Former President George W. Bush said Monday he feels no need to defend his record and that his new presidential library is “a place to lay out facts,” not to re-examine controversies like the war with Iraq or his administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina.
“I did what I did and ultimately history will judge,” Bush told USA Today
After keeping a relatively low profile since he left office on Jan. 20, 2009, the nation's 43rd president will return to the public eye on Thursday when the George W. Bush Presidential Center is dedicated in Dallas, Texas.
President Barack Obama, joined by former presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, is scheduled to attend the dedication for the center housed at Southern Methodist University. The facility includes a library, museum, and the George W. Bush Institute, a public policy center.
Bush told USA Today that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks are featured prominently in the museum exhibits, important, he added, because “it's apparent that time is quickly dimming our memories, yet the lessons of 9/11 are as profound today as they were then.”
Some of Bush's more controversial decisions, such as the invasion of Iraq, the 2007 troop surge, the financial meltdown of 2008, and the response to hurricane Katrina are part of an interactive exhibit where visitors can assess his decisions and the recommendations he received.
Bush's approval rating dwindled rapidly in the years he held office. His approval rating peaked at 90 percent in the Gallop Poll just after the 9/11 attacks, but by the time he left office in 2009, his approval rating was 34 percent. It has improved some since. A CNN/ORC International poll last May gave him a 43 percent favorable rating. However, he still trailed among other former presidents, with Clinton getting a 66 percent approval rating and Bush's father drawing a 59 percent approval rating.
Bush told the newspaper that he has stayed away from politics and finds it “refreshing and liberating” to consider the economy, veterans rights, and other issues without having to worry about politics. He did not even attend the Republican National Convention last year.
“Some people get confused about my desire not to have the lights shining on me, but eight years is plenty to be in the lights,” he said.
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