June 18th, 2009
08:06 PM ET
11 years ago

White House fires back at Bush comments: 'We won'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/18/art.bobushinaug0618.gi.jpg caption="The White House responded Thursday to recent comments by former President George W. Bush."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A day after former President George W. Bush seemed to criticize the Obama administration for departing from a number of his anti-terrorism policies, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fired back.

Asked about Bush's remarks during Thursday's press briefing Gibbs had a simple response. "We won," Gibbs told reporters.

In a vigorous defense of his own national security policies during a speech in Pennsylvania Wednesday, Bush 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," Bush said, according to a report by the Washington Times. "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."

Gibbs said Thursday that the American people had made their own decision about battling terror.

"I think we've had a debate about individual policies. We had that debate in particular – we kept score last November and we won," Gibbs said.

Gibbs also responded Thursday to the former president's remarks that appeared to be directed at the Obama administration's unprecedented involvement in the private sector in the middle of the financial and economic crisis that began last fall at the end of Bush's tenure.

"President Obama believes that the free market is what governs our economic principles, and looks forward to getting out of the business of being involved in banks and in auto companies," Gibbs said.

–CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney contributed to this report.

Filed under: Extra • Popular Posts • President Bush • President Obama
soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. JoEllen

    Bush, Cheney, and Rush–the axis of losers–can say whatever they feel like. What matters is that the US electorate has spoken loud and clear. If they didn't or won't hear the electorate then they're truly pathetic.

    June 18, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  2. Sara

    Hey Bush – 9/11 happened on your watch, BECAUSE you were not paying attention to information that the FBI sent to you, over, and over, and over, in memo, after memo, after, memo!
    Hey Bush- The economy crisis ALSO happened on your watch BECAUSE, you, and those in your administration were not paying attention, and allowed the banks to run wild, and allowed banks to sell fraudulent mortgage products to millions of Americans.
    The two WORST things to happene to this country, happened on BUSH'S WATCH, including starting an illegal war in Iraq, in which OVER 4000 US soldiers have lost their lives! According to the Pentagon, The IRAQ WAR, started by Bush, has cost the US taxpayers over $900 BILLION DOLLARS !!

    June 18, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  3. rebecca

    Little timmy geithner sure does look and act like he's 10 years old!!!! What class he has...NOT!

    June 18, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  4. Ralph

    Man, that Robert Gibbs sure knows how to deliver a sharp retort-"We won."
    What a bumbling dolt. He'll be history soon.

    June 18, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  5. SGJ

    How ould you know if persuasion is going to work? Did you ever try it? Did you ever truly listen to anyone but your puppet master Dick "The Lord Sith" Cheney?

    June 18, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  6. Jc of Ohio

    "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."

    Uh huh yeah ... right!
    And there are plenty of people already in US prisons who would also kill Americans at the drop of a hat.
    Or rape....
    Actually most don't care if its Americans or not ...
    So whats the big deal then?
    You labeled them criminals/terrorist .... you can't or won't send them back where you got them....

    So....."IF" convicted of a crime ... our prisons are just as good as anyone else's!

    June 18, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  7. SGJ

    Look a you in that picture – even your overcoat is puffed up and 2 sizes too big to try stop the world realizing how small you truly are.

    June 18, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  8. AlRam

    President Barack Obama won the presidency last election. That is a fact and nobody can take that away from the American people. And President Obama is fixing the problem for the last 8 years and he is doing good. Thank goodness!!!!

    June 18, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  9. SGJ

    Look at you in that picture – even your overcoat is puffed up and 2 sizes too big to try stop the world realizing how small you truly are.

    June 18, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  10. andy

    Gibbs is an idiot. He is nothing but a mouthpiece of the chosen one. One day Obama will be gone and Gibbs can go back to working the drive-thru at McDonalds.

    June 18, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  11. Southern by the Grace of God

    Are you serious? That's the best line he could come up with? He very well could be the worst press secretary ever. No real answers, only excuses and mockery of any who disagrees with 0bama. Is this really what our country is about? Does he really think that the 47% that did not vote for him are really that naive? In Gibb's defense, I couldn't stand in front of America and lie with a straight face either.

    June 18, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  12. Dale in Michigan

    Yea you won but now we're sorry.

    June 18, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  13. Paul from Kissimmee

    Bush is right on this one. I'm sure that the soft handed liberals loves Obama's approach to combat, or should I say give up, terrorism. I can't wait to see what the liberals post on here.

