right here, because we are right here, because we are definitely looking out for you. captioned by closed captioning services, inc. >> sean: welcome to this special edition of hannity. we are at president george w. bush's ranch in crawford texas. we talked about his new book, "decision points." known as the western white house, the crawford ranch was the scene of many historic moments of the bush presidency. the former president hopped behind the wheel of his pick-up truck to give me a tour of his 1600 acre property and reflect on his years as commander in chief.
is this your favorite place? >> yeah, we love coming here. it was great during the presidency to come here to get outdoors. exercise and to work the countryside. cutting down cedars and building bike trails. >> sean: when i last saw you were totally completely at peace, your job was done and you seem even more at peace now. >> i am at peace. i was honored to serve the country. i gave it my all. i have written a book that chronicles the decisions i made. and i feel -- i'm not desperate to try to shape a legacy, because i fully understand that there needs to be time for history to be able to analyze, for historians to
analyze the decisions i made. and i have -- i'm content. i'm a content guy. great marriage, a lot of friends. my health is good. >> sean: do a little stumping with bill clinton? how is that going? >> good, he's a fun guy. we're the same age. i like him. and we're working the haiti project together. and you know bill's got a good soul. he's not a mean spirited guy. it's fun to be with him and share insights into the -- into the presidency. we don't debate. i've debated enough. >> sean: it is a small, elite club. >> yes it is. you see the alter i built? that's where jenna got married. that will be there permanently, of course. this is my fishing lake.
>> sean: you don't seem like you went through any transition? >> i really didn't. i was fortunate to be an eight year president. eight years is a long time. >> sean: a lot of pressure. >> yeah, a lot of pressure, opportunities, issues, some of which i could anticipate, some of which i didn't anticipate. >> sean: 9/11 the biggest. >> 9/11, katrina. the financial meltdown was a difficult period. and you know, the key thing in life for me was to know that i didn't compromise principle. and that i poured my heart and soul into the job. when i got home, here to crawford, this is where we spent our first day of the post-presidency, i was -- i had a sense of satisfaction. there were some things i wish we could have done. i wish we would have captured
osama bin laden for example. i knew that i had given it my all. >> sean: you said it was a regret you didn't get bin laden. you went after him, hard. >> very hard. on the other hand, we did serious damage to al-qaeda. >> sean: he doesn't come out in public any more. >> i used to get in trouble for saying things that popped off the top of my head. like you notice he's not leading any parades lately. sean or wanted dead or alive. >> wanted dead or alive. >> sean: you said you realized over time that you had multiple audiences in the american people you had the world stage -- sean bring 'em on for example. >> there are some who feel like the conditions are such they can attack us there. my answer is bring 'em on. >> in that case, i was sending
encouraging words to our troops. i'm the commander in chief of a bunch of incredibly brave people. somebody says the enemy is after them. nobody can defeat our troops. you're the best. my message bring 'em on was to the enemy too. you will not shake the will inform commander in chief. >> sean: amazing how you described how semantics play such a big role. >> it does. >> sean: you said tom daschle didn't like the fact you were using the term war. >> he cautioned me about using bar. >> sean: what did he call it? >> that's my point in the war. >> overseas contingency operation and man caused disaster. which is what the current administration has referred to it as. >> words matter. the think about the modern president is of course, every word is analyzed. sometimes i didn't get my words right.
i tell these audiences i speak to, you didn't elect me because i was shakespeare and i didn't pretend to be. the truth of the matter is, you speak a lot as president. of course you're gonna say things that when you look back you wish you would have put it differently. and bring 'em on was -- we didn't realize when i said it, my intentions were to bolster our troops and send a message to the enemy. in retrospect i probably could have put the -- >> sean: unscripted moment in new york after 9/11. >> i can hear you, the rest of the world hears you and the people -- [ cheering ] >> and the people who knocked these buildings, will hear all of us soon! [ cheering ] u.s.a.!
