(CNN) - As his presidency nears its end, a reflective President Bush suggested Tuesday he regrets some of his more blunt statements on the war on terror over the last eight years.
"I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said," Bush told CNN's Heidi Collins Twhen asked to reflect on his regrets over his two terms as president. "Like 'Dead or Alive' and 'Bring 'em on.' My wife reminded me that, hey, as president of the United States be careful what you say."
The interview, aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York City, came after the president addressed a Veterans Day Ceremony.
Shortly after the attacks of September 11, the president said of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden: "I want justice. There's an old poster out West that said, 'Wanted, dead or alive.' " Bush was also criticized in 2003 for his answer addressing insurgents in Iraq.
"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on," he said then.
The president said he wishes he had not spoken in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner he declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq on May 1, 2003. The now-infamous moment occurred aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln only a month after U.S. troops in Iraq were deployed.
NEW YORK (CNN) - Both the White House and a senior aide to President-elect Obama on Tuesday emphatically denied there had been any attempt on the part of President Bush - while meeting with Obama on Monday - to link a federal bailout of the struggling auto industry or a second stimulus package to passage of a Colombia free trade deal.
Those two financial packages are favored by many Democrats, including Obama, while the free trade deal remains a top priority for the outgoing administration.
(CNN) – At their private Oval Office meeting on Monday, President-elect Barack Obama urged President Bush to support billions of dollars in aid for the struggling auto industry during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress, according to three officials briefed on the meeting.
The officials said Bush privately expressed skepticism about taxpayer money for automakers on the heels of a string of government bailouts for other industries, and the president also urged Obama to help push through a free trade pact with Colombia – a key legacy item for the outgoing administration that is facing stiff resistance from Democrats on Capitol Hill.
But a senior Bush administration official seemed to downplay suggestions that Bush was offering a quid pro quo by saying the White House still believes the trade deal “deserves to pass on its own merits” without being linked to anything else.
The officials familiar with the meeting said Obama made the case that dramatic action needs to be taken this year – rather than after he is sworn into office – because the Big Three U.S. automakers are bleeding cash at an alarming rate.
One of the officials noted that about one in ten jobs in America are tied to the auto industry, and if one of the companies goes bankrupt it could have a massive spillover effect into the credit industry and other sectors. “The numbers are so staggering,” said the official. “It’s a huge piece of the financial fabric of the country.”
The senior Bush administration official said the White House is “open to ideas from Congress to accelerate funds they’ve already appropriated” to help the auto industry.
But the administration official said support would come “as long as funding will continue to go to viable firms and with strong taxpayer protections” linked to the auto industry aid.
An official in the auto industry told CNN that bringing the Colombian pact into the negotiations could be a poison pill that prevents passage of an auto industry package. But a senior Democratic aide suggested Congress may be willing to call Bush’s bluff and try to pass an auto industry aid package without the trade deal.
The senior aide said Democrats do not believe “this president wants to add the demise of GM to his legacy list.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama could reverse some of President Bush's most controversial executive orders, including restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, shortly after taking office in January.
Two other executive orders from Bush - one dealing with a so-called "gag" order on international aid organizations regarding abortion, the other with oil and gas drilling on federal lands - also are receiving increased scrutiny.
Obama's transition team is reviewing hundreds of Bush's executive orders, according to John Podesta, Obama's transition co-chair.
New presidents often use executive orders to put their stamp on Washington quickly. Unlike laws, which require months to complete and the consent of Congress, presidents can use their executive authority to order federal agencies to implement current policies.
"Much of what a president does, he really has to do with the Congress - for example, budgeting, legislation on policy - but executive actions are ones where the president can act alone," said Martha Kumar of the White House Transition Project, a nonpartisan group established to help new presidential administrations.
(CNN)—President-elect Barack Obama is back in Chicago Tuesday after meeting with President Bush. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, White House correspondent Ed Henry has the latest on the Obama transition details and how the meeting went.
