tv CNN Newsroom CNN April 25, 2013 8:00am-9:01am PDT
him. john king is there at the presidential center getting ready to watch. hear all these former presidents and the current president speak as well. you had a chance to sit down with the former president george w. bush for a very candid interview. how is he doing now? >> he is comfortable in his skin. his front ends have always said that. i am a content man, he said. he knows this dedication ceremony today will restir the issues we're talking about, his response after katrina, the war in iraq. he understands all that. he says he is not trying to overshape. he con seeds any presidential library is an effort to shape some of the conversation about his legacy. he thinks people will be surprised at how objective this
library is. there is a place called the decision points theater. you can see some of the advice he received. i talked to him about this. he said a lot of mistakes were made but he thinks removing saddam hussein was the right thing to do. -- look, he understands this will stir up the debate. he was very relaxed as always, pushing aside questions about legacy. he does not mind at all. he is not itching to get involved in the day-to-day conversations about politics right now. bill clinton will be jealous of the dedication weather. it was a monsoon in arkansas on that day. it will be interesting to hear
the two presidents of the bush administrations talking about that. >> we see all the dignitaries beginning to arrive. they raised $250 million to build this presidential library, center, research facility, we're going to be hering from all these presidents. five american presidents, including the current president, all of whom will be here on this day at the george w. bush presidential library. brianna, is there. you've had a chance to take a look at this facility. what was it like? >> it was fascinating. what i was struck by going into it at the beginning was that it was a brief moment in the bush president that was pre9/11. it was still at a time in september of 2001 where they were still experiencing firsts.
it was the first state dinner to honor the then president of mexico. it was six days before 9/11. you're confronted with the the twisted hulk of the south tower, a piece of the south tower from the world trade center. what employees told us, was believed to be the point of impact. from there obviously, the bush presidency was defined and his controversial decisions that were made after that regarding the war on terror and invading iraq. one of the more interesting and interactive parts of this whole display is that decision point theater where visitors get advice from advisers. they might get some input from the press and get to make decisions on 9/11, katrina, and the war in iraq.
i will tell you there are some lighter moments here. i was taken aback about how much square footage was dedicated to the president's pets. a lot of art facts from him and his sister ms. beez lee. a popular thing for the kids. >> stand by. john, you had a chance to sit down with the former president and you reviewed the good, the bad, and the ugly of his eight years in the white house. set the scene for us. >> reporter: wolf, obviously the former president has stayed out of the limelight. anything he says will be viewed as criticism. i flew here to talk to the president and laura bush directly from boston. that's where i began our
conversation. >> as the man who was commander in chief on 9/11, what went through your mind as the explosions happened at the boston marathon? >> i was reminded that evil exists and there are people in the world who are willing to kill innocent people to advance a cause. i don't know what this cause is, but we'll find out. during the same week in a town close to us in crawford, a plant exploded. both incidents remind me how fragile life can be for some and both incidents, you know, made us weep, knowing that somebody was hurting a lot. >> i want to ask you, based on what you know now, instead of the rums feld doctrine that you
adopted what your dad did and gone in with overwhelming force? >> in my book i point out there are some tactics that need to be revisited. on the other hand, the removal of saddam hussein was the right decision, more secure. the iraqky people have a chance to live in a free society. the museum it does give people the opportunity to hear the different points of view i got on these particular issues. the purpose is to try to show it is like to be the president and how you make the decisions. history will ultimately judge the decisions that were made in iraq. i'm not going to be around for the final verdict. >> what are you learned from the formers about how to be most
effective in a post presidency? >> you learn life doesn't end after you're president. the challenge is how to live life to the fullest. i've chosen to do so outside the limelight. i am confident when this chapter of our life is finished we have advanced as far as peace and freedom and helped improve the human condition. >> they're all up there on the stage. it was interesting just a few minutes ago when we saw mrs. obama walk in laura bush was walking in as well. hillary clinton with the former president bill clinton as well. they're going through the
preliminaries events. we're going to have extensive live coverage. we're going to hear from five former presidents. our special coverage of the dedication of the george w. bush center continues right after this. ost valuable real estate on earth. ♪ that's why we designed our newest subaru from the back seat forward. introducing the all-new, completely restyled subaru forester. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. [ chainsaw buzzing ] humans. sometimes, life trips us up. sometimes, we trip ourselves up. and although the mistakes may seem to just keep coming at you, so do the solutions.
