

    May 13, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. Michael

    oh George, you sound so much smarter when you do not talk.
    Why where your eyes always on Iraq and hardly ever on Afghanistan?

    May 13, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. Udidntsaythatin2003

    George. Dude, you said on national TV that Osama bin Laden was no concern to you and you said he was living in a cave in the mountains. Also you said that you couldn't find him. Then you turn your sights on the country of IRAQ

    May 13, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. JP

    President Bush is a good guy. I'm sure he will get attacked on this thread by immature liberals from their grandparent's basement computers, but let me say: Thanks President Bush for being a stand-up guy.

    May 13, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. Terry Hale Aspen, Co

    I remain stunned and furious over the many videos depicting the leader of the Seal Team on CNN's web during the last week. You named him, where he lived, where he worked and the fact that he had children. What were you thinking?
    Today you have featured Gates, having made an agreemment with this left wing white house not to do this after the raid.
    The White House press obviously felt promoting Obama was more important than protecting the Seals Identity. We expect this from the New York Times not from Pineda, who originally leaked the info you printed. Don't your editors ever think?

    May 13, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. Bill

    Dave, do you recall what Bush said about Clinton when he (Bush) was running for President, much as Obama said about Bush when he was running? It's an admirable tradition that the most recent President does not criticise or comment on the new President, and Bush has indeed shown that same tradition and respect. There is a difference between those running for office, as opposed to the treatment by the most recent President of the new President. I've no doubt Obama will honor that same tradition when he is out of office.

    May 13, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Rob Jones

    Anyone need wonder how the media would be covering the bin Laden hit or the attempts to kill Gaddfi if Bush was president? Obama himself would be the first to criticize. Now he can't get enough of this trotting out more details about bin Laden's death while refusing to show the pictures. The guy is a disgrace.

    May 13, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Consider This...

    What a small, insignificant person. Just shows again the charactor of this man.
    Class has nothing to do with Bush staying out of sight. If he can face reality at all he should be ashamed to show his face.

    May 13, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. FM

    Bush not overjoyed with the News of bin Laden! The man who screamed he wants him "dead or alive"!!!
    What has politics become!!!

    May 13, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Tim, Maryland

    Unfortunately, Bush didn't seem to care if Osama was caught. He even said that catching Osama wasn't one of his priorities. I hate to say it, but it seems to me that President Bush wanted Osama alive to serve as fuel to a fear based propaganda machine.

    Now that he is gone . . . who is the new face of evil that will keep the people interested in a war in the Middle East?

    May 13, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. papanez

    Dave from Illinois... Bush can't spell class let alone show it. In one of the most incredible opportunities to unite this country, this flaming idiot refused to join the president at Ground Zero. Why? Because he wanted to keep a low profile? No, because he doesn't want his image w/him and that bullhorn to be overshadowed or shared with the great work of President Obama. Let's get real, Dave. Bush started a war we had and have no business fighting. The thousands of American soldiers that have given their lives and futures to Iraq just to scratch an itch on w's backside was and is criminal.

    May 13, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. Former Republican, but never again!

    Kudos to both Bush and Obama: They're both acting like adults!

    May 13, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. Liz the First

    And let's not forget he let him go early on. the reason? the Bush family and the bin Laden family are close personal friends. this is historical fact, not a conspiracy theory. makes one wonder what else besides letting Osama go was done because of those ties.

    May 13, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Realistic

    president has never disrespected frm.Pres.Bush, president Obama just didn't agree with Bush policy. However, I have to give president Bush was staying out of the spoltlight and not aking cheap shots like the rest of his pathetic former administration members. Now someone talked here about Carter and his cheap shots at Bush, Carter forgot to read the memo about talking about former president(s). I have no issues with issue issue(say that 3x) but carter is 30 years removed from revalance.

    May 13, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    He needs to get his fellow war criminals under control – stop the propaganda. He TOOK HIS EYE OFF THE BALL IN 2003. Just had to get "the man that tried to kill my daddy".


    May 13, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. slipthalo

    Dave – perhaps the former VP should take 'class' lessons from Bush......

    May 13, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. Rick

    As a independent voter, I see president Bush is a lot like president Obama, they are good guys , surrounded by bad people, some of it is their fault and some of it is not.

    May 13, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  21. ConservaFASCISTS

    Dave, Central Illinois

    Bush has shown nothing but class since he left office.
    That's the least he can do after leaving this country in such bad shape.

    May 13, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. Republican Robber Baron

    Why now all of sudden does Bush and his numerous cabinet official come out of their secret undisclosed bunkers to try to claim all the credit? Bush stated right on camera in 2002 that he didn't care about Bin Laden or even finding Bin Laden – because his administration was forced to do a bait and switch to make case for war with Iraq.

    Senator McCain just put the Bush Administration in its place yesterday by denouncing the usage of Torture...over 100 times on 1 KSM alone. Essentially McCain called the Bush cronies out for their false claims that the torture methods did NOT contribute to the Bin Laden raid...contrary to what the Bush officials have been proclaiming of Fox News – Facts Don't Matter.

    May 13, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. Becca

    Bush could have helped unify this partisan torn country by showing up at ground zero W/ Obama. But instead, he basically "dissed" the prez and, like Fox and republicans, has such a difficult time giving credit where credit is due.
    Kudos to Obama and his administration! Soft on terrorism???Bull!*&%#!!!

    May 13, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. California Conservative

    The fact that Bush does have class seems to drive the democrats and especially the liberals NUTS.

    May 13, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. Nancy Lou

    What else can he say? He was not interested in OBL, but in the oil of Saudi. He and Dick need to brought up on charges for running the US in the ground for 8 years. Both he and Dick & company got richer. He got us into two wars. It is disgusting how the American people have had to suffer through this failing economy. No one wants to admit, but this country is slowly but surely turning around. It took 8 years to get the US in this pathetic mess. Getting out of this mess will take longer. Slowly a change is coming!

    May 13, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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