Opinion: George W. Bush: ‘Honored to serve. ... I gave it my all’


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President George W. Bush‘s memoirs, ‘Decision Points,’ come out today and so does an hourlong interview between the 43rd president and Sean Hannity of Fox News Channel (6 p.m. PT, 9 ET).

We haven’t read the book yet, but the candor from early excerpts and leaks is intriguing. Here are some excerpts from the Hannity interview:


On the ‘tea party’ movement:

I see democracy working. People are expressing a level of frustration or concern and they’re getting involved in the process. And the truth of the matter is democracy works in America. ... What would be terrible is if people were frustrated and they didn’t do anything.

On being the President during unexpected moments, such as 9/11:

Now, it’s interesting that the presidency often turns out to be something you didn’t expect. And I ...

... bet that’s probably the case for all presidents. It’s the unexpected that really helps define whether or not you’re capable of leading the country. And in my case the unexpected of course was 9/11 and Katrina to a certain extent, and the financial meltdown.

On the media and public scrutinizing the semantics of his speeches:

Words matter. The modern president is ... of course every word is analyzed. And sometimes I didn’t get my words right. And I never tell these audiences I speak to, you didn’t elect me cause I was Shakespeare. And I didn’t pretend to be. The truth of the matter is you speak a lot as the president. And of course you’re going to say things that when you look back at it, you wish you could put it differently.

On Obama taking shots at him, which he says he does not intend to reciprocate:

I understand that tactic. It really doesn’t bother me. One of the biggest sacrifices for running for president if you are fortunate enough to win is a loss of anonymity. And I know I’ll forever be known. On the other hand, staying out of the limelight restores a certain sense of anonymity.

On whether he thinks his brother Jeb will ever be President:

I wish he would. He has to run first. And he has made it clear he is not running in 2012. And when the man says, ‘I’m not running,’ he means it. I wish he would run.


On his friendship with ex-President Clinton:

He’s a fun guy. And we’re the same age. And I like him. And we’re working the Haiti project together. And you know, Bill’s got a good soul. He’s not a mean-spirited guy. And it’s fun to be with him. And it’s fun to share insights into the presidency. We don’t debate. I’m through with debating. I debated enough.

On how he feels post-presidency:

I am at peace. I was honored to serve the country. I gave it my all. I’m not desperate to try to shape a legacy, because I fully understand that there needs to be time for history to be able to analyze -- for historians to be able to analyze the decisions I made. I’m a content guy. I’ve got a great marriage. I’ve got a lot of friends.

--Andrew Malcolm

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