President Bush says he was right to topple Saddam Hussein even though there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That was the president's biggest justification for invading Iraq. Mr. Bush says he is looking forward to a second term where he will continue the fight against terrorism and will try to be more careful about what he says.
President Bush says he is excited about the opportunities ahead, hopeful for peace, and appreciative of the chance to serve a second term as he prepares to take the Oath of Office again next week.
In an interview with ABC television, Mr. Bush said it was worth it to invade Iraq even though U.S. inspectors have concluded there were no chemical or biological weapons as the president warned.
"I felt like we would find weapons of mass destruction," he said. " Like many here in the United States and around the world, like the United Nations thought there would be weapons. We need to find out what went wrong. Saddam Hussein had the desire to reconstitute a weapons program, and the world is safer without him in power."
Mr. Bush says he is encouraged about the prospects for this month's elections in Iraq, despite continuing violence ahead of the vote. After the election, the president says he will work with the new government to accelerate the training of Iraqi security forces so American troops can come home.
"We have a strategy to help the newly formed government defeat terrorists," he said. "But I readily concede that the only way to defeat the terrorists is to have the Iraqis defeat them."
The president told ABC News reporter Barbara Walters that fighting terrorism will remain a priority in his second term, but he will be more careful about the language he chooses as part of that fight.
"I said some things in the first term that were probably a little blunt. 'Bring it on' was a little blunt.," the president admitted.
Mr. Bush used the phrase "bring it on" in July of 2003, telling U.S. troops that the military would not be frightened off by insurgent attacks in Iraq.
Some families of soldiers serving there felt the remark was insensitive. During the campaign, Democratic Party challenger John Kerry mocked the president, saying that if he wanted to make the election about national security, he should "bring it on".
In a second term, Mr. Bush says he will be more disciplined in how he says things.
"I have to be cautious about conveying thoughts in a way that doesn't send wrong impressions about our country," he said.
President Bush says U.S. public diplomacy is not very good compared to those who want to harm the country. In the U.S. response to the Indian Ocean tsunami, he says people in the region are getting the chance to see the compassion of American troops.