George Bush, promoting book, laughs it up on Oprah

Tue Nov 9, 2010 1:53pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - George W. Bush, promoting his memoir that hit store shelves Tuesday, pronounced himself "through with politics" and defended his decisions as president in a jokey interview with television talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.

"A lot of people didn't think I could read, much less write," Bush cracked about his book, "Decision Points," during the taped interview in Winfrey's Chicago studios.

Asked by Winfrey whether he regretted the decision to invade Iraq based on unfounded intelligence that leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, Bush admitted feeling "terrible" and "sickened" about being wrong the weapons, but blamed Hussein.

"I'll tell you what was wrong. Saddam Hussein deceived everybody. He didn't want people to know he did not have them ... which is strange because I made it clear to him to let the (arms) inspectors in or we'll remove you from power and he didn't believe me, sadly," Bush said.

"My point is the world is better with him gone," Bush said to applause from the studio audience.

Bush recounted anecdotes from his eight-year presidency -- Winfrey described the book as "being inside his head as he makes decisions" -- and personal asides such as his first full day after departing the world's most powerful job.

"So, I'm lying on the couch and (wife Laura) walks in and I say 'free at last,' and she says 'you're free all right, you're free to do the dishes.' So I say, 'You're talking to the former president, baby,' and she said, 'consider (this) your new domestic policy agenda,'" Bush said to laughter.

On a serious note, Bush's eyes filled with tears when he talked about consoling widows of soldiers killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Continued...

<p>Former U.S. President George W. Bush speaks at the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul October 14, 2009. REUTERS/Maeil Business Newspaper/Handout</p>