>> the truth of the matter is, the unscripted moments are best. whether they come out right or not. i've always believed that the simpler the message, the clearer and simpler the message the more likely our citizens are going to understand what a president is saying. i can remember people coming in to brief me, we shouldn't listen to gibberish and long ramling answers to questions -- i remember thinking the person doesn't know what they are talking about. they can't get to the point. of course you need rationale and an explanation of why the bottom line is what it is and that's fine. kind of circuitous logic and ramling along, created certain
sense of doubt in my mind. i tried speak as plainly as i could so people knew where i was coming from. more importantly, spoke -- when i spoke about intentions, my intentions were to follow through. i just wasn't saying something, trying to get somebody to say like him. i was trying to say something to say this is what we are gonna do and then i'd go do it. to me, one of the problems in politics, sometimes politicians say something they don't mean it. they just say it to make you feel good about 'em. when you don't do what you said, it creates a certain cynicism in the system. i don't that i is good. >> sean: i don't think there was ever a problem where the american people didn't know where you stood. >> no. i fully under -- i fully
understood you shouldn't be president and try to be liked. >> sean: don't you need to be liked? >> i think you need to be respected. >> sean: up next the isolated area where world leaders conducted ranch dip >> this would be a good spot for diplomacy. >> sean: much more coming up, stick around. everyone has someone to go heart healthy for. who's your someone? campbell's healthy request can help. low cholesterol, zero grams trans fat,
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equipment. i was able to have national security meetings, domestic policy meetings. >> sean: did you build this? >> yep. this was impassable, you couldn't get in here. we designed a way to get a path here. >> sean: this is nice, look at that. >> wait until you see up here. isn't this beautiful? >> sean: this is spectacular, unbelievable. >> you can see why this would be a good spot to conduct diplomacy. we would come up here and visit. >> sean: who was here in this spot? >> berlusconi, putin, i think koizumi came here, tony blair. i can't remember everybody. it gave them a good feel for
the topography. kinding -- conducting diplomacy on the ranch was easier because people tend to relax. in an informal environment you are likely to get a better feel for how they this once you get a feel for how they think, their interests and concerns it makes it easier to conduct diplomacy. >> sean: it beats the -- i want to go back to this question, you want change the tone of washington. next administration wants to change the tone of washington. >> everybody wants to change the tone of washington. >> sean: washington's tone doesn't get changed. is it reality of the way it is gonna be? >> i think to a certain extent that's the way it is going to be. lincoln wished the tone was different when people started calling him baboon. george washington was harshly criticized. ronald reagan, my dad, everybody goes through, if you you are the president, there's
a lot of criticism. in my case, i didn't my change the tone by not participating in the name-calling or, you know -- >> sean: you don't participate in it now. >> no. >> sean: you have been quiet. >> i'm not that quiet. no mic, no public arena. a couple of reasons why. i think it is best for the country for a former president to be quiet. that's my choice. other presidents feel differently. >> sean: you aware that this current president does take a lot of shots at you. your name gets mentioned a lot. >> i've been in politics a long time and i understand that tactic. it doesn't bother me, it really doesn't. win of the biggest sacrifices for running for president, if you are fortunate to win is the loss of anonymity. i know i will forever be known, when i walk down the street,
people say there's george w. bush. on the other hand, staying out of the limelight restores a certain sense of anonymity. i don't miss being in the limelight. i'm in the limelight now because i'm talking to you my buddy, because i'm selling my book. but i'm very much at peace. i was honored to serve. and i really enjoyed being president. and i'm enjoying not being president. >> sean: i can't imagine what it would be like to be a president or live in a post-presidency. if somebody kept mentioning my name and blaming me for all his problems. >> it really doesn't bother me. it irritates some of my friends. >> sean: laura? >> you have to ask her. we don't spend a lot of time agonizing about the current -- what's said. >> sean: you seem to be very much at peace with the idea that history will write about
the bush presidency and that chapter hasn't been written that book hasn't been written. >> and it can't be written for a while. historians who live the moment have got their prejudices. there needs to be time to fully analyze the consequences of the decision to not only liberate iraq, but to then help the iraqis develop their own democracy. >> sean: and what happened 10 years later, 20 years later. >> and the effect of a free iraq if the democracy succeeds, like i think it will, on other countries. >> sean: you think history will judge you fairly? >> yeah. some historians will say i like what george bush did, some will say i don't like what george bush did. when he did them. it is going to be hard to analyze things objectively. >> sean: this book is your take on the presidency? your take on your views?
the reasons you made your decisions? >> it is. i want to give readers a chance to see from my perspective what it was like. and i would like to give historians a frame of reference. >> sean: still to come the october surprise that almost cost him the presidency. >> i made a mistake. i drank too much. i was driving and i quit drinking. >> sean: as this special edition of handy continues. -- hannity continues. fortinet lists on nasdaq, the world's most innovative can-do exchange.
