The Iraq war ended where it began — at the president’s desk in the White House Oval Office.
Tales from the Trail
WASHINGTON – Republican critics of the Democratic-backed landmark stimulus package are pointing out that its 800-billion-dollar-plus price tag would — “in one fell swoop,” as Republican Representative Todd Akin put it — consume more resources than have been laid out for two wars, so far.
The video of an agile U.S. President George W. Bush ducking two shoes thrown at him during a news conference in Baghdad has been fodder for jokes on late-night television and a big hit on the Internet.
If you thought that shoe-throwing episode in Baghdad was odd, you’re not alone — President George W. Bush thought so too.
“It has got to be one of the most weird moments of my presidency,” he told CNN in an interview Tuesday. “Here I am getting ready to answer questions from a free press in a democratic Iraq and a guy stands up and throws a shoe.”
What was going through his mind? Not much it seems.
“I didn’t have much time to reflect on anything. I was ducking and dodging,” Bush said.
Throwing shoes at someone is considered a supreme insult in Iraq, a shoe being considered dirty. People whacked Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad with shoes after it was toppled during the U.S. invasion.
Bush says he doesn’t harbor any anger toward the Iraqi TV journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi for attacking him. Al-Zaidi has been cheered by some in the Arab world for his action, but he faces potential criminal charges in Baghdad.
“I’m not even sure what his status is,” Bush said. “They shouldn’t overreact.”
Bush told CNN the most important decision he made during his presidency was “sending troops into harm’s way,” and not once but twice — in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The reason it’s the most important is because it’s the most consequential,” he said
“It is a decision that no president should ever take lightly and every president should take a lot of time thinking about it because lives will be lost,” Bush added.
Asked if he ever revisited the decision, Bush said he sometimes thought about it but usually “with a concern about whether or not we would succeed.”
“In Iraq, I was deeply concerned about whether or not we would succeed,” he said, adding that was especially true in 2006. “A lot of people in Washington were saying, let’s get out now. And I obviously chose not to do that. But, that was a very difficult period.”
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President George W. Bush, nearing the end of his final term in office, says he most wants to be remembered as someone who came to Washington and didn’t lose his values.
Someone who didn’t sell his soul to the political process.
Somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace.
So he told his sister, Dorothy Bush Koch, in an interview for StoryCorps, the national oral history initiative. An excerpt of the interview aired on National Public Radio on Thanksgiving Day and the White House released excerpts on Friday. The entire interview will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush, who has stayed out of the public eye in the final days before the election to choose his successor, knows his popularity has suffered, but the White House insists he will have no problem looking in the mirror when he returns to Texas.
BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania – Republican John McCain’s military history is famous, but the service of his sons is less well known. And until recently, that’s exactly how the presidential candidate and his wife, Cindy, wanted it.
But on Wednesday, Mrs. McCain made a rare reference to her sons when criticizing the Illinois senator for his 2007 vote against a war funding bill. McCain has two sons in the military, and one has served in Iraq. “The day that Sen. Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body,” McCain told a crowded rally in Pennsylvania, an electoral battleground state.
“I would suggest that Sen. Obama change shoes with me for just one day and see what it means … to have a loved one serving in the armed forces and more importantly, serving in harm’s way,” she said. “I suggest he take a day and go watch our fine young men…and women deploy, get on those buses and leave with a smile.”
McCain also invoked vice presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s son, who recently deployed to Iraq.
“We have a lot in common, the McCain family and the Palin family,” she said. “We represent between us the Army, the Navy and the United States Marine Corps.”
Obama voted against the funding bill in 2007 but supported a version that included a timetable for withdrawal for U.S. troops from Iraq.
The son of Obama’s vice presidential running mate, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, has just been sent to Iraq with the Army National Guard, and will be there for about a year. Obama has two young daughters.
LYNCHBURG, Virginia – Democrat Barack Obama scolded Russia again on Wednesday for invading another country’s sovereign territory while adding a new twist: the United States, he said, should set a better example on that front, too.