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welcome back. we're watching the dedication ceremonies for the george w. bush presidential center. this is a site. 226,000 square foot building. this is a major event that every u.s. president has had in recent times. con da lee za rice now speaking. >> mr. president and mrs. obama, president -- i have the honor of introducing a number of global leaders, national leaders and texas state leaders who have come to join us on this moe mentous occasion.
as your name is called, may i ask you to stand and may i ask the audience to hold their applause so we can acknowledge our global leaders together. president the republic of georgia, form president of spain, former president of ghana, the former president of south korea and wife, former president of el salvador, former prime minister of italy, former prime minister tony blare and wife of the united kingdom, former prime minister and wife of australia, former prime
ambassadors of bat swa na, please join me in acknowledging and welcoming our global leaders. [ applause ] >> i would now like the acknowledge the governor of texas, rick perry. the governor of arizona jan brewer, the governor of new jersey kris christy and wife, the former governor of alabama, bob ryely, and the former governor of michigan john angler and his wife michelle.
i want to greet the following members of congress, senator john cornyn of texas, senator -- former senator bill frisk, former senator kay bailee hutchinson, speaker of the house john boehner and his wife debbie, congressman -- congresswoman kay granger, congressman michael burr jes. >> as the former secretary of state continues to introduce the vips that have come from all over the country and the world. five american presidents, current presidents, four former
presidents on hand at the same place. this doesn't happen very often. >> it is quite unique. nixon's funeral is one of the events where they all got together. i think it is interesting to here con da lee za rice taking charge in the outset. many of the critics of bush talk about rumsfeld and cheney. he has stayed loyal to con da lee za rice. what is missing is that mission accomplished ban ner. it took about 20 years for the reagan library and the clinton -- it's really a festival here today. >> here is a video of this presidential center.
of george w. bush foundation board of directors donald l evans, accompanied by david fair yo. >> that is formal presentation of the library to the american people, don evans served a the secretary of commerce during the bush administration. very close to the former president of the united states making this formal prosecution of t -- presentation to the library. so this is part of the ceremony and we'll continue moe mentarial with mrs. bush delivering her remarks followed by jimmy
carter, george h bush, president clinton then obama and then george w. bush. >> welcome everyone. welcome to all of our friends and family who have joined us today. be seated. welcome to all of our friends and family who have joined us today from around the country and around the world. thank you all for coming and a special welcome to president obama and michelle to president clinton and secretary clinton, to president carter and rose lynn and finally we're thrilled to have our father and mother president george h. bush and barbara bush. [ applause ] i know for the presidential families that nothing says an
exciting get together more than an invitation to come see millions of documents from someone else's time in office, so thank you all very much for coming. a warm welcome to the former heads of state, the diplomatic core, the members of the united states congress and our armed forces. we're especially happy to see the familiar faces of so many of the bush cheney administration. in the united states the presidency is not just about one. the presidency is about all of the people that joined with that president with years of service to our remarkable nation. they are the people who put in countless late nights and early mornings who spend less time with their family and friends and more time hard at work
caring for our country. the presidency is about the men and women of our military who have served every president and make the ultimate sacrifice to protect us and keep us safe. the stones in the walls behind us represent your years of service. for that george and i thank you from the bottom of our hearts. >> a presidential library is not just about one president. each library is about our nation and the world during that time. the george w. bush presidential center reflects georges role at the first president of the 21st century, like our new era the building and this grounds are designed to be forward looking
and green and sustainable. the archives house here are completely digital and the entire bush center is designed to present the past and engage the future. we welcome scholars and students and the community at large to gather here for generation to come. this center is designed to be human in scale because like the white house presidential libraries belong to all americans. the people across our nation were the ones who inspired us every day. here we remember the heartbreak and the heroism of september 11th, and the bravery of those who answered the call to defend our country. we remember the volunteers of all ages and all walks of life who came to the gulf coast following hurricane katrina, and we remember all the people who
stepped forward to help others, whether to teach a child to read or to feed a hungry family. throughout this center, i am reminded of my husband. i remember the image of george standing amid the rubble of the world trade center, his arm around the shoulders of a retired firefighter who grabbed his gear. i remember george standing alone at yang keys stadium throughs out the first pitch in new york during that world series. i remember his quiet visits with the families of fallen, sharing their stories, and their tears. and i remember how steadfast and sted di he was for eight years.
