November 5th, 2010
08:25 PM ET
3 years ago

Bush on waterboarding: 'Damn right'

Washington (CNN) - Former President George W. Bush has stayed out of politics since he left the White House and, except for his own, he largely keeps the subject at arm's length in his new memoir, "Turning Points."

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey to air on Tuesday when the book is to be released, Bush said he is "through with politics" and refused to offer an opinion on the 2012 presidential election.

"I am not a political pundit. I'm really not," Bush said. "A lot is gonna happen between now and the nominating process."

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October 8th, 2010
12:54 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Was Bush better president than Obama?

(CNN) - Americans are divided over whether President Barack Obama or his predecessor has performed better in the White House, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday also indicates in the battle for Congress, Republicans hold large advantages over the Democrats among independents, men and blue-collar whites. The poll also indicates that Republicans are much more enthusiastic than Democrats to vote.
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September 20th, 2010
09:05 AM ET
4 years ago

Fact Check: Bush tax cuts

New York (CNNMoney.com) - Republicans say raising taxes on the wealthy would cause small businesses to pull back on hiring. Many leading Democrats say that's nonsense.

Who's right?

The answer isn't black and white, despite politicians' confident assertions to the contrary. It's more like multiple shades of gray.

Here's a breakdown of the debate.

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Filed under: issues • President George W. Bush • President Obama • Taxes
August 31st, 2010
08:07 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama declares 'combat mission in Iraq has ended'

Washington (CNN) - President Obama declared that "the American combat mission in Iraq has ended" in his primetime address Tuesday.

"Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country," he said.

The president addressed the economic crisis in America by talking about how restoring prosperity at home is critical to maintaining the nation's strength abroad. Obama said getting the economy back on track is his "central responsibility as president."

"Today, our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work," the president said.

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Filed under: Iraq • issues • President George W. Bush • President Obama
August 31st, 2010
05:44 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama not planning to credit Bush over Iraq 'surge'

President Obama will not give credit to George W. Bush for the 2007 surge in Iraq.
President Obama will not give credit to George W. Bush for the 2007 surge in Iraq.

Washington (CNN) –In his Oval Office address on Iraq Tuesday night, President Obama is planning to ignore Republican suggestions that he acknowledge a personal mistake and give credit to former President George W. Bush for executing the 2007 surge of troops over the objections of Obama and other Democratic senators at the time, according to two senior administration officials familiar with the speech.

The officials added that during the speech marking the end of combat operation in Iraq the President will also address the economic crisis in America by talking about how restoring prosperity at home is critical to maintaining the nation's strength abroad, which Obama alluded to back in May at a commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

"Simply put, American innovation must be the foundation of American power - because at no time in human history has a nation of diminished economic vitality maintained its military and political primacy," Obama said in the May commencement address. "And so that means that the civilians among us, as parents and community leaders, elected officials, business leaders, we have a role to play. We cannot leave it to those in uniform to defend this country - we have to make sure that America is building on its strengths."

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Filed under: Iraq • issues • President George W. Bush • President Obama
February 26th, 2010
02:31 PM ET
4 years ago

Bush jokes about writing book in reunion event

President George W. Bush was back in Washington on Friday.
President George W. Bush was back in Washington on Friday.

Washington (CNN) – Former President George W. Bush appeared relaxed as he talk about his post-presidency life, according to one participant at Friday's kickoff breakfast for the Bush Cheney Alumni Association at a Washington hotel.

In his speech to several hundred people who served in his administration, he also talked about writing his book, due out later this year, and in the process poked fun at himself.

"This is going to come as quite a shock to people up here that I can write a book, much less read one," Bush joked, the one participant told CNN, confirming a quote first reported by Politico. The participant refused to discuss his comments in any more depth since it was a closed press event, and Mr. Bush asked for his remarks not to be leaked.

Bush's spokesman refused to comment on the event.

The former president previously told the Los Angeles Times his aim for the book was to help "people to understand the environment in which I was making decisions ... I want people to get a sense of how decisions were made, and I want people to see the options that were placed before me."