    June 18, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  14. Sick of Dirty Obama

    The American people are against Obama on Gitmo.

    Most Americans think it is OK to waterboard or use other harsh methods on THREE of the most hardened AQ terrorists that exist.

    Gibbs is WORTHLESS, and he does a great job of REPRESENTING HIS BOSS

    June 18, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  15. George Guadiane Austerlitz, NY

    What is 43 gonna say?
    Yes, I knew there were no WMD
    YES, I approved water boarding, even though I KNEW that it was a violation of International law.
    NO I DON'T care what's good for the Country, or that America is now held in higher regard than at any time in my presidency.
    Keep it up GOP, Democrats don't NEED the help, but we don't mind, every time you shoot yourselves in the foot AGAIN!

    June 18, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  16. Barry

    No better response than "We Won"? Why does is seem more and more apparent each and every day that we elected someone to the White House way past their experience and capability level.
    Each day we watch this new Administration ignore threats to the U.S., place us further and further in debt, grab up private companies like Russia's Communist Party on overdrive, waste our money flying around site seeing, Allowing Iran to work on their Nuclear Weapons plans, thumbing their nose a Isareal, and turning terrorists loose and trying to make new ones Americans by reading them our Miranda rights. "We Won"...you would think that at least they could respond better than that.

    June 18, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  17. Mattison Brooks

    We won eh? Sorry Mr President, but where is that bi-partisan atmosphere you wanted to create? Pathetic.

    Where is your promise to reduce government spending? Or your promise to keep the government accountable? Or better yet, your promise to change the way Washington does business?

    Obama is a chameleon: he goes with whatever will get him elected and give him power. He is a liar and will hopefully be a 1 term President.

    June 18, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  18. MLH

    Former President Bush, some might say that you were willing to kill Americans at the drop of a hat – you sent them into Iraq on what amounted to a snipe hunt after lying to us all about those weapons of mass destruction. You are responsible for the deaths of Iraqis, as well.

    June 18, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  19. Rob


    June 18, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  20. Ren from Baltimore

    W, didn't your mother tell you to stay from miscreants? That, in your particular case, certainly starts with Dick Cheney.

    Do not call any dark forces on your successor; bad form.

    June 18, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  21. PoqVaUSA

    I honestly don't understand the vehemence of the posted comments against Bush's statements in the previous article. The attacks are generally personal, and arguments are mere declarations of "this is how it ought to be" or "that's just the way it is". I voted for Bush last election, but find that Obama is very good at articulating his position in world affairs. He has also not been as extreme in some of his views as are some of his supporters. Why the polarization in terms of the comments? Where is the mutual respect? Where is the sense that, now that the election is settled lets pull together and support the current office holders where we can, and provide constructive criticism where we feel it's needed? All in an atmosphere of being considerate of each other's views. Obama won the election, and Bush will be judged by history in due time. Now is not the time. Certainly not in this forum.

    June 18, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  22. Daniel

    Robert Gibbs,
    You, Sir, are a complete and utter moron. You have the attitude of a two year old child. What a disgrace to the USA you are.

    June 18, 2009 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  23. RUTY

    Keep digging republicans–the hole gets deeper. Pretty soon there will be no republican party. Mr. Bush you had your chance and screwed up royally. You left this country in the biggest mess anyone has ever seen. SO shut up and stay in Texas.

    June 18, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  24. A concerned veteran

    Good answer Gibbs. When you can't give a real answer, just say, "We won." That will make Americans feel better about Obama's plan to bring these terrorist in to the United States. After 9/11, there was not another attack on American soil. Why would you want to listen to the President that was in charge during that time? If this last election had been strictly on the protection of our country from terrorist, I think the end result would have been different. The American people want to know that the current administration has our best interest at heart. Closing Gitmo is a dangerous plan.
    Finally, the election was not a landslide. Remember, there is a huge poplulation that didn't support the current administration. Saying, "We won" is a great way to get those people fired up, and ready for the next elections.

    June 18, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  25. Arrogans of Audacity

    Typical of the Obamanots. In your face psychosis. They are all a bunch of narcissists out to prove they are smarter than the collective wisdom of the world. Look at me "I won", "we won". OK so they won, and "we" lost, our future, our liberty, and our financial security in the world. Obama and his klan are spending us into debt. I for one don't like having nothing left but change.

    June 18, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
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