i see george lifting a brush to paint and refurbish a health clinic in zam bee ya. i see george last may on a bike ride with wounded w eed we eed . my george is a man when someone needs a hand offers them his arms. this is a spirit that i hope is forever captured in this beautiful building, this that will always be a place that welcomes each visitor with open arms. thank you all and welcome. [ applause ]
this little boy is looking up at his father. when i grow up, i want to be a former president. four of us have already made that goal, but it is a wonderful thing to be with the other presidents. i'll be very brief and i'll be limiting my comments to the things i know personally have been important for me and george w. bush in 2000 there was a disputed election for several weeks and finally when president bush became president they had the inauguration in washington on schedule. i think my wife and i were the only volunteer democrats on the platform. george and laura thanks us for coming. if there's anything i could ever
do for you, let me know, which is a mistake i made. >> the worst problem now is the war going on between north and south sudan, and millions of people have been killed and i would like for you to help us have a peace graemt there. in a weak moment, he said i'll do it. he said well, i haven't even chosen them yet, but give us three weeks. three weeks later i came up. president bush kept his promise. he appointed john dan forth and a great general from kenya. in january of 2005, there was a peace treaty between north and south sudan that ended a war that had been going on for 20
years. george w. bush is responsible for that. [ applause ] >> that was the first of his great contributions to the countries in africa. as has already been mentioned, he increased his assistance to africa until the time he went into office to more than $90 billion. that's an increase of 640%. that is development assistance. he established a program. there was 6,000 people being treated for hiv. 2 million when he left office. at this new institute he has a program called pichk ribbon and red ribbon. that is something that is dear to my heart and i know means a lot to millions of people in
africa. i am filled with admiration for you and deep gratitude for you. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, president george h.w bush. [ applause ] >> thank you all very much. what a beautiful day in dallas. a great pleasure to be here. to honor our son, our oldest son. this is very special for barbara and me and thank you all for
[ applause ] >> thank you very much presidents and mrs. bush. all the representatives here of [ inaudible ] other previous presidents -- [ inaudible ] i told president obama that this was the latest grandest example of the eternal struggle of former presidents to rewrite history. [ laughter ] >> and i want to take my hat off to president bush. this is a beautiful library. the exhibits are great. the work of the bush institute is inspiring.
