Monday, January 12, 2009

Bush’s last press conference: I don’t know why they get angry

This morning Bush held his last (yay) press conference.

IN OTHER WORDS: “I have talked to the President-elect about this subject. And I told him that if he felt that he needed the $350 billion, I would be willing to ask for it. In other words, if he felt it needed to happen on my watch.”

He talked about the lunch he and Obama had with the ex-presidents, and highlighted a, to him, surprising point of commonality: “And one common area, at least the four of us, we all had different circumstances and experiences, but one thing is we’ve all experienced what it means to assume the responsibility of the presidency.”

On peace in the Middle East: “And I know we have advanced the process.” So that’s okay, then.

PASSING ON HIS INHERITANCE INTACT: “In terms of the economy, look, I inherited a recession, I am ending on a recession.”

THE BUCK STOPS. “When people analyze the situation, there will be -- this problem started before my presidency, it obviously took place during my presidency. The question facing a president is not when the problem started, but what did you do about it when you recognized the problem.” Also possibly significant: how long did it take you to recognize the problem. And you’re saying it took you at least eight years to do so.

WELL AT LEAST HE PREVENTED THERE TO BE A CRISIS: “You know, one of the very difficult parts of the decision I made on the financial crisis was to use hardworking people’s money to help prevent there to be a crisis”.

Why do people really really hate you? “You know, most people I see, you know, when I’m moving around the country, for example, they’re not angry. And they’re not hostile people. ... I’ve met a lot of people who don’t agree with the decisions I make. But they have been civil in their discourse. And so, I view those who get angry and yell and say bad things and, you know, all that kind of stuff, it’s just a very few people in the country. I don’t know why they get angry. I don’t know why they get hostile.” Yeah, it’s a mystery all right.

Asked if there were any mistakes he wanted to acknowledge now, he mentioned the “Mission Accomplished” banner. “We were trying to say something differently, but nevertheless, it conveyed a different message.”

He thoughtfully added that he has pondered whether he might have made any mistakes over Katrina. But he didn’t. “I’ve thought long and hard about Katrina -- you know, could I have done something differently, like land Air Force One either in New Orleans or Baton Rouge. The problem with that and -- is that law enforcement would have been pulled away from the mission.”

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO SAY TO THE CHOPPER DRIVERS?: In fact, people should really stop bitching about Katrina already: “But when I hear people say, the federal response was slow, then what are they going to say to those chopper drivers, or the 30,000 that got pulled off the roofs?”

IN OTHER WORDS: Another possible mistake: pushing his failed Social Security ideas rather than his failed immigration ideas after the 2004 elections. “And the reason why is, is that -- you know, one of the lessons I learned as governor of Texas, by the way, is legislative branches tend to be risk-adverse. In other words, sometimes legislatures have the tendency to ask, why should I take on a hard task when a crisis is not imminent?”

MISTAKES, DISAPPOINTMENTS, OR JUST WACKY HAPPENSTANCES, YOU BE THE JUDGE: “There have been disappointments. Abu Ghraib obviously was a huge disappointment during the presidency. Not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment. I don’t know if you want to call those mistakes or not, but they were -- things didn’t go according to plan, let’s put it that way.”

But he doesn’t think that torture and Gitmo have hurt America’s reputation, except among the elite, and you know how picky those people are: “I strongly disagree with the assessment that our moral standing has been damaged. It may be damaged amongst some of the elite, but people still understand America stands for freedom, that America is a country that provides such great hope. You go to Africa, you ask Africans about America’s generosity and compassion; go to India, and ask about, you know, America’s -- their view of America. Go to China and ask. Now, no question parts of Europe have said that we shouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq without a mandate, but those are a few countries. ... In certain quarters in Europe, you can be popular by blaming every Middle Eastern problem on Israel. Or you can be popular by joining the International Criminal Court. I guess I could have been popular by accepting Kyoto ... And in terms of the decisions that I had made to protect the homeland, I wouldn’t worry about popularity. What I would worry about is...” wait for it... “the Constitution of the United States”.

A LOT OF EMOTION: “Even in the darkest moments of Iraq, you know, there was -- and every day when I was reading the reports about soldiers losing their lives, no question there was a lot of emotion, but also there was times where we could be light-hearted and support each other.” Like when they watched Rumsfeld’s blooper reels of soldiers losing their lives, with the funny sound effects.

THE GEORGE W. BUSH CENTER FOR REMINDERING: “And that might be a good thing for the Bush center to do at SMU, is to remind people about the benefits of free and fair trade”.

HE’S THE REMINDEDERER: “And when you get a national security briefing, it is a reminder of the responsibilities of the job. It’s just a daily reminder about what may or may not happen.”

PEDALING TO FORGET: “And there’s not a moment where you don’t think about being president -- unless you’re riding mountain bikes as hard as you possibly can, trying to forget for the moment.”

After leaving office, he intends to stay out of the spotlight, unless of course he has something really important to talk about: “And so I wake up in Crawford Tuesday morning -- I mean, Wednesday morning, and I suspect I’ll make Laura coffee and go get it for her. And it’s going to be a different feeling. And I can’t -- it’s kind of like -- I’ll report back after I feel it.” You do that.

No comments:

Post a Comment