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nightmare of september 11th, america went on 7 1/2 years without another successful terrorist attack on american soil. you viewed that as your most meaningful accomplishment. >> yes. i think the biggest job for a president is to protect the american people. i remember sitting in the classroom thinking about the attack. and looking at the little child who was reading to me and realizing that my job was to protect that person. and that person's family and neighbors. that's what the american president is called to do. i happened to be called at a time when fanatics came and killed thousands on our soil. >> sean: you go into detail. you thought you were going to be a domestic president, dealing with domestic issues. >> i did. >> sean: you were a wartime president. >> i was sadly. i wouldn't wish that on any
president. the toughest decision a president makes is to send somebody's boy into come -- into combat or somebody's girl into combat. the consequences can be devastating. it is drug that the presidency often turns out to be something you didn't expect. i bet that is probably the case for all presidents. it is the unexpected that really helps define whether or not you are capable of leading the country. in my case, the unexpected of course was 9/11 and katrina, to a certain extent and the financial meltdown. >> sean: i interviewed you in one of the final days before you left office in the oval office. i walked away with the distinct impression you were at peace with everything that had gone on. you write in the book, you said i felt satisfied. i had been willing to make the hard decisions.
i always did what you believed was right. you spend a lot of time thinking about the presidency? do you think about the decisions you made or is that in the past? >> on some of of them i think about them because i'm still engaged with the military. laura and i welcomed troops coming back from afghanistan. they wouldn't have been there had i not decided to take out the taliban. laura had them to our house in dallas. those are moms who lost a son in combat or daughter in combat. i'm still involved with veterans and military people. so, i think about the decision to send them into combat a lot. and i thought a lot about the presidency when i wrote this book. right here at the ranch. >> sean: you didn't spend a lot of time -- >> first of all i'm a type a personality and i need
something to do. and i started writing. i started writing anecdotes. i hope the reader says this is interesting, because it's a series of stories that describe how i -- the environment in which was the -- i was the president and how i made decisions. >> sean: it is what this book is all about. as aside do you follow the news as closely now? >> no. >> sean: you don't follow it? >> i got a good sense of it. i look at "wall street journal", my favorite national journal and read that, maybe i'm not supposed to be advertising -- >> sean: fox news owns it. >> i'm pandering. i follow the news, yeah. >> sean: your brother spoke out the president and said been -- you've been president for 20 months it is time for to you start taking responsibility.
i'm sure you are aware he made those comments? >> i am, i'm grateful to my little brother. we love each other. his was an act of love. >> sean: you know that still is a mantra by the president himself. >> look, i've been around politics a long time. it's the way it is. presidents are criticized constantly during the presidency and sometimes after. that didn't bother me. >> sean: why you make the decision that you wouldn't say, it is your responsibility now? you made a decision not to attack president obama. >> it is not just president obama, i suspect i'll have that same point of view for whoever follows him. >> sean: jimmy carter when were you president, you dealt with it. >> i did. in my book i pointed out when my dad went to the united nations to get a resolution, that authorized the re of saddam hussein from kuwait, a country he invaded
jimmy carter lobbied leaders to vote against that resolution. >> wasn't helpful. >> no. >> sean: president bush on the day that changed his life and america forever. >> my first reaction is anger. >> sean: much more coming up. the shipping industry in norway, and the rubber industry in south america? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment objectives, risks, fees, expenses, and other information to read and consider carefully before investing. [ male announcer ] the u.s. government may soon require brake override technology on all new cars and trucks. at nissan, think this is a good idea.