and i congratulate him on -- i think this is the second building in the entire federal system [ inaudible ] and i want to say mr. president once again you got the better of me twice in the last few weeks. [ laughter ] >> my library was open for a few years before we could afford to achieve it and you've beaten me to be a grandfather and i c congratulate you more for it [ applause ] >> starting with my work with president george h.w. bush on the sue that my and the aftermatt of katrina, people
joked that i had become the black sheep son of the bush family. my mother told me not to talk to long today and barbara, i will not let you down. [ applause ] there is one other connection i have that i think is largely unknown, which is that a couple of times a year in his second term george bush would call me just to talk politics and a chill went up and down my spine when laura said all their records were digitized. dear god, i hope there's no record of those conversations in this vast and beautiful building. [ laughter ] >> i want to say as president carter did, i was impressed that president bush invites us to make different decisions if we
choose on the decisions he was facing. it's one of the most interesting things about this library. i want to talk about a couple of other things that are beyond controversy. first i want to thank president bush for passing [ inaudible ] no president of my party could have passed that from congress and i worked all over africa with our health access initiative building health systems. i have personally seen the faces of some of the millions of people who are alive today because of it. i want to thank president obama for continuing it and increasing it. i want to thank you and laura for continuing your work in global health. i want to thank you for your
efforts when president immigration system and i hope the congress will follow those efforts in the example you set and i thank you for that. and i want to thank you for the work we did together in the aftermath of haiti. we have closed our fund. i believe you have worked yourself out of a job, but we helped a lot of people start businesses which are now thriving. i thank you for that mr. president. [ applause ] i probably shouldn't say that, but i'm going to anyway. your mother showed me some of your landscapes and animal paintings and i thought they were great. really great.
i seriously considering calling you and asking you today portrait of me until i saw the results of your sister's hacked e-mails. at my age, i think i should keep my suit. [ laughter ] i like president bush. we do a lot of speeches together and i like it when we have this agreement. he is disarmingly direct. we were having an argument over health care in one of these speeches and i went on about the german health care system and he said i don't know a thing about the german health care system. he probably won the argument. we are here to celebrate a country we all love [ inaudible ] debated difference
is an important part of every society. he has honored that deepest american tradition for all of these things as an american citizen i am very grateful. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states. [ applause ] >> thank you so much. thank you. thank you. please be seated. mr. president, mrs. bush, president clinton and now former secretary clinton, president
george h.w. bush and mrs. bush, to president and mrs. carter, current and former world leaders, michelle and i are honored to be with you to mark this historic occasion. this is a texas sized party. that's worthy of what [ inaudible ] we're here to do today. when all the former living presidents are all together, it is a special day for our democracy. we've within called the world's most exclusive club, but the truth is our club is more like a support group. last time we all got together was just before i took office and i needed that because as each of these leaders will tell
you, no matter how much you may think you're ready to assume the office of the presidency, it is impossible to truly understand the nature of the job until it is yours, until you're sitting at that desk. that's why every president gains a greater appreciation for all those who served before them, leaders from both parties who have taken on the challenges and felt the enormous weight of a nation on their shoulders. for me that appreciation extends to president bush. the first thing i found in that desk when i took office wz was a let from george. he knew that i would come to learn what he had learned that being president above all is humbling job. there are moments where you make
mistakes. there are times where you wish you could turn back the clock. what i know is is true about president bush and i hope my successor will say about me is that we love this country and we do our best. now in the past president bush has said it is impossible to pass judgment on his presidency while he is still alive. even know there are certain things we know for certain. we know about the son who was raised by two strong loving parents in mid land, famously inheriting my daddy's eyes and my mother's mouth. the young boy who once came home after a trip to the museum and presented his mother a dinosaur that -- he has stolen we know
about the young man ditching the dinner party and instead talking with the brilliant and charming laura welsh late into the night we know about the father who raised two beautiful daughters even after they tried to discourage him from running for president. dad, you're not as cool as you think you are. i can relate. now we see president bush the grandfather just beginning to spoil his brand new granddaughter. so we know president bush the man and what president clinton said is absolutely true. to know the man is to like the man because he is comfortable in his own skin. he knows who he is. he doesn't put on any pretenses.
