President Bush: The Ultimate Exit Interview
George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, gave his 47th and final news conference today in what he called "...the ultimate exit interview...".
A retiring President George W. Bush, delivering the final and most introspective press conference of his long presidency, acknowledged today the several "mistakes" and "disappointments'' of his tumultuous two terms in the Oval Office, yet voiced a defiant insistence that he made the choices necessary to defend the nation from threats that still persist today.
"This is the ultimate exit interview,'' said Bush, who summoned reporters last-minute to his 47th and final press show.
Bush, also acknowledging "the historic moment'' of the swearing-in of his successor, President-elect Barack Obama, next week as a signal of how far the nation has come in race relations, lavished the Democrat with best wishes and a prediction that he will find strength in the office from a loving family "a 45-second commute'' away from the Oval Office..
"I consider myself fortunate to have a front-row seat for what is going to be a historic moment,'' said Bush, who will hand off the presidency to Obama on Jan. 20. ""President-elect Obama's election does speak volumes about how far this country has come.''
And Bush, insisting that there can only be one leader "in the Klieg lights at one time,'' said that he will leave any eleventh-hour decisions this week on coping with the nation's economic crisis to his successor - refraining from acting on the second half of a $700-billion financial institution bailout that he hastily won from Congress at his term's end unless Obama asks him to act on it. (After the press conference, Obama indeed called on Bush to release the second $350 billion, and the president agreed.)
The President, in addition to discussing mistakes of his presidency, praised the media and believes that America's moral standing in the world has not been diminished as a result of his actions. President Bush did, however, refuse to discuss pre-emptive pardons for members of his administration.
The President and Lady Laura Bush will be at home in Crawford, Texas the day following president-elect Obama's Inauguration.
More at the link.