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"decision points." >> announcer: the next president of the united states, george w. bush! >> sean: the book goes into detail about the 2000 election and the bombshell that almost derailed the campaign four days before election day. news that george w. bush had once been arrested for drunk driving. that nearly cost you the presidency? >> yeah it was a big mistake. >> sean: you could have released that information two years earlier. >> i could have released it four years earlier, i should have. i never thought about whether or not to release it. until, i was called to jury duty and the jury -- the case was about a dui and a reporter yelled have you ever been arrested? i can't remember the exact words. i chose not to answer. i said, look i made a lot of mistakes when i was young. i should have said, yes.
in 19 whatever it was. i was arrested for drunk driving. -- here's what i was concerned about, at the same time i was telling my girls if i catch you drinking and driving, you are not going to ever drive. i was worried that they would say wait a minute, he really must not mean that he did the same thing and look, he got to be governor. i was more concerned about good parenting, than i was my own political skin at the time. in retrospect, as i put in the book what i should have done was, i drank. i shouldn't have done that i quit drinking. and by the way, we are about to have a big fundraiser for mothers against drunk driving, something like that. and i didn't. therefore, when it drops out four days before the election, all momentum stopped and it created confusion. i wasn't concerned about my statement, when i first her the news. the statement was simple. i made a mistake. i drank too much.
i was driving and i quit drinking. the problem was, when you drop a nugget like that four days before the campaign, whoever many days, -- >> sean: karl rove calculated that was two million votes. >> yeah, he did. people saying wait a minute we thought we were voting for a different person. there wasn't enough time explain. >> sean: do you think the gore campaign knew about it the whole time? >> i don't think it was like stumbled upon by investigative reporter with four days to go by accident. >> sean: you go into great detail on 9/11. karl rove told you a plane hit one of the trade center towers you thought maybe it was a small prop plane. you hear from conde rice it was a jetliner. then you hear from andy card the second tower hit.
i think you described it the first one is an accident, tech one was attack. and the third one declaration of war. >> i was heading toward air force one, condi called again and said the plane has hit the pentagon. the first was likely an accident, second attack third declaration of war that's how i conducted my presidency. >> sean: that changed it forever here. in front of school kids, you got criticized at the time. why didn't you walk out? you said that you knew the world would be watching your reaction. and you knew at that point, obviously your mind is spinning, you are with the kids, your president -- >> what happens on that i saw the press corp in the back start getting phone calls. because the beepers were off or the buzzers were off, it is
like -- it was like watching a silent movie it was clear they were getting the same information i got. literally andy card whispers -- my first reaction is anger, how dare that. i look at the child or the children. and it's i'm gonna protect you. and you know, all of a sudden the phone calls and they are all getting calls. it was obvious they were getting calls told the same thing i was told by andy. i decided, i made the decision, not to jump up and create a chaotic scene, but wait for an appropriate moment. because, one of the lessons of any crisis, if you happen to be the head of an organization, don't overreact. if you overreact, the people who are counting on you will overreact. then i hustled out and came and wrote a statement. >> today we've had a national tragedy. >> the second lesson of a
crisis try to fill the void or a void with a statement. so as to assure people we would be on top of the situation. >> i've ordered the full resources of the federal government go to help victims and their families and find those folks who committed this act. >> sean: i don't know when you said it, shortly after that, we are going to find out who did this and kick their ass. >> i said that to people in the administration. it wasn't a published statement. that would have been the kind of statement that would have been criticized for being too simplistic. >> sean: you wrote in the book, in a single morning the purpose of my presidency had grown clear. >> yeah, to protect our people, defend freedom that had come under attack. you remember what you felt then? >> i felt a duty of protecting the country. in the book, i take the reader
back to the environment in which i was making decisions. we were under threat, a lot. >> sean: threats that the public never knew about. next, the never before revealed biological weapons scare that threatened the lives of the president and his staff. people in the white house may have been infected, including you. were you thinking what happens if i die? as this special edition of hannity continues. he's single and i'm going to introduce you in two weeks so whiten your teeth. no coffee. [ female announcer ] crest 3d white toothpaste removes up to 80% surface stains in just two weeks. hi. [ female announcer ] for a noticeably whiter smile. crest 3d white toothpaste. [ male announcer ] what does it take to excel in today's business world? our professors know. because they've been there.
