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. Kyle

    Clever..."We won." I wonder if we'll win the war that Carter...I mean Obama's weakness will get us in with N. Korea, or Iran...? Why don't they love us yet? Haven't they heard about his Muslim roots?

    June 19, 2009 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  2. Jeremiah

    oh, and ur policies are great so far....rising jobless rate, stock market is not going anywhere. and u are increasing the deficit....great job idiot.....time to stop blaming everything on bush, who was worthless too, and start taking some accountability. I love how this administration is so defensive about negative publicity or comments. What a bunch of insecure losers. Bush was a horrible president, but at least he didn't have a fit everytime somebody bashed his policies. These guys while like babies, even Obama.

    June 19, 2009 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  3. Garrett

    Gibbs' maturity always impresses me. Here is a guy who somehow ascended as high as he has, but he still acts like the punk kid across the street who nobody likes. I think it is appropriate the he is one of the faces of this administration.

    Gibbs, you may have "won" but nobody wins if indeed these people turn around and harm Americans. I'm not saying it will happen, but the risk of it happening is real and one that you should approach with a little more humility and respect.

    June 19, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  4. Ashley.

    Yeah, Democrats won but it doesnt mean the people in American are happy.Obama's approval rating is dropping and people are starting to see that Obama and his admin. may not be up to the job.
    I think both sides need to start acting like adults and work together instead of this "I won". Wow, Gibbs/Obama admin. lets leave that talk back in elementary on the play ground please.

    June 19, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  5. bob

    How arrogant are these people. They do not care about any of those that voted against his highness. They cannot stand one ounce of dissent. These people think they are royalty that can trounce good manners and common sense. They need to realize they are just temporary and they wont last forever. They sound like little kids going neaner neaner. Shameful and disrespectful.

    June 19, 2009 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  6. Mario In Miramar

    That is a really childish remark by Gibbs. It is also a very good way to avoid answering the question. I have seen him do this several times before and it's getting old. When something bad does happen, this kind of joking on these serious issues is going to back-fire.

    June 19, 2009 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  7. renea

    To tell the truth Mr. Bush there are people in the US walking the streets day to day that will kill americans too at the drop of a dime. Republicans just need to let this president be who he is the president of the united states.Stop being so jealous, afraid that he is suceeding because when the president of the united states suceeds america suceeds Stop criticizing this president so much then your party can get things done.

    June 19, 2009 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  8. Earl

    So Bush comes crawling out of his cave to say something, whoa! I have one thing to say and one thing only for Bush and his cronies. Go back to your cave so we can clean up this disaster that was laid at our feet. The only thing that Cheney and Bush can say "Boy, we sure know how to torture people really good". The Bush administration should be ashamed of themselves. Iraq war (wrong), KBR (wrong), Contractors in Iraq (wrong), torture (wrong), energy policy (wrong), deregulation of financial industry (wrong), wire-tapping (wrong), heath care (dead wrong), tax cuts (wrong), oversea shipment of American labor (wrong). So what good do they do? They left! They just need to come back for the stragglers. OH yeh, thanks for nothing!

    June 19, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  9. A Veteran Who Fought Terror

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

    Gibbs is a moron if he is going to allow the American people – most who have never had to see the Bogeyman or any of his descendants – decide how to battle terror.

    June 19, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  10. Save Ferris

    Are we back in elementary school?

    June 19, 2009 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  11. mike

    This is the most pathetic, arrogant administration I have ever seen. I am disgusted.

    June 19, 2009 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  12. Dianne

    Of course Bush thinks he was right about things. But Americans did not believe that! His approval rating when left office was 27%. I hope he knows he was the one who started the down fall of our economy.

    June 19, 2009 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  13. David S. Robins

    Robert Gibbs was right on the mark. That's all the Obama administration needs to say to GWBush, the worst president in American history and to his utterly corrupt and thuggish deputy, Cheney. Let both of them choke on it if they don't like what the Obama administration is doing to repair the damage these two did to our nation during their eight years of criminality in office.

    June 19, 2009 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  14. Anon

    That's arrogance pure and simple, you could at least give a legitimate response. I thought the former President had some valid points.

    June 19, 2009 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  15. JDB

    "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 is right.

    June 19, 2009 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  16. NewWorldOrder

    "We won?" is the Press Secretary’s response to an important national topic concerning the terrorist prisoners whose goal is to destroy you !?! What an arrogant and typical response from this Administration! The dumb Americans have allowed the Totalitarianism regime lead by Obama the right to rule without accountability. Ha Ha!! Consider this: The “We One” statement is an ominous reminder to the Obama-Americans, Zig Heil’ (which means “Victory Hail” or “We Won”) was the common chant amongst the faithful to Adolf Hitler. You fool !!

    June 19, 2009 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  17. Michael

    So did Bush, twice, but no one respeced that administraions right to run the country as they saw fit. Gibbs is the least professional person to ever hold that job, he is a rude, punk bully that needs someone to step up and put him in his place.

    June 19, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  18. Pat in IL`

    When are some of the republicans going to get it? Gibbs is right "we won", and the previous administration and their loyal groupies need to realize that "we won" for some very good reasons!

    June 19, 2009 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  19. maria

    Why waste the paper, who CARES what bush, cheney, their wives or anyone from that regime thinks.

    June 19, 2009 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  20. Lisette Root

    It is beyond me to understand what actions from the Bush Cheny era can be defended. I also feel very irritated when I see how Mr. Bush slaughters the english language, and when I hear Mr. Cheyneys butchery of the truth.

    June 19, 2009 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  21. Andrew James

    Bush had 8 years to talk. Now it is time for him to be silent because no one has to listen to him anymore.

    June 19, 2009 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  22. Sol

    "We won"...and my Dad can beat up your Dad. What a dork. Keep up the good work Gibbs. lol

    June 19, 2009 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  23. Joe

    Let me understand this, because Obama won the election, further debate is foreclosed. That's the message the White House wants to send. Fantastic.

    June 19, 2009 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  24. kris

    I'm sad to hear such nasty comments regarding Bush. I wasn't a fan of Bush either in his decision making.
    The last comment was by Peter writing in Republicans are "greedy, haters and ignorant." Mr. Peter doesn't know what is going on. My recommendation for Peter is to come over to the Middle East with me and maybe he will learn a few things. He will miss American freedoms.

    June 19, 2009 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  25. Chris G

    Listening to Gibbs is like listening to a child. A commen theme with this administation thus far. Other than bankrupting the American people, what have they actually done? The excuse that they inherited this is silly. The Dems started this mess with Fanny and Freddy. As for terror, there were no attacks on America post 9/11. After less than 6 months in office, I think Mr Gibbs needs to be a little less smug.

    June 19, 2009 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
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