House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., took some parting shots at President George W. Bush Thursday, saying Bush “missed opportunities” during his two-term tenure in office and completely misled the American people in explaining why the U.S. should go to war in Iraq.
“I think that the Bush presidency did great harm to America with this war, with the enormous budget deficits, the challenges to the Constitution of the United States, the financial crisis that we are in,” Pelosi told Jim Lehrer on PBS’ “The News Hour With Jim Lehrer.”
“Maybe that's why [his attempt to privatize Social Security] was all the president could point to” as his proudest achievement in office, Pelosi says, referring to Bush’s remark Wednesday on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
“But in this downturn in the financial — the stock market, thank God we won that fight,” Pelosi says.
Along with the “war without end in Iraq,” Pelosi characterizes Bush’s presidential legacy as one of many missed opportunities.
Pelosi continued her characterization of the Bush presidency by saying, “You know, Jim, I found this almost impossible to believe, but I am speaker of the House because a number of years ago — was it three? — Harry Reid and I challenged President Bush on his privatization of Social Security. We took our message to the American people. We had a thousand town hall meetings across America to fight him so we could protect Social Security and fight the privatization.”
That marked the end for the Republicans in Congress, the Senate, and the White House, she said, adding that she believes it is the pivotal point that led to the election of Barack Obama.
“Not a good idea, first and foremost, for Social Security, for our seniors, and those who depend on Social Security,” she said.
Pelosi said it was curious to her that, of all the things Bush would point to as his administration’s proudest achievements, it was “bad policy” and something in which he did not succeed.
“I certainly respect the office of the president,” she said, but “the president's legacy is of his own making. And I wish him well as he goes forward.”
She said, “There's absolutely no question . . . the vote of the Electoral College . . . was one of the proudest political days of my life. I'm overjoyed at the election of Barack Obama. I look forward to working with him, no offense to President Bush.”
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