Charlie Gibson of ABC News was the first stop on Chimpy’s Magical
Rewriting History Tour.
Original movie poster.
Here are some gems from the transcript:
On the economy:
GIBSON: Do you feel in any way responsible for what’s happening?
BUSH: You know, I’m the President during this period of time, but I think when the history of this period is written, people will realize a lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over a decade or so, before I arrived in President, during I arrived in President.
I’m a little upset that we didn’t get the reforms to Fannie and Freddie — on Fannie and Freddie, because I think it would have helped a lot. And when people review the history of this administration, people will say that this administration tried hard to get a regulator.
On being the Preznit:
GIBSON: Let’s talk a little bit about eight years as being President. What don’t the American people know about being President? What would surprise them the most?
BUSH: That’s an interesting question. I think, at least from my administration, I think they’d be surprised at how our team has worked so closely together. Some days we’re not so happy, some days happy; every day has been pretty joyous, though — that when you have a purpose in life, that no matter what it may look like from afar, that we’re a highly motivated group of people that are honored to serve.
In other words, I think people look at the White House and say, oh, man, what a miserable experience it is to be President. You know, there’s a lot of noise, a lot of criticism, a lot of name-calling, a lot of this, a lot of that. But I think people would be surprised when they walked in the Oval Office and the White House to see a highly motivated group of people that really enjoy what we’re doing.
GIBSON: What were you most unprepared for?
BUSH: Well, I think I was unprepared for war. In other words, I didn’t campaign and say, “Please vote for me, I’ll be able to handle an attack.” In other words, I didn’t anticipate war. Presidents — one of the things about the modern presidency is that the unexpected will happen.
GIBSON: That’s the second time I’ve heard you use the word “joyful” about the presidency, and that might take people by surprise. Even in really tough times?
BUSH: Oh, yes. As I said, some times are happy, some not happy. I don’t want people to misconstrue. It’s not — I don’t feel joyful when somebody loses their life, nor do I feel joyful from somebody loses a job. That concerns me. And the President ends up carrying a lot of people’s grief in his soul during a presidency. One of the things about the presidency is you deal with a lot of tragedy — whether it be hurricanes, or tornadoes, or fires, or death — and you spend time being the Comforter-in-Chief. But the idea of being able to serve a nation you love is — has been joyful. In other words, my spirits have never been down. I have been sad, but the spirits are up.
On the election:
GIBSON: Was the election in any way a repudiation of the Bush administration?
BUSH: I think it was a repudiation of Republicans. And I’m sure some people voted for Barack Obama because of me. I think most people voted for Barack Obama because they decided they wanted him to be in their living room for the next four years explaining policy. In other words, they made a conscious choice to put him in as President.
As opposed to those in 2000 and 2004 who were
drunk or stoned unconscious when they voted for you, Bucko.
On being a uniter
instead of just a room divider :
GIBSON: Given the fact that you did start campaigning for change, said you were going to change the ways of Washington, do you feel you did in any way? Or did 9/11 really stand in the way of doing it?
BUSH: No, you know — actually, 9/11 unified the country, and that was a moment where Washington decided to work together. I think one of the big disappointments of the presidency has been the fact that the tone in Washington got worse, not better.
Having said that, there were some moments of strong bipartisanship. I mean, No Child Left Behind Act, for example, or eventually funding our troops. I know the war was — created bitter divisions. But nevertheless, when it came to supporting the troops or our veterans, we worked together. And so there were — PEPFAR, for example, the AIDS initiative in Africa, got bipartisan support. Millennium Challenge Account. I mean, there were moments of bipartisanship. But the tone was rough. And I was obviously partially responsible because I was the President, although I tried hard not to call people names and bring the office down during my presidency.
You did call people names, but you mangled the words so badly, nobody knew what the hell you were saying.
Oh, kids, I almost forgot, guess who else was there!
On his legacy:
GIBSON: As you leave, what do you think the country’s feeling is about George W. Bush?
BUSH: I don’t know. I hope they feel that this is a guy that came, didn’t sell his soul for politics, had to make some tough decisions, and did so in a principled way.
MRS. BUSH: I think they think he’s somebody that kept them safe for eight years. And I think — and I hear that all the time, people thanking me, telling me to thank him.
Dammit, I already closed Photoshop, or I would change the poster to read Out of her fu¢king mind!!
On the Iraq War:
GIBSON: You’ve always said there’s no do-overs as President. If you had one?
BUSH: I don’t know — the biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein. It wasn’t just people in my administration; a lot of members in Congress, prior to my arrival in Washington D.C., during the debate on Iraq, a lot of leaders of nations around the world were all looking at the same intelligence. And, you know, that’s not a do-over, but I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess.
GIBSON: If the intelligence had been right, would there have been an Iraq war?
BUSH: Yes, because Saddam Hussein was unwilling to let the inspectors go in to determine whether or not the U.N. resolutions were being upheld. In other words, if he had had weapons of mass destruction, would there have been a war? Absolutely.
GIBSON: No, if you had known he didn’t.
BUSH: Oh, I see what you’re saying. You know, that’s an interesting question. That is a do-over that I can’t do. It’s hard for me to speculate.
On life after January 20th
which can’t come quickly enough:
BUSH: And I’m confident I’ll adjust, obviously. And I’m beginning to think through what I’m going to do. I intend to write a book. I’m going to build an institute at Southern Methodist University, along with the library and archives. That’s where Laura went, right there in the heart of Dallas. And other than that, I’m just going to take it when it comes. I’d like to — I tell you what I don’t want to do, I don’t want to draw attention to myself. Pretty much had it when it comes to –
GIBSON: You want to withdraw from the limelight?
BUSH: I think so, yes. I’d like to live life without the limelight for a while. I don’t — I think it’s going to be real important for me to get off the stage. We got a new man coming on the stage; I wish him all the very best. And I don’t want to be a — I don’t want to be out there critiquing him, his every move.
GIBSON: How about you? What thought have you given to it?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I’m actually thinking of things like being a cook again and doing those sort of things. And I’m feeling very incompetent — (laughter.)
BUSH: Steve Hadley and I were sitting around — he’s the National Security Advisor — sitting around; I said, wouldn’t it be interesting for baby boomers not to retire in nice places, but to retire — during their retirement, go help people deal with malaria or AIDS. In other words — and I’m not suggesting that’s what I’m going to do, but it is the kind of thing that intrigues me.
More stupidity at the link above.