Bush\'s final press conference
The Hiller Instinct: Bush's final press conference
"Sometimes you misunderestimated me..."
Despite historically low approval ratings, no one can accuse George Bush of underestimating himself:
"Thank you for giving me the chance to defend a record that I'm going to continue to defend, because I think it's a good, strong record."
The war in Iraq will be ground zero of Bush's legacy, and he admits mistakes were made fighting it:
"Clearly putting a 'mission accomplished' on an aircraft carrier was a mistake. It sent the wrong message"
The President also admitted the tanking economy made him tank on a core belief:
"I readily concede I chucked aside some of my free-market principles when I was told by chief economic advisers that the situation we were facing could be worse than the Great Depression"
But he offered no apology for how he handled hurricane Katrina:
"Don't tell me the Federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed! "
Looking ahead, Bush has this prediction for the President-elect:
"He'll get in the Oval Office and there'll be a lot of people that are real critical and harsh. And he'll be real disappointed at times by their tone and rhetoric."
And this prediction for himself:
"I just can't envision myself, sitting with a big straw hat and Hawaiian shirt, sitting on some beach." (laughs)
A week from tomorrow, George Bush will leave the White House and his legacy will be in the hands of historians. They will not all be as kind to him as he is to himself. Elected with a promise to "unite, not divide"...in office, he kept us divided--in large part by attempting to create a new democracy in Iraq. George Bush may not be the worst president we've ever had, but he's certainly not one of the best.
I'm Andy Hiller and that's my instinct.
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