Some might say it’s about time (75% of the population), and some might be sad to see him go (around 25% of the population). Either way, here’s his final “presentation” to the American people as Commander in Chief.
Please note: If the Video is “jumpy” or the audio fades in and out, press the Pause Button. What until the Red Bar moves to the far right and resume watching.
See the remaining Videos of his complete conference and the main points text excerpt…
Some of the main points from the conference:
Bush “Mis-Underestimated” by Press
Bush stated that the press had often “Mis-Underestimated” him joking about the media’s obsession with ‘Bush-isms’.
He also stated he never spent much time worrying about the “loud voices” of critics and went on to say that President-elect Obama would also face “harsh” criticism as any president would.
Stimulus Plan & Bank Bailout
Bush said he supported the U.S treasury’s injection of billions of dollars into the economy to unfreeze the financial markets stating it was important to act to avert another Great Depression.
“Credit spreads are beginning to shrink, lending is just beginning to pick up,” he said.
America’s Moral Standing
Bush was questioned over Obama’s aim to improve America’s moral standing. He disagreed and stated that on the whole America had a good moral standing in most of the world.
“I strongly disagree with the assessment that our moral standing has been damaged,” Bush said. “It may be damaged amongst some of the elite, but people still understand America stands for freedom, that America as a country provides such great hope…”
“…You go to Africa. You ask Africans about American’s generosity and compassion. Go to India and ask about, you know, America’s - their view of America. Go to China and ask.”
“Mission Accomplished” Banner a Mistake
When asked about his biggest mistakes as president Bush discussed the “Mission Accomplished” banner that was placed on a U.S. aircraft carrier that the president landed on in 2003.
“Clearly, putting a “mission accomplished” on a (sic) aircraft carrier was a mistake. It sent the wrong message. We were trying to say something differently, but, nevertheless, it conveyed a different message. Obviously, some of my rhetoric has been a mistake,” answered Bush.
The topic of America’s enemy being out there and America’s fight for freedom was a theme regularly returned to as the president answered questions.
“It’s not a throwaway line, the stakes are high, there is an enemy that’s still out there. I’m telling you, there is an enemy that would like to attack America and Americans again. That’s the reality of the world,” he said.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
George Bush has admitted being “disappointed” by the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq during his final press conference as US President.
He said that “not finding weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment.”
Iraq Troop Surge
He pointed out that the troop “surge” in Iraq had been a success.
“I decided to do something about it, and to send 30,000 troops in as opposed to withdrawing.”
North Korea & Iran
When asked about threats to the U.S Bush warned that North Korea and Iran were both still “dangerous”.
“North Korea’s still a problem. There is a debate in the intel community about how big a problem they are.”
“One of my concerns is that there might be a - a highly enriched uranium program. And therefore it is really important that out of the six-party talks comes a - a strong verification regime…”
“…So they’re still dangerous and Iran is still dangerous.”
Wishes Obama the Best
“I genuinely mean what I say, I wish him all the very best,” President Bush said. “I consider myself fortunate to have a front row seat for what is going to be a historic moment for the country. President-elect Obama’s election speaks volumes about how far this country has come.”
Started in a Recession & Ended in a Recession
When questioned over his handling of the economy he said he started in a recession and ended in a recession.
“In terms of the economy - look, I inherited a recession, I’m ending on a recession. In the meantime, there were 52 months of uninterrupted job growth.”
Tax Cuts Policy
He further defended his 2001 and 2003 tax cuts as smart economic policy.
“And I defended tax cuts when I campaigned, I helped implement tax cuts when I was president, and I will defend them after my presidency as the right course of action.”
It was the government’s poor reaction to the Katrina disaster that ended their ability to get anything done. The Associated Press reports on an upcoming Vanity Fair article that reports part of an oral history on the bush administration due to be distributed nationally January 6.
Staff AP News Dec 29, 2008 21:41 EST
Hurricane Katrina not only pulverized the Gulf Coast in 2005, it knocked the bully pulpit out from under President George W. Bush, according to two former advisers who spoke candidly about the political impact of the government’s poor handling of the natural disaster.
