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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs