June 18th, 2009
04:28 PM ET
12 years ago

Bush takes aim at Obama policies

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/18/art.bush1.gi.jpg caption="Bush criticized a range of Obama policies Wednesday."]
(CNN) - In his most critical comments to date of the Obama administration's policies, former President George Bush Wednesday warned against the nationalization of healthcare, government overreach in the country's financial system, and the potential effects of closing the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

"I know it's going to be the private sector that leads this country out of the current economic times we're in," the former president said during a speech to business leaders in Erie, Pennsylvania, according to the Washington Times. "You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money."

"Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States," he also said in the closed-door speech, according to the paper.

During the remarks — one of Bush’s first in the United States since leaving the White House - the former president commented on a wide-range of issues currently confronting the Obama administration, including the new president's push for universal healthcare.

"There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care," Bush said. "I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care."

Asked directly if he thought his successor was embracing "socialist" polices, Bush stopped short of weighing in one way or the other, instead saying: "We'll see."

In a vigorous defense of his own national security policies, the president 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," he said, according to the paper. "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."

Bush, in contrast to former Vice President Dick Cheney, has largely remained silent on the new administration's decision to prohibit the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. But during his speech Wednesday the former president insisted he used "every technique and tool within the law to bring terrorists to justice before they strike again."

Bush also appeared to take a broad swipe at the tone of American politics in general, noting that partisan vitriol dates back to the founding fathers when Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton.

"At least when my vice president shot somebody, it was an accident," Bush said.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Bush • President Obama
soundoff (295 Responses)
  1. Foreign observer

    This guy was never able to think out of the box.

    June 18, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. blinker

    He is absolutely right on everything he said.

    June 18, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. Daniel

    Bush has so much more class than any of the liberals running our country. So what if he couldn't deliver a speech with the swagger that Obama does when reading a teleprompter. I would rather have him as President over the teleprompter.

    You liberals are in for a rude awakening in 2010.

    June 18, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  4. Jim

    Why should the grinning baboon who drove our economy over the cliff have anything relevant to say about his successor's attempts to fix the mess?

    June 18, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. Larry from RI

    Government is also responsible to creates an environment where private industry can't run roughshod over the citizens of this country!

    The health care insurance industry here in the US is no better than the Wall St. guru's who are directly responsible for our current financial mess. Wall St. and CEO's are in it for themselves – always have been!

    June 18, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. Independent

    This Man Has NOTHING To Say That Is Worth Listening TO.....GO BACK YOUR HOLE

    June 18, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. Lynn

    "There are lots of remedy the situation without nationalizing health care"...he had eight years...if it was so easy, why didn't do it???

    President Obama doesn't want to nationalize health care...he wants a public option...big difference.

    "...I don't believe persuasion isn't going to work." So he agrees that persuasion will??

    June 18, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. girlymen love the GOP

    Just shut up.You had your chance Mr.war criminal and look where we are now.It was your failed fiscal policy that ran the bus into the ditch.

    June 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. RAG

    If George Bush is against something, that is a strong sign that it is a beautiful thing. Why doesn't he crawl back under his rock and groove with the other worms?

    June 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. Kim

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? this guy dares to open his mouth still after what he did?!

    June 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. MattM

    Bush is right.

    Obama is wrong.

    We would already be on our way to recovery if it weren't for all the tampering Obama has done.

    Obama is too busy taking advantage of his self induced crisis that he doesn't care that America, as we know it, is being destroyed.

    In fact, that is exactly what he wants.

    The lefty's worried about Bush taking advantage of the fear in America after 9/11.

    Obama is 10 times worse than Bush ever was.

    June 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. Malia

    Thank you for speaking out, President Bush. Since you left the White House I don't feel safe anymore - Obama is a complete JOKE!

    Enough is enough with Obama. The tyrants around world feared Bush (that's right FEARED!) and now they laugh at Obama - the Obama administration (excluding Hillary) have no idea what they're doing in Washington, and they also have a shady background.

    Frankly, I am sick of Obama's flowery and naive speeches.

    June 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. Obama Victim

    don't know why W would hammer Obozo's policies...................Obozo has adopted most of W's policies.............ah yes, "change we can believe in".................1 and gone

    June 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. CRL

    Thanks to Mr.Bush, the support for health care will go UP!!!!

    June 18, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. Bill

    Please this is the guy when he took office was handed a surplus from President Clinton. This is also the same President who launched a war of choice in Iraq. This is the same President that expanded goverment too.

    Please lets turn the pasge with President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

    June 18, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  16. Noah from Chicago

    I don’t even know where to begin……..

    June 18, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  17. Clifford in New York

    Suddenly Bush 43 is making sense!

    June 18, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  18. denverdoc

    Mr. Bush,
    Go away. nobody wants your 2 cents on anything after the disaster of your presidency. I liked you better when u were at crawford clearing sagebrush and keeping your mouth Shut. you are no longer the decider ( proof that there is a God) deal with it.

    June 18, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  19. otto

    Yes , yes , there were so many ways to " remedy " the health care system that you and the Repubs did absolutely nothing. Talk is cheap , I guess it's time to meet up with Cheney , eh Mr President.

    June 18, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. Candy Wilson

    Although I do not agree with Pres. Bush, may I say he looks the Best I have ever seen him look.. This JOB must be awful. God help you, Pres. Obama

    June 18, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. roy nobles

    bush should crawl back in his hole.

    June 18, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. virginia nielsen

    After leaving this country in a deep HOLE I don't know if he is in a situation that he can criticize anybody...he better go back under the rock !!!

    June 18, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  23. Peoples Voice

    Dumbo and Dick decided to do a tag team maneuver on us. Dick finally starts to shut up and now Dumbo's talking.

    George, you need to remember a simple fact. You are the worse president this country has ever had. Just stay out of the way and enjoy your fond memories of all the people you've killed.

    You are one sick puppy, bro.

    June 18, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. maxx atl

    Thats it for the GOP!!!! If you didnt beleive it before this idiot has solidifyed they are in the desert forever. This man is irrelevant! No words, ignorant

    June 18, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. FRANK, Las Vegas

    The Bush – Cheney nightmare continues, trying to rewrite history any and every chance they get. Also trying to stay out of prison for War Crimes. A better solution, let the War Crime trials begin.

    June 18, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12