Plus: Gun sales have spiked across the country since Obama’s victory November 4. Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena explains why some rifle owners fear Obama will be too strict with gun laws.
Meanwhile: The Constitution says little about the duties of a vice president. CNN’s Alina Cho reports on what Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s role will be in the Obama administration.
Finally: Even though their move-in date is still months away, the President-elect and his family are wasting no time preparing for the move. CNN’s Randi Kay explains what awaits them in Washington.
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(CNN)—While President-elect Barack Obama met with President Bush Monday, Mrs. Obama met with head White House Usher Adm. Stephen W. Rochon to discuss how she wants things to operate when they move in in January.
Sources say they discussed everything from how to request meals, what they like to eat, and how formal a presence she wants the White House Staff to have.
An aide says the Obamas are pretty informal, but would not divulge specific requests at the time.
(CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama was taking time out from piecing together his leadership team Tuesday to honor the country's fallen veterans.
Obama planned to lay a wreath in Chicago, Illinois, while Vice President-elect Joe Biden was giving a speech at a Veterans Day event in New Castle, Delaware.
John Podesta, the co-chair of the Obama-Biden transition team, was expected to provide an update on the presidential transition Tuesday afternoon.
No Cabinet appointments were expected this week, but Obama's transition team could make some key staff announcements as early as Tuesday.
With the transition process under way, President Bush welcomed the president-elect to the White House on Monday.
The two had a "relaxed" and "friendly" meeting, a White House spokesman said.
(CNN) – President Bush and first lady Laura Bush welcomed President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, to the White House on Monday afternoon.
Bush and Obama held a private meeting in the Oval Office, while the first lady gave the incoming first lady a tour of the residence.
The president and president-elect walked together along the colonnade by the Rose Garden before entering the Oval Office together. They briefly waved to reporters along the way.
Obama and Bush were not expected to speak on camera following their meeting.
An aide to Obama said they were "going to let the pictures speak for themselves."
The two met in the Oval Office for just over an hour. When President George H.W. Bush hosted President-elect Bill Clinton after the 1992 election, the two talked for nearly two hours.
Monday's meeting was a historic formality, but it was also a time for serious talks. It marked the first time that Obama has visited the Oval Office.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Obama's transition team has begun examining what to do with suspected terrorists at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which Obama has pledged to close, an aide said Monday.
Denis McDonough, a senior adviser to the incoming Democrat, told CNN no decisions have been made about what to do with the roughly 250 inmates there, "and there is no process in place to make that decision until his national security and legal teams are assembled."
But officials close to the Obama team said Monday that the incoming administration is pondering whether to try some of the Guantanamo Bay inmates in existing federal courts; set up a special national security court to deal with cases involving the most sensitive intelligence information; or release others.
The scenario would eliminate the military commissions set up by the Bush administration to prosecute some of the top al Qaeda figures now held at the facility, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - the lead plotter of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
The commissions have been delayed for years by legal challenges, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled an earlier version of them unconstitutional in 2006.
In a full-page ad in The New York Times on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union urged Obama to close the prison camp on his first day in office, "with the stroke of a pen."
But in an October 31 interview with CNN, Obama said only that he would close the facility "as quickly as we can do prudently."
"I am not going to give a time certain because I think what we have to do is evaluate all those who are still being held in Gitmo," he said. "We have to put in place appropriate plans to make sure they are tried, convicted and punished to the full extent of the law, and that's going to require, I think, a
review of the existing cases, which I have not had the opportunity to do."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The transition team for President-elect Barack Obama has indicated it plans to hit the ground running with what could be big changes for the country.
But that massive agenda has Republicans - and some Democrats - wary of moving too fast.
Democrats are eyeing an ambitious agenda with plans to take on the economy, health care, energy and education - issues that are all intertwined, according to a leader of Obama's transition team.
"So these are all core, if you will, economic questions, and they need to be tackled together, and I think he'll have a program and a strategy to move aggressively across all those fronts," John Podesta said Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition."
A similar message is coming from Rep. James Clyburn, one of Obama's chief allies in Congress.