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September 16th, 2009
05:01 AM ET
5 years ago

Bush on Obama: 'This guy has no clue'

Bush on Obama: 'This guy has no clue'.
Bush on Obama: 'This guy has no clue'.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former President George W. Bush "seemed to feel considerable unease" with John McCain as the Republican presidential nominee, according to ex-speechwriter Matt Latimer in his tell-all memoir on his days in the White House.

In Latimer's new book, "Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor," set to hit bookstores on September 22, he reveals Bush's reactions to the economic collapse, the presidential campaign, and other memorable events. GQ published an excerpt from the memoir in its October issue.

Latimer said Bush liked Mitt Romney best and that he was "clearly not impressed with the McCain operation." Latimer said the former president wanted to appear with McCain at a campaign event in Phoenix, but after he was told the then-Republican nominee couldn't get enough people to show up, he called it a "cruel hoax."

"'He couldn't get 500 people? I could get that many people to turn out in Crawford.' He shook his head. 'This is a five-spiral crash, boys.'"

Bush presumed Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee, according to Latimer, and was extremely critical of Barack Obama. Latimer said Bush was "ticked off" after one of Obama's speeches and he said the future president wasn't "remotely qualified" for the challenges of the job.

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August 10th, 2009
12:37 PM ET
5 years ago

Political family names bring shame as well as fame

George and Jeb Bush are the only sons of a president to make it to the governor's mansion.
George and Jeb Bush are the only sons of a president to make it to the governor's mansion.

(CNN) - For some families, like the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Roosevelts, politics runs in the blood. But as history shows, coming from a powerful political family doesn't mean a free ride to the top.

"It does help, and it hurts. It's a two-edged sword," said Doug Wead, a presidential historian and former adviser to President George H.W. Bush. "It initially helps the candidate with name recognition and more importantly with fundraising ... but many vote against the child as well."

The children of political families inherit a treasure chest of contacts, campaign workers and often endorsements, but the benefits have their limits.

Only two presidential sons have followed their fathers to the White House (John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush), and just one presidential family - the Bushes - has sent sons to the governor's mansion (Jeb Bush in Florida and George Bush in Texas).

"I conclude that a brand name - a famous family name - is typically worth one step up on the political ladder," said Stephen Hess, a senior fellow emeritus in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, who has researched and written about political dynasties dating back to colonial times. "They get one step up - and they are on their own."

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Filed under: Jeb Bush • President George W. Bush • Ron Paul • Ted Kennedy
June 19th, 2009
05:56 AM 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.
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April 27th, 2009
07:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Leahy wants to probe 'chain of command' on torture

Some congressional Democrats are calling for an investigation into CIA interrogation techniques.
Some congressional Democrats are calling for an investigation into CIA interrogation techniques.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - An independent commission is needed to determine who authorized the use of abusive interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists, a leading advocate of such a panel said Sunday.

"I want to know who was it who made the decisions that we will violate our own laws; we'll violate our own treaties; we will even violate our own Constitution," Sen. Patrick Leahy told CBS' "Face the Nation."

"That we don't know," said Leahy, D-Vermont, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "We don't know what that chain of command was."

Former President George Bush repeatedly denied that his administration authorized the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody. But a set of legal opinions released earlier in this month documented the Bush administration's justification for coercive interrogation techniques including waterboarding, which has been considered torture since the Spanish Inquisition.

A Senate Armed Services Committee report released last week showed that top Bush administration officials gave the CIA approval to use waterboarding as early as 2002. And in 2003, a meeting that included then-Vice President Dick Cheney, CIA Director George Tenet, Attorney General John Ashcroft and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed the use of coercive tactics, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The releases have fueled calls for investigations of former administration and led to arguments from Bush's defenders - including Cheney - that the tactics produced information that saved American lives.

Leahy first proposed the idea of a nonpartisan "commission of inquiry" in March. He said Sunday that he was not "out for some kind of vengeance," but added, "I'd like to read the page before we turn it."

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