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ROBB AUSTIN'S TURN

Bush Gives His Own View of His Presidency

January 16, 2009

While President-elect Barack Obama will soon take center stage in leading the war against terror and guiding the country through the current economic mess - the most compelling images recently have been those of President George W. Bush who will be leaving the White House on January 20th.

President and Mrs. Bush have granted numerous broadcast interviews during his exit phase and the result has been vintage Bush. He believes his Presidency to be mostly successful and is proud of his administrations’ accomplishments and is comfortable that history will one day agree with him.

He believes his critics have not considered the context of his decisions - namely that America lost 3,000 citizens in terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He reiterates that his presidency needs to be looked through the prism of that fateful day.

President Bush has kept the country safe from another attack - something most would not have thought possible after the attacks in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Bush also hopes that once in office Obama will fully understand the magnitude of the threat that looms against the country every day from terrorists hell-bent on killing Americans and doing our country great harm.

In an interview with Brit Hume on Fox News Sunday President Bush spoke about the anti-terror tools his presidency has now developed to gather intelligence and information from those planning to attack the country. "Look I understand people can get carried away on this issue. But generally they do not know the facts," the President said.

While many citizens are vehemently opposed to the war in Iraq, President Bush is quick to point out that the men and woman in the military have heroically embraced the war and it’s larger cause of keeping America safe. That war now seems won, and Obama will inherit a situation vastly more under control than just a year ago.

Bush was disappointed that there were no weapons of mass destruction found after the overthrow of Saddam Hussin - but he has refused to assess blame on the bad intelligence that he received leading up to the war. In fact, the President continues to have great faith in the CIA - with whom he met with every day of his presidency. "It is a fascinating experience to be briefed by CIA analysts," he said.

Many want Bush to say he made mistakes - or better yet - admit some guilt. But they didn’t hear anything like that from Bush - in fact he believes history will be very kind to him in assessing his two terms.

One of the more fascinating disclosures was President Bush’s insistence to stay the course in Iraq despite political pressure from all sides. He disclosed that some in his own party wanted him to alter his position for political reasons, quoting one Republican as saying, "you’re creating incredible political difficulties."

Bush, of course, would not compromise his position to bail out his political party - nor did he seem to care if he was popular with the citizens. He was re-elected in 2004 and that seems to be the only poll that he regards as a legitimate measure of the public sentiment on his job performance.

"I know I gave it my all for eight years. And I did not sell my soul for the sake of popularity. And when I get back home and I look in the mirror I will be proud of what I see," he said.

Regarding the current economic crisis which developed in the last months of his presidency he proposed a massive government bailout because his economic advisers told him the entire financial system of the country might collapse without a large infusion of government money.

Here again, the simple Bush style prevailed. He was not going to allow that to happen on his watch. And he didn’t.