“Katrina to me was the tipping point,” said Matthew Dowd, Bush’s pollster and chief strategist for the 2004 presidential campaign. “The president broke his bond with the public. Once that bond was broken, he no longer had the capacity to talk to the American public. State of the Union addresses? It didn’t matter. Legislative initiatives? It didn’t matter. P.R.? It didn’t matter. Travel? It didn’t matter.”
Dan Bartlett, former White House communications director and later counselor to the president, said: “Politically, it was the final nail in the coffin.” [Snip]
Lawrence Wilkerson, top aide and later chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said that as a new president, Bush was like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee whom critics said lacked knowledge about foreign affairs. When Bush first came into office, he was surrounded by experienced advisers like Vice President Dick Cheney and Powell, who Wilkerson said ended up playing damage control for the president.
“It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin-like president — because, let’s face it, that’s what he was — was going to be protected by this national-security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire,” Wilkerson said, adding that he considered Cheney probably the “most astute, bureaucratic entrepreneur” he’d ever met.
“He became vice president well before George Bush picked him,” Wilkerson said of Cheney. “And he began to manipulate things from that point on, knowing that he was going to be able to convince this guy to pick him, knowing that he was then going to be able to wade into the vacuums that existed around George Bush — personality vacuum, character vacuum, details vacuum, experience vacuum.”
But it was the Bush administration’s blundered reaction to the Katrina disaster that exposed its incompetence and passiveness in the similarly passive media. Once it became clear in the media that the government handling of Katrina was incompetent, it reflected back on their failure to prevent 9/11 as well as their failed occupation of Iraq and the unacknowledged rise of the Iraqi insurgency. The Bush administration’s current passiveness and failed reactions to the economic crisis simply demonstrate that the problem is inherent in the Bush administration and not a one time screw up.
Only 29 percent of Americans approve of the job Dick Cheney is doing as Vice President. In an interview with his hometown Wyoming newspaper, The Caspar Star-Tribune, Cheney expressed his bewilderment over his low approval numbers:
QUESTION: How do you explain your low approval rating?
CHENEY: I don’t have any idea. I don’t follow the polls.
My experience has been over the years that if you govern based upon poll numbers, upon trying to improve your overall poll ratings, people I’ve encountered who do that are people who won’t make tough decisions. And the job the president has and those who advise him is to make those basic fundamental decisions for the nation that nobody else is authorized or able to make.
In addition to his well-documented abuse of power and disregard for the rule of law, Cheney’s public disapproval ratings might be explained in part by his own personal disregard for the public. When told that two-thirds of Americans disapproved of the Iraq war, Cheney responded “so?,” adding that he didn’t care what the American people thought.
While he says he doesn’t follow the polls, Cheney was all too proud to state shortly after the 2004 elections: “President George W. Bush won the greatest number of popular votes of any presidential candidate in history.” (That’s no longer true.)
Cheney is still holding out hope, however, that the polls will turn his way. He said recently, “I’m personally persuaded that this president and this administration will look very good 20 or 30 years down the road in light of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
(CNN) A new national poll suggests that three out of four Americans feel President Bush’s departure from office is coming not a moment too soon.
Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday said they’re glad Bush is going; 23 percent indicated they’ll miss him.
“Earlier this year, Bush scored some of the lowest presidential approval ratings we’ve seen in half a century, so it’s understandable that the public is eager for a new president to step in,” said Keating Holland, CNN polling director.
CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider added, “As President Bush prepares to leave office, the American public has a parting thought: Good riddance. At least that’s the way three-quarters feel.”
The portion who say they won’t miss Bush is 24 percentage points higher than the 51 percent who said they wouldn’t miss President Bill Clinton when he left office in January 2001. Forty-five percent of those questioned at that time said they would miss Clinton.
The poll indicates that Bush compares poorly with his presidential predecessors, with 28 percent saying that he’s the worst ever. Forty percent rate Bush’s presidency as poor, and 31 percent say he’s been a good president.
Only a third of those polled said they want Bush to remain active in public life after he leaves the White House. That 33 percent figure is 22 points lower than those in 2001 who wanted Bill Clinton to retain a public role.
“It’s been like a failed marriage,” Schneider said.