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

Bush takes aim at Obama policies

Bush criticized a range of Obama policies Wednesday.

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. Dawn

    Does he really know what he is talking about?

    June 18, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. omonoyan

    Bush, its not wise for you at this time to educated anyone on any issues. The world is a mess, economy is a fiasco. unemployments, madness and homeless. Please just go for now , when lives is good again, then you can express yourself.

    June 18, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. CTardy

    Former President Bush had eight full years to deal with health care. He is better off not saying anything right now. His voice doesn't count.

    June 18, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. KBurnett

    Well, the more Bush criticizes, the more we know we're headed in the right direction!

    June 18, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. Post always rejected by CNN

    Well guess what another wind bag loud mouth spewing has begun. I guess he is trying to spread his lies that HE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE for the mess this country is in.

    But guess what, Americans woke up. They know who did this to America....bush and cheney and the republicans in congress who rubber stamped his policies. The ones who are whinning and moaning and complaining about the democrats who are trying to clean the mess up.

    Best thing for republicans to do is just fade away.

    June 18, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Susan from S Illinois

    George W. got us into this mess! Why does anyone care what he has to say about anything?

    June 18, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Obama 08/12

    Well, so much for him staying silent! I find this interesting since it's HIS MESS that Obama has to clean up. He should stick to what he does best....cleaning brush in Crawford.

    June 18, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Stranger in a very strange land

    Bush got into office with a balanced budget. Eight years later, thanks in large part to his administration being hands off about anything doing with big companies, Obama inherited crippling debt, a failing economy, total lack of trust of government and health care that is only affordable for a small percentage of the public.

    So, Bush is the one to advise Obama on how to run the government and who gets health care? Are you serious? This is the equivilant of asking Pol Pot to head up the department of education.

    June 18, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. The black spider

    Oh yes that theory worked out so good for you to the point that you are the WORST PRESIDENT in the american history.
    Gorverment can only create wealth for rich people and alienate the middle class and the poor.
    You foreign policicy worked so good you were received by shoe throwing in Irak and protest in Canada. Not everybody in the world is comparatively dumb as republicans.
    Obama has a teleprompter and he is using it so good to change the world. I can only wish him success.
    Crowl under a rock and watch the show. The title is RECOVERY FOR A BETTER AMERICA AND A BETTER WORLD. It will work and you can only be jealous.

    June 18, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Super D

    I would hardly call that criticism. The headline is misleading.

    But I wish Obama would get into the idea that "Govt does not create wealth"

    I get so sick of hearing how smart he is, but he can't even comprehend this obvious fact .

    June 18, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. Pat Dunedin Fl

    He is a loser , one of the worst presidents. He is the cause of
    the wars , the prisons and the bad economy. Who cares what
    he says!!!!!!

    June 18, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. ED FL

    Hey George Obama has not killed any american youths[ uselessly ] as you and you WAR mogering right wing nuts . 4000 plus, 20000 maimed. Not bad for draft dodgers etc .

    June 18, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. usualone

    I believe most of us don't want government taking charge like it has recently. But one has to look at the alternative. We have been going down the drain when there has been no direction in recent years. It is apparent American business needs guidance on how to turn things around. Survival of the fittest shouldn't be the concept for America's success these days as it has proven that there are very few who can achieve stability. Just look at GM and Chrysler as examples...plus the banks who have made a mess of things. The middle class has suffered greatly and the poor have been getting poorer. We need direction and the government seems to be the only place where we can started to get things positively done. Too many in private industry are only for themselves and don't see the total picture.

    June 18, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. Mike from Ohio

    Should we really trust Bush on the economy? After all, he completely destroyed a very healthy economy, then left a big mess in the lap of his successor. I would trust Mickey Mouse to be a better stewart of the economy than Bush.

    June 18, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. Chris

    Thanks for the criticism Dubya, given your track record I think healthcare reform can now expect expanded support. 😉

    June 18, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Expat American

    Bush would do well by himself by shifting his focus towards repairing his legacy – as opposed to extending what remains in dire need of repair.

    June 18, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Hopeful Optimist

    A nice guy. A simpleton's intellect. On the surface he appears so harmless and innocuous. But look what allowing him to occupy the White House turned loose on our country and the world. Never again, never again.

    June 18, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  18. Leigh

    Obama is attempting to drag this country into an absolute socialistic state. I see him like a little fly jumping from thing to thing because he doesn't have the intelligence to understand what goes on in anything. His permanent reply is we inherited this from George Bush. Just WHEN does he expect to get it, unemployment going up, him pushing the national debt up daily, and socializing everything won't get it for the citizens of the United States of America. This is a democracy, not his democratic playground!

    June 18, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. Diane

    Bush is a proven failure. The only reason to care what his philosophy is, is so that we can AVOID enacting it.

    June 18, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. chris24

    I couldn't care less what this moron thinks.

    He should be in prison for taking us to war
    based on "facts" he knew were lies.

    June 18, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  21. Festerfree

    Typical politics... Republicans chide big government, but Cheney was responsible for creating an all-powerful executive branch... I don't see Obama reversing that either! A start to fixing health care would be to get rid of insurance entirely, charge a fair price, don't over medicate or over test, and make citizens responsible for their horrible health habits. THAT would go a long way. Insurance lobbyist have our politicians by the gonads, and nobody is talking about it. They just keep waving labels like "socialist" and "big government" around to keep us arguing with one another.

    June 18, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  22. citizenjane

    How disgusting to wake up to a picture of this man who is trying so hard to defend his totally defunct legacy. Future generations will not be kind to Bush or Cheney. That they both know this is somewhat comforting.

    More to the point, how gratifying it is to realize that Bush will never again be allowed to inflict his narrow, evil principles on me, this country, or the world at large.

    June 18, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  23. Sniffit

    "the former president insisted he used "every technique and tool within the law to bring terrorists to justice before they strike again.""

    Another semantic dodge from Bush? The dude's on fire this week!

    He may well have used "every legal tool," but he left off the rest of the sentence: "...and a few techniques that weren't legal."

    June 18, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  24. MD

    Are you kidding me... This total failure of a President is still talking about how you build wealth. Doesn't he know that 95% of US citizens are in survival mode. Forget about building wealth, people are just trying to keep a job, feed their families and keep a roof over their heads. And we have this nitwit to thank for it. GO AWAY AND STAY AWAY, PLEASE.....

    June 18, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  25. Wow

    Of COURSE Bushies want the private sector to control everything–that's how they stay rich and in control. Stop Talking.

    June 18, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12