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. Larry


    George W makes Palin look smart ...

    And thats a tough task even for the Dumb'est of us ...

    I knew never seeing him or hearing him again, was too much of a prayer ... to be answered

    June 18, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. stefi b

    Simply not interested at all in anything Bush or Cheney have to say. It's a complete waste of time. Their opinions have no place in today's politics after the mess they've left our country in. I thought Bush had chosen to remain silent? His words mean so little. And Cheney...he hid for 8 years & now has so much to say. His words mean even less. Amazing stuff. stefi b

    June 18, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    All Presidents have many issues that the public do not like. The thing with Obama is that hes going too fast and getting into everything everywhere. He does not come out and say the things he should to denounce things like this Iran stuff going on now. At least President Bush would make statements RE: evil tyrants. Where Obama Clown. Out on a date night....

    June 18, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. Randolph Carter

    Is it just me or does he look kind of baked in that photo? Have a nice day!

    June 18, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  5. UCO

    Oh no! And we thought he would be a gentleman!

    June 18, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  6. Pee Wee

    some interesting facts concerning the 2000 Presidential election:

    Number of States won by: Gore: 19; Bush: 29

    Square miles of land won by: Gore: 580,000; Bush: 2,427,000

    Population of counties won by: Gore: 127 million; Bush: 143 million

    Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Gore: 13.2; Bush: 2.1

    Have a nice day!

    June 18, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. trish

    NOBODY cares what bush says.It is an insult to print or take seriously any thing he says because he will always be the worst president of the United States of America.

    June 18, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. Pragmatic

    ""I know it's going to be the private sector that leads this country out of the current economic times we're in...."

    Like EnRon, AIG, Exxon, Big Pharma, GM .... just follow those million dollar CEO's into the promised land:

    How do you think we got into the current economic times we are in? Or is that a foolish question?

    June 18, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Carole

    Okay.........Bush inherited a 'surplus' and created a deficit leaving out the cost of his chosen war and what it costs. YOU LEFT A MESS!!!!!!!

    That along with Cheney's Halliburton raping all of us American taxpayers. Then, there is the diplomacy around the world from giving neckrubs to high profile figures of other countries to being hated all over the globe.

    What a joke! The wife and father seem to have the class in that family. Jeb seems to have a brain as well.

    June 18, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. Bush has now violated his promise to not criticize his successor

    The Government created wealth for Halliburton when Bush was president. After what America experienced in the 60's it is in very poor taste for Bush to talk about the assassination of Hamilton as it relates to modern politics. I guess Bush's interpretation of the constitution would be to hold people at GITMO forever, without any due process review of their detention. Sounds like Bush loves dictatorships.

    June 18, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. Bill in Oregon

    You are a wise owl. Do you pay foe your health care? No is payed for by the tax payers, so you have government payed health care but no on else?.

    June 18, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. Angela TX

    I will NOT dignify his comments with a response

    June 18, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  13. katiec

    Bush's government added to and aided wealth with it tax cuts, perks for big business and the wealthy, lack of regulations and oversight, no bid contracts, billions spent in Iraq for those providing "special" services and no doubt, many practices we do not know about.
    With the republicans popularity in the gutter you would think they
    would want Bush to keep his ideas to hisself as they did nothing
    but create diasters these last eight years,.

    June 18, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. xavier

    ...and we should listen to this moron why? If it wasnt for the family resemblance I would never believe that a fine gentelman like Bush Sr. could have spawned such an idiot. The man makes the mess, and has the nerve to critisize Obama for it? I guess that Bush is afraid that if Obama can fix the mess, it will make him look evem more like the idiot he is. I wish Bush, Chenney and the rest of these idiots would just go away.

    June 18, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. great commander in cheif

    listen to george bush and then do the exact opposite.

    June 18, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. gl, From Pittsburgh

    Bush needs to go hiding becasue we still blame you for this mess and torture. So if I was Bush, I wouldn't be co cricial of President Obama after the mess you left us AMERICAN WITH.

    June 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. Obama 08

    W is the last person on earth who should be giving Obama advice. Without him and his cronies, we wouldn't be in this mess. Shut up!!!

    June 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  18. KLM

    go somewhere and read a dictionary

    June 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  19. Paul , St. Louis MO

    Please, this guy got us into this mess.

    June 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  20. Mark in Miami

    Kudos to former Pres Bush. Obama is trying to push everything down our throats at whatever the expense. Try to explain his crazy spending to your grandchildren. Obama needs to start taking blame for somethings....HE CANNOT KEEP BLAMING, "THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION."

    June 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Kansan

    Health care should of never been about "making money" that's what's wrong with our system today. Too many drug companies pushing this & pushing that influencing doctor's to push this drug & that when not neccessary.... Insurance companies screwing people out of their health care & hiking rates because their profit marjin is shrinking...don't you see the problem here? Health care should be about "helping" people not "making money". GREED is the number one problem with everything in this country and at the very least Health Care needs to be taken out of the "Profit" group and put into a "People" group."

    June 18, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Republican Hypocrite

    Keep talking W. You are helping dems along with Limbugh, Cheney and Gingrich.

    June 18, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  23. Sarah

    Who's Bush?

    June 18, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. Common sense is dead

    What Bush says is common sense, too bad it will fall on deaf Democratic ears with NO common sense. The majority on this board think Obama is doing a great job. Unfortunately it will take time for you to wake up and smell the coffee. Use your brain and understand how the economy works, it isn't big government. Who pays for big government? The more people jumping on the freebie band wagon, means less people paying to support all this spending. Get it? Unless you are jumping on the band wagon thinking the free ride is great!

    June 18, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  25. Terri in FL

    Now if "W" is against what President Obama is doing, then President Obama MUST be on the right track!

    June 18, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
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