he takes his job seriously but not himself too seriously. he is a good man. as we walk through this library, we are reminds of the incredible strength and resolve that came from that bull horn promising to deliver justice to those who sought to destroy our way of life. we remember the compassion that he showed by leading the fight against hiv and malaria. helping to save millions of lives and reminding the poorest people on the globe that we care and we help. we remember his commitment to reaching across the aisle. like to teddy kennedy because he believed we had to reform our
schools in ways that help every child learn, not just some and that we have to repair a broken immigration system and it is only possible when we do it together. now seven years ago president bush restarted an important conversation by speaking with the american people about our history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, even though immigration reform as taken longer than we expected, i am hopeful this year with the help of speaker boehner and members of congress that we bring it home for our families, our economy, our security and for is this incredible country that we love and if we do that it will be thanks to the hard work of president george w. bush. [ applause ] >> finally, a president bears no
greater decision than serving as commander in chief for the greatest military the world as ever know. america must and will keep it's word to the men and women who have given us so much. even though as we americans may at many times disagree on matters of foreign policy, we share a profound respect and rev rans for the men and women of our military and we are united in our determination to comfort the families of the fallen and to care for those who wear the uniform of the united states. [ applause ] >> on the flight back from russia, after negotiating with cruise chef, president kennedy secretary found a small slip of paper on which the president written something.
i know there is a god. and i see a storm coming. if he has a place for me, i believe i am ready. no one can be completely ready for this office. but america needs leaders who are willing to face the storm head on even as they pray for god's strength and wisdom, they can do what they believe is right. that's what the leaders with whom i share this stage have all done. that's what president george w. bush chose to do. that's why i am honored to be part of today's celebration. mr. president, for your service, for your courage, for your love of country, thank you very much. for all the citizens of the united states god bless you and god bless these united states.
♪ glory, glory, halleluijah ♪ glory, glory, halleluijah [ applause ] i believe one develops a set of principles through faith, how you were raised and where you were raised. i had a set of principles that i developed throughout my life, and by the time i became president i was willing to defend those principles. i wanted to make sure that the economy was strong.
we needed to bolster our military in order to maintain the peace. it was important to promote a culture in which each individual is responsible for his or her decisions. we could improve our public school system so people had a chance at the american dream, that free enterprise system needed to be defended and that we could achieve a more peaceful world through a strong america. i never wanted to be a wartime president, but war came to our shores. on 9/11 i had a lot of emotions. mostly i was determined, i was determined to protect america. any commander in chief ought to develop a special bond with the military. and i certainly did so because the toughest decision a president makes is to send men and women in harm's way. >> i thought of a multitude of issues that i was interested in. and of course one of them is literacy. after september 11th, many other
options were issues that confronted me and one was women's rights. when i made the presidential radio address talking about the brutal treatment of women and children by the taliban, i started getting responses from women everywhere across our country. >> more guiding principles. my presidency to whom much is given much is required and america is such a blessed nation that i believe we have an obligation to help human suffering where we possibly can. life is service till the end. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, president george w. bush. [ cheers and applause ]
>> thank you all. oh happy days. i want to thank you all for coming. laura and i are thrilled to have so many friends, i mean a lot of friends, here to celebrate this special day. there was a time in my life when i wasn't likely to be found at a library much less found one. beautiful building has my name above the door, but it belongs to you. it honors the cause we serve and the country we share. for eight years you gave me the honor of serving as your president. and today i'm proud to dedicate this center to the american people. [ applause ] i am very grateful to president obama and michelle for making
this trip. [ applause ] unlike the other presidents here, he's actually got a job. president, thank you for your kind words and for leading the nation we all love. i appreciate my fellow members of the former president's club, 42, 41 and 39. i want to thank you all for your kind words and the example you have set. alexander hamilton once worried about ex-presidents wandering among the people like discontented ghosts. actually, i think we seem pretty happy. one reason that we have wonderful first ladies at our side. hillary and rosalin thank you for your service and generosity.
mother and laura, you know how i feel. introduce world leaders with whom i had the privilege to serve your good friends and i'm honored to have you here in the promise land. i want to welcome the members of congress. mr. speaker, appreciate you coming. and the diplomatic corp, i know you all will be happy to hear that this speech is a lot shorter than the state of the union. i thank the governors, governor of our own home state and others, mayors, state and local officials who joined us. i welcome members of my cabinet, the white house staff and administration especially vice president dick cheney. [ applause ] from the day i asked dick to run with me he served with loyalty, principle and strength. proud to