Bush Dodges Question About His Biggest ‘Error,’ Focuses On His ‘Disappointment’ With Congress

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"Bush Dodges Question About His Biggest ‘Error,’ Focuses On His ‘Disappointment’ With Congress"

Today, President Bush sat down for an approximately 30-minute interview with Fox Business Channel. Toward the end of the interview, host David Asman asked Bush, “What do you think, looking back, your greatest hit was? Where you really hit one out of the park. And what do you think your greatest error was?”

Bush replied, “Success, there’s been a lot.” But he refused to reveal his greatest error, instead saying that he was disappointed Congress blocked his Social Security plan:

BUSH: Well, I would rather go disappointments, rather than errors. The disappointment is not getting a Social Security package, Social Security reform, because that truly is the big deficit issue. I’m sorry it didn’t happen. I laid out a plan to make it happen — to enable it to happen. I was the first president to have addressed it as specifically as I did. I wish Congress wasn’t so risk-averse on the issue.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/11/foxbizbush.320.240.flv]

Self-reflection and admitting mistakes aren’t strengths of Bush administration officials. In April 2004, Bush famously froze when asked to name the biggest mistake of his presidency. “I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it,” he told the reporter. “Maybe I’m not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.”

Others in his administration haven’t fared any better in answering the same question. In Nov 2006, Alberto Gonzales said that he couldn’t think of a single mistake he’d made while serving Bush during the last six years. “I think that you and I would — I’d have to spend some time thinking about that,” he said. In March, when asked about the administration’s biggest mistake in Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice replied, “I don’t know. When we look back over time we will know the answer to that question.”

Bush may be unsure about where he will stand in history, but historians are already debating his legacy. As Rolling Stone recently noted, “Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.”

Transcript:

ASMAN: What do you think, looking back, your greatest hit was? Where you really hit one out of the park. And what do you think your greatest error was?

BUSH: Well, I would rather go disappointments, rather than errors. The disappointment is not getting a Social Security package, Social Security reform, because that truly is the big deficit issue. I’m sorry it didn’t happen. I laid out a plan to make it happen — to enable it to happen. I was the first president to have addressed it as specifically as I did. I wish Congress wasn’t so risk-averse on the issue.

Success, there’s been a lot. Tax cutting, No Child Left Behind, Medicare reform. You know, I would say the advance of liberty. The working hard to secure the homeland from attack. Putting in place tools necessary to protect us, and at the same time be strong in the advancement of liberty is the great alternative to an ideology of hate. And it’s going to be hard, by the way — it’s going to take awhile for history to analyze my administration. So I’m not all that worried about the short-term scorecard. I read three books by Washington last year, and my attitude is if they’re still writing about number one, the 43rd guy doesn’t need to worry about it.

ASMAN: That’s right.

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