Former President George W. Bush said that only time will judge his presidency – “and I’m really comfortable with that.”
“I gave it my all. I know I didn’t sell my soul. I know we dealt with some pretty tough problems. Of course, every president deals with tough problems,” Bush told Dana Perino in “Up Close with 43: President George W. Bush” airing Saturday on Fox News.
“I know we had a great team – and I know our White House was a joyful place,” Bush told Perino. “It was stressful but joyful. It was an honor to serve.”
The Fox special was taped before the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened in April on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
The program was updated to include excerpts from speeches made at the opening by Bush — as well as former Presidents Bill Clinton; Jimmy Carter; the president’s father, “Bush 41,” George H. W. Bush; and former First Lady Laura Bush.
Perino, who had served as a Bush spokeswoman, interviewed the former president in various parts of the Presidential Library, including the replica of the White House Oval Office during Bush’s presidency.
Speaking to a group of students about the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, Bush recalled that he wanted to project calm when an aid whispered the worst possible news in his ear.
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card delivered news that America had been attacked as the president was reading to schoolchildren in Sarasota, Fla.
“I resolved at that moment to do everything in my power and within the law to protect the country,” Bush recalled for the students, who were second-graders on 9/11. “It turns out that the most important job of the president is to protect the homeland. The country had to see resolve.”
Bush called the 9/11 exhibit at his Presidential Library “unbelievably powerful.”
“And it should be. It should be powerful. It’s a reminder of some truths, one of which is that evil exists. Some say, ‘There’s no such thing as evil.’ I think there is. We witnessed it first-hand. The murder of innocent people is evil,” Bush said.
He added that, “suddenly, the human condition elsewhere matters to the national security of the United States. If there’s hopelessness around world, we ought to be concerned about that.
“We faced an enemy that could only recruit hopeless people,” the former president said. “You’ve got to be pretty hopeless to be a suicide bomber.
“The exhibit is powerful because I want people to understand the lessons involved in 9/11.”
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