News / USA

George W. Bush Returns to Spotlight

George W. Bush's 'Decision Points'
George W. Bush's 'Decision Points'

After remaining largely out of the public eye since leaving office last year, former U.S. President George W. Bush has put himself back in the spotlight.  He is appearing in a flurry of television interviews this week to promote his new book, Decision Points, which will be released on Tuesday.  

Former President Bush is appearing this week on NBC television's Today show, on Oprah Winfrey's talk show and on Fox News.

Mr. Bush has also put out a video explaining why he wrote the book.

"I wanted to give readers a glimpse of the presidency from my perspective," said Mr. Bush. "That meant focusing on the most demanding part of the job - making decisions."  

The decisions stretch back before Mr. Bush's presidency, before he was governor of Texas, to the mid-1980s when he quit drinking with the help of religion.  Mr. Bush writes about his response to the 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States and what he calls the hardest decision any president can make - deploying troops in combat.

"I discuss the difficult decisions to keep our homeland safe, our successes and setbacks on the battlefield," said George W. Bush.

The former president says he was "blindsided" by photographs of detainee abuse by U.S. military personnel at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, and "shocked" that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

Mr. Bush says Dick Cheney offered to resign in 2004, but that he asked the Vice President to stay on.

Mr. Bush says the lowest point of his presidency was after Hurricane Katrina, when a hip hop musician said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Some people who know the former president say he is deeply troubled that many Americans across the political spectrum have a negative view of him.

Doug Wead was an advisor to the former president in the years leading up to his election in 2000.  He says Mr. Bush is sensitive to criticism.

"But more than anybody I've ever met in my life, he can let negatives roll off his back," said Wead. "But this had to hurt really deep."  

Historian Robert Dallek has written extensively about U.S. leaders since World War II.  He says he expects to find little that is new in Mr. Bush's book.  Dallek spoke by cell phone from an airport at the start of a tour to promote his latest book.

"And with this administration in particular [the George W. Bush administration], he [Mr. Bush] was under very heavy criticism," said Dallek. "And so I guess the fact that he brings the book out within two years of his presidency is not surprising.  He wants to get out in front on justifying what he did."  

Dallek says a better picture of the Bush administration will emerge when historians get access to the presidential archives.

There will be a presidential library at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.  Next week, Mr. Bush will attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the center in Dallas, Texas.

Jane Hampton Cook worked for Mr. Bush when he was governor and president.  She says he is trying to influence his legacy while staying out of the political fray.

"He made a commitment not to talk about the current president, to keep his mouth shut, to stay out of it," said Hampton Cook. "And that's probably why the timing of his decision to come and talk about his own presidency has come after an election and way, way, way before the next election."  

And the former president seems determined to stay on the political sidelines.  In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Mr. Bush was asked about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's chances for a White House bid in 2012.  Mr. Bush responded: "You're asking me to wade back into the swamp."  


Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid