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The world according to George W Bush -

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The world according to George W Bush

The World Today - Tuesday, 9 December , 2008 12:34:00

ELEANOR HALL: With just 42 days to go in his deeply unpopular presidency, George W Bush is hitting
the airwaves to work on creating a positive legacy.

President Bush is completing a round of television interviews that have been tagged the 'legacy
project'.

The next one goes to air this evening in the United States.

But as with much of his presidency, even his retrospective has been ridiculed by satirists, as Lisa
Millar reports

LISA MILLAR: He was renowned for holding fewer press conferences than his predecessors but with a
month and a half to go until he departs President Bush is making a lot of time for the media.

He's doing a round of exit interviews, emphasizing the priorities of the last eight years as well
as responding to the criticisms that have dogged him.

The first interview was with American ABC's Charlie Gibson. It was described as reflective,
apologetic, self-critical, even stunningly candid.

The President sat in front of a roaring fire at Camp David wearing a jacket but no tie. He ranged
across a variety of topics starting with the economy.

CHARLIE GIBSON: But was there an 'uh oh' moment and I could probably use stronger language than
that, when you thought this really could be bad?

GEORGE W BUSH: Well when you have Secretary of the Treasury and the chairman of the Fed say if we
don't act boldly, we could be in a depression greater than the Great Depression that's an 'uh oh'
moment. But the question is, is it worth it to save the system? To safeguard the system and I came
to the conclusion along with other smart people that it is.

LISA MILLAR: And he conceded the election result was a repudiation of Republicans and his
presidency.

GEORGE W BUSH: You know I'm sure some people voted for Barack Obama because of me. I think most
people voted for Barack Obama because they decided they wanted him to be in their living room for
the next four years explaining policy. They made a conscious choice to put him in as president.

LISA MILLAR: One of the biggest headline grabbers in that first interview was when he was asked
what he was unprepared for.

GEORGE W BUSH: Well I think I was unprepared for war.

LISA MILLAR: Another interview goes to air on Night Line in America tonight.

In a panel discussion on CNN conservative columnist Stephen Hayes said this was all part of an
ongoing legacy project.

STEPHEN HAYES: We're going to be seeing a lot more of this, I mean there's an ongoing Bush legacy
project that's been meeting in the Whitehouse, really. With senior advisors, Karl Rove, Karen
Hughes has been involved, current senior Bush administration advisors and they are looking at how
to sort of roll out the President's legacy.

LISA MILLAR: There's little in US politics that doesn't end up as fodder on the late night comedy
shows almost predictably Jon Stewart jumped on George Bush's interviews.

GEORGE W BUSH: I think people look at the Whitehouse and say, 'Oh man what a miserable experience
it is'. Some days we're not so happy, some days happy.

JON STEWART: For instance, Sunday/Monday happy days. Tuesday/Wednesday also happy days.
Thursday/Friday happy days.

CHARLIE GIBSON: Do you feel in anyway responsible for what's happening?

GEORGE W BUSH: A lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over a decade or so
before I arrived in president.

JON STEWART: Before I arrived in president? That doesn't make sense! You know something? I'm going
to miss you so much.

LISA MILLAR: If the public and the media and the pundits aren't giving President Bush enough
credit, it seems he plans on using these last few weeks to do it himself.

He was even interview by his own sister for a national oral history project on public radio.

He told her he came to Washington with a set of values and they haven't changed.

While his critics say he's suffering from a selective memory his supporters have told The World
Today they're convinced this president will eventually be seen as a successful leader. Their only
fear; that it could be decades before the history books reflect that.

ELEANOR HALL: Lisa Millar with our report.