Bush emerges: I’d have done federal bailouts again

By Joe Kovacs

Former President George W. Bush says if he had to do it over again, he still would have gone ahead with hundreds of billions of dollars in federal bailouts to help the U.S. financial industry stay afloat.

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 09: Former U.S. President George W. Bush waves while signing copies of his new memoir 'Decision Points' at Borders Books on November 9, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. Hundreds of people lined up, starting Monday night, for the chance to purchase signed copies of 'Decision Points' at the North Dallas bookstore. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Speaking on the Rush Limbaugh radio show today as he promoted his new book “Decision Points,” Bush said he was told at the time the nation was headed for a second depression and drastic action was needed.

“If you don’t do something big, we could see a second depression,” Bush said, referring to the warning from advisers.

“If you’re the president, you don’t have time to gamble, and I didn’t like using the taxpayers money to bail out the people that got us in trouble. I didn’t like it at all. but when you’re president you get faced with stark choices. I couldn’t have lived with myself had the country gone into a deep depression. People’s lives would have been affected and people thrown out of work. There’s a lot of people not at work today and all of us are concerned about that but the situation could have been a lot worse.”

Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause

Bush was asked to comment on a number of issues, including the tea party’s role in last week’s midterm elections.

“Democracy works,” Bush said, “and people became frustrated and showed up and participated in the process. To me that’s healthy when people participate in democracy. The worst thing that can happen in our system is that people get frustrated and don’t participate and don’t get involved.”

The former commander in chief acknowledged that many citizens grew “tired” of him by 2006 as the Iraq War continued to drag on, but he said, “I wasn’t gonna compromise principle nor was I gonna abandon the mission in Iraq. … Sometimes if you’re president and people are tired of you, you just have to soldier on. I was convinced we could succeed in Iraq and I knew failure in Iraq would be catastrophic and success could be transformative. So on this particular issue, I said I’m gonna do what I think was right.”

Bush said he did not appreciate it when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was publicly saying the war effort in Iraq was lost.

“As a leader in the Senate, I felt it was an irresponsible act, an irresponsible statement to say to a mother or a loved one your child or your loved one is heading into a losing situation,” Bush said. “To condemn soldiers heading into mission to a lost cause is just inexcusable as far as I was concerned.”

Bush says quite a few people tell him that they miss him since he’s no longer in the Oval Office.

“It makes a guy feel good, and I appreciate it,” he said.

As far as his life is concerned now, Bush said, “I like not being in the news, which is a little ironic.” Ironic because he was appearing on the most-listened-to radio program in America. “I’m very comfortable being submerged.”

Despite emerging for the book tour, he indicated he was looking forward to “going back to as normal a life as possible” afterward.

Taking a playful jab at President Obama, Bush said he’s not using a teleprompter as he goes on his book tour.

“You don’t need a teleprompter when you sit and sign books,” he said.

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