President Bush held his final White House press conference on Tuesday where he candidly addressed issues from pressing bailout decisions in his final days as president necessary to mistakes he made during his presidency.
Bush said he will ask Congress to release the remaining $350 billion in bailout money for the financial services industry after President-elect Barack Obama made a request of Bush to do so.
In the press conference just prior to the request, Bush said he would ask Congress to release the remaining funds of a $700 billion fund if Obama so desired, according to the Associated Press.
The President also defended his good strong record during his tenure.
There are plenty of critics in this business, Bush said. During his tenure Bush acknowledged he faced criticism and said Obama would also face it.
He is going to have to do what he thinks is right, if you don't I don't see how you can live with yourself.
Bush admitted he made many mistakes during his two terms in office, including failing to find weapons of mass destruction in iraq and how his administration dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Clearly putting a 'Mission Accomplished' banner on an aircraft carrier was a mistake, Bush said, in reference to a 2003 speech on an aircraft carrier which was returning to the U.S. after finishing its mission in Iraq. It sent the wrong message; we were trying to say something differently but nevertheless it conveyed a different message.
However he defended his decision to fly over a decimated New Orleans in the wake of the attack.
I've thought long and hard about Katrina, you know, could I have done something differently, like, land Air Force One, either in New Orleans or Baton Rouge. The problem with that is that law enforcement would have been pulled away from the mission and then your questions would have been, 'How could you possibly have flown Air Force One into Baton Rouge and police officers that were needed to expedite traffic out of New Orleans were taken off the task to look after you?'
He also expressed disappointment with the prisoner abuse scandal at the Abu Gharaib prison in Iraq and not finding nuclear weapons in Iraq.
I don't know if you want to call those mistakes or not, but things didn't go as planned, let's put it that way. Anyway, I think historians will look back and they'll be able to have a better look at mistakes after some time has passed. ... There is no such thing as short-term history. I don't think you can possibly get the full breadth of an administration until time has passed.
North Korea, Iran Remain Trouble Spots
Bush also remarked on the dangers posed by Iran and North Korea, which he once said that along with Iraq, were part of an Axis of Evil. He also called on North Korea to move forward with its commitments to nuclear disarmament.
In order to advance our relations with Korea, the North Korean government must honor the commitments it made to allow for strong verification measures to be in place to ensure that they do not develop a highly enriched uranium program, Bush said.
During the press conference, Bush said that when he returned home to Texas he would look back at his time and look at himself in the mirror without regret.
When I get out of here, I am getting off the stage, he said. I have had my time in the Klieg lights.