President Bush held his final news conference Monday. Bush fervently defended his record, saying he made the nation safer following the 9/11 attacks, rejected the idea that the nation’s moral standing has been damaged over the past eight years and defended the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina. We speak with veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas. She’s the most senior member of the White House press corps and has covered every president since Kennedy. [includes rush transcript–partial]
Helen Thomas, served as White House correspondent for United Press International for almost sixty years and has covered every president since Kennedy. She is the most senior member of the White House press corps and is commonly referred to as “The First Lady of the Press.” Helen is currently a syndicated columnist for Hearst Newspapers. Her latest column is called “History Cannot Save Him.”
AMY GOODMAN: With a week to go in his two-term presidency, President Bush gave his final White House news conference Monday. Bush fervently defended his record, saying he made the nation safer following the 9/11 attacks. Asked whether he could now admit to making any mistakes, Bush cited the “Mission Accomplished” banner soon after the invasion of Iraq. He also listed what he called his “disappointments.”
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: There have been disappointments. Abu Ghraib obviously was a huge disappointment during the presidency. You know, not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment. I don’t know if you want to call those mistakes or not, but they were—things didn’t go according to plan. Let’s put it that way. And anyway, I think historians will look back, and they’ll be able to have a better look at mistakes after some time has passed. I—along Jake’s question, there is no such thing as short-term history. I don’t think you can possibly get the full breadth of an administration ’til time has passed.
AMY GOODMAN: The President also responded to a question about the responsibility of the office of the President of the United States and how he thought President-elect Barack Obama would handle it.