Tags: bush | farewell | speech

Bush Mulling Farewell Speech to Share Lessons

Monday, 22 Dec 2008 09:43 AM

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WASHINGTON – Outgoing US President George W. Bush said Thursday he is considering a farewell speech to share the lessons of his eight-year term and to spur vigilance about the "terrorist threat."

"Thinking about it. Thinking about it. A lot of presidents have, and I'm giving it serious thought," Bush said in an interview with C-SPAN television when asked if he was planning a farewell speech before he leaves the White House on January 20.

Bush said he has already talked it over with a speech writer.

"I don't want it to be - you know, kind of a real emotional goodbye. If I give it, it's going to be trying to leave behind some lessons learned," Bush said.

If the farewell speech materializes, he added, it would caution that "we have to be vigilant and can't let our guard down because a terrorist threat still exists."

The speech would also urge that the United States remain a key international player, especially in promoting free trade and fighting against the AIDS epidemic.

In the interview, Bush said he did not regret his wartime decisions.

"I was a wartime President and war is very exhausting. War is hard for a country. And, you know, I made the decision that we were going to win."

"The other part of my presidency that's been hard is we've had, you know, huge economic turmoil recently," he added.

"I'm just so sorry it's happening. But it is happening and therefore I have made the decision not to let there be a massive collapse, which would hurt the average guy in the street."

Bush, who promised president-elect Barack Obama a smooth transition into office, has invited the Democrat to a White House breakfast on January 7, along with former presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and his father, George HW Bush.

Obama proposed the breakfast get-together when he visited the White House on November 10, six days after winning the presidential election, Bush said.

"I'm sure he's going to ask us all questions, I would guess. If not, we'll just share war stories," Bush said about the meeting.

Bush reiterated his intention to completely give up the limelight to Obama after the inauguration.

"One thing I don't want to do is stay on the stage. The spotlight needs to shift to president-elect Obama ... because he's the president.

"Therefore, I won't try to get it to shift to me. And I'll be very respectful of him during his presidency."

© 2008 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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