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. Chris

    Wow, we won? That's it? Sounds very elementary school to me...

    June 18, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Here we go again just "bushing it"

    June 18, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  3. New Yorker

    We won. Lame.

    June 18, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  4. TFG

    Welcome to elementary school folks! Robert Gibbs has the intellectual capacity of wet Dorito.

    June 18, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  5. LA Craig

    As a true SoCal democrat, I must admit, the "smugness" perpetually emanating from the Press Secretary Gibbs' mouth is becoming a bit much. While I dont agree with the policies of the Bush administration, he simply stated his belief that some detainess would be after the citizens of our country. A true statement from Bush's perspective as well as a seemingly true fact. But Gibbs says "we won"?!?!?

    One has nothing to do with the other.

    June 18, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  6. tim

    I agree with President Bush. Barry and his gang of yahoos have zero experience in foreign affairs, are passive at best and fail to acknowledge and recognize terrorism...islamic, facist, etc.

    I would love to debate Obama on how a balance sheet, income statement and p&l work...albeit without use of any telepromters.

    He speaks of change, integrity, doing what's right for America...rightttt....he is a marketing sham at best whose cabinet lacks integrity (at least financial....can't pay taxes, etc.) and lack proper experience to take the good 'ol USA into another era of prosperity.

    June 18, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  7. Janie

    Bush was doing just fine not saying anything. He was keeping his respect. Now he is starting to act like Cheney. His day is OVER!!! All the Republicans do now is criticize and the American people are getting fed up with it! Bush, please go back in retirement. Your day is OVER thank goodness. Too many mothers have lost their sons and children lost their fathers because of your brainy ideas. We are sick of all the negativity! Lets wish our new President well. His hands are certainly full and lets pull for him instead of critcizing everything he does and says!!! President Obama is a wonderful man and lets pray for him.

    June 18, 2009 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  8. lattdaddy

    I meant Gibbs.

    June 18, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  9. Trudy

    Then someone should tell obama that he won because he talks like he's still campaigning.

    June 18, 2009 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  10. John G

    Look, it's easy to hate Bush for speaking out (in his defense, at a private event), but I'm getting so TIRED of Gibbs's flippant attitude in his press conferences. Where is the cool-headed professionalism these press secretaries are supposed to be known for? It would have been far classier to simply have said, "Well that's his opinion, but we're confident that the decisions we're making represent the best approach for this administration." I wish Gibbs would project a little more class as a de-facto representative of the government in power, instead of resorting to lifting his leg on the podium and yelling, "mine!" Ugh.

    June 18, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  11. Scott L

    Gibbs has no respect for the American people.

    June 18, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  12. Bonnie

    What an arrogant fool. Voters are experiencing buyer's remorse over this administration. Gibbs is only one example of the low quality of people we now have in the White House. His words have no meaning. It is all just white noise. There is a reason the White House now has flies – the place stinks.

    June 18, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  13. Jason

    So, Obama won, so we conservatives and republicans should just keep our mouth shut and stand idly by while Obama and his ilk ruin our country? HELL NO! I don't recall anyone from the Bush administration saying anything like this when liberals and democrats criticized his policies when he was first starting out. Liberals and democrats never ceased to criticize Bush and his administration since the day he won the election in 2000, so why the hell aren't we allowed to do the same against Obama?

    Yet another example of leftist hypocrisy gone crazy.

    June 18, 2009 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  14. Francisco Cardenas

    Gibbs' remark was foolish. Polls show that most Americans do not want to close Guantanamo Bay Prison and most don't really care about what was done after 9/11 to get information to protect this country. I support Obama, but I am not with him on releasing prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

    June 18, 2009 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  15. Jami

    you won? thats it?

    June 18, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  16. B. DUN

    As for OB'sbelief in the fee market, it reminds me of another person in history the was quoted as saying,"the bigger the lie, the better they will believe it" And then we had World War 2

    God Help America

    June 18, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  17. Grrr-awful-o

    Actually, you didn't run against George Bush. And right about now I'm not so sure you'd even beat him in a new election. Maybe don't gloat too much until you've actually solved more problems than you've created.

    June 18, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  18. R M M

    They may have won but it will be a short lived victory. This administration and its policies are a house of cards that are soon to collapse. The stimulus isnt working ,the deficit is out of control ,unemployment is still rising , their foreign policy is non existant and once the facts come out on their healthcare plan the tide will turn. All those who voted for Obama are starting to realize hes not going to deliver on all his promises to them . Its just a matter of time .

    June 18, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  19. Jeremiah

    Gibbs you are worthless. You, your worthless president and Bush all share the same level of incompetency.

    June 19, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  20. paksa

    The American people voted for many things that the President said but we are now seeing that much of it was campaign rhetoric. How disappointing for many of us who had really hoped for something better. Tto keep up the playground chant of 'we won' is beginning to seem foolish and irresponsible as well as sorely lacking in maturity and leadership. How strange that Gibbs would say Pres. O believes that the free market is what governs our economic principles and yet all recent major decisions belie this and each day seems to bring more government takeover and involvement – from appointing numerous czars, bailouts, takeovers, and now attempting to nationalize health care. How foolish Gibbs' statement is when compared to reality. Sorry, but Bush is no longer the problem- this administration has definitely already 'won' ownership of an escalating debacle and needs a reality check.

    June 19, 2009 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  21. k

    Am I the only one who sees Robert Gibbs as a nasty, useless, smarmy dolt? He is totally classless and I'm embarrassed that he speaks for our president!

    June 19, 2009 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  22. Darron

    Gibbs must have a wet noodle for a brain. "We won"? The last time I checked the 08 election was Obama vs. McCain not Obama vs. Bush. Check all of the polls, 7 out of 10 people want Gitmo to stay open and the terrorists to stay there.

    June 19, 2009 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  23. Akoh Ochai

    I think someone should let the Republicans know that their party is over 4real. Bush et al should expect a change in approach with a the new man in charge. They (GOP) knew what was best and they couldn't deliver in 8 years. What a shame!

    June 19, 2009 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  24. Jay Clarke

    I'm sick and tired of Gibbs and the Obama-maniacs responding with "We Won" when they're criticized for their actions. Just because you won an election does not mean that you're immune to criticism. It does not mean that you can do whatever you want and then tell your critics to shut up because "We Won". "We Won" is apparently supposed to be some sort of reasoned answer that everyone should understand. Of course! "We Won, so we can bankrupt the nation if we want to. We Won, which means that we can turn America into a Socialist Utopia. We Won, so we're not accountable to you or anyone else. We Won, which gives us the right to confiscate your hard earned money in order to 'spread the wealth' to those who really deserve it. We Won–so shut the hell up–you can't do anything about it anyway". Freedom is in jeopardy my fellow Americans. It is time to rise up.

    June 19, 2009 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  25. JC

    Childish Antics..."We Won"...Naneee Nanee boo-boo. Gibbs is a scrub.

    June 19, 2009 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
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