[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/18/art.bush18.gi.jpg caption="President Bush says he should have focused on immigration reform instead of Social Security reform."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - There was a candid moment in President Bush's final news conference that was largely overlooked, but should not be completely ignored because it offers a window on why his domestic legacy is looking pretty thin as he readies a farewell address on Thursday evening.
When asked to reflect on his mistakes, Bush made a rare admission. "I believe that running the Social Security idea right after the '04 elections was a mistake," he said. "I should have - should have argued for immigration reform."
Let's take the Social Security part first, and deal with immigration in a moment.
What the president was really saying is that he - and top aides at the time like Karl Rove - made a major miscalculation immediately after the 2004 re-election, when Bush famously told reporters that he now had a lot of "political capital" to burn and he planned to spend it on a big idea like Social Security reform.