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>> sean: we continue my special interview of former president george w. bush. the book details a never before told story that while on an overseas trip in october of 2001, the president was informed a toxic biohazard may have breached white house security. traces of deadly botulism toxins were found there was a chance the president and his senior staff were exposed. it took a full day of testing before the incident was ruled
a false alarm. were you told people in the white house may have been infected, including you. they were concerned, they tested the mice. >> thankfully, we weren't exposed to botch lynn toxin. >> sean: why you -- thinking what happens if i die? dick cheney had given that you wonderful news. >> not really. i never really spent time during the presidency thinking about my death. there was a couple of moments in there, i remember andy card comes in and says the white house is targeted, we need to take you out. i said no, i'm not leaving. i said have a minimum staff. if need be put the vice president in another location to encourage continuity of government, but i'm not leaving. i was tired of leaving. i didn't want the enemy to know they could make me move at their whim. we are in a psychological war against these people in many ways.
in the book i describe my frustrations about not being in washington on 9/11. after having gone to louisiana and nebraska, i said i'm coming home. >> sean: they didn't want you to come home at that point? >> no. and you can understand why. >> sean: you made that final call and that was it. >> absolutely. >> sean: do you wish you came home sooner? >> it doesn't matter. >> sean: this was in part why you are writing the book to bring people inside the oval office, the life of the president of the united states, the worst attack on american soil. i think you even said, when you saw those towers go down you were on the plane you knew that you were probably the only president in american history that saw so many people die at one time. >> real-time, yeah. >> sean: is going through your mind. you've got to make the decision. dick cheney is underground because they thought the white house might be hit at that point. because there's still planes up in the air.
>> nine tip three. >> sean: either headed for the capital or the white house. >> that's what they say. >> sean: you said you would make the decisions, dick cheney would implement the decisions? >> i was flying around so it is easier for dick and condi and josh bolton and who were there, to relay decisions i made. but, yeah the presidency. the main decision we were talking about was the decision to send our fighters up, air -- >> sean: air-to-air intercept. >> yeah of commercial airliners that had not listened to the grounding instructions. >> sean: you gave the order to fire. >> i did. >> you said it was the first decision a wartime commander. when you heard that the plane in pennsylvania had gone down -- >> 93. >> sean: 93 you wondered if that was based on your order? >> i did, tough.
>> sean: tough decision. >> you are remembering these days, i can tell. >> it was tough. >> sean: the decision about maybe having to take out american citizens? >> yeah, i'm told that -- first of all u i wasn't get very clear information. we had report that the state department had been atack. there was going to be an attack on crawford. all of a sudden i'm told the plane goes down. i didn't have many details. i had the sickening feeling we may have shot down a commercial airline. then i got the details shortly thereafter. waits a difficult period. it -- it was a difficult period. it was a hard day on the families and uncertainty and -- i can imagine what it was like to have a loved one in the tower and watching the footage of what was going on. it must have been brutal. >> sean: i was a little shocked.
you called it he wouldful the technology on air force one. >> i was shocked the line kept dropping. i'd be calling condi or cheney or rumsfeld and the line would drop. and plus, we were only able to get the television images as we flew over markets. you would see this kind of -- the news would be there and then would it blackout and show up again. it was very frustrating. and we overhauled air force one. now -- >> no problem. >> no problems. >> sean: you said you were powerless to help and you had the most powerful job in the worm. >> yeah. >> sean: one of the most controversial moments, the decision to invade iraq. >> i believe the choice was saddam hussein's to make as to whether or not we used force.
interview from the ranch of former president george w. bush. his new book "decision points." no decision more controversial than the one in 2003 to launch a strike iraq. you bring everybody inside. you talk about tommy franks, you guys have everything you need win. and you get a yes, sir. and you've got to make that decision. very interesting moment. you write about leaving the situation room. you knew were you putting kids in harm's way. you said you walked up stairs through the oval office, slow lap around the south lawn.
you said a prayer for our troops. safety of our country. the strength -- to have strength in the days ahead. there was one man that understood what you were feeling. you sat down at your desk and you scrawled out a letter to? >> to my dad, yeah. >> sean: i have the letter here. >> i can't read it, i wouldn't make it through. his letter to me was such a touching response. i hope that the reader of the book will have a better sense of my dad, his compassion and his -- what it is like to be the father of the president. >> sean: also, that was the toughest decision you made your life? >> it was. >> sean: to make that decision. >> it is. >> sean: your father said your handwritten note, just received, touched my heart. you are doing the right thing, he said to you. your decision just made is the toughest decision you've had to make up until now.
but you made with it strength, compassion, it is right to worry about the loss of innocent life, be it iraqi or american. but you have done that which had you to do. maybe it helps as you face the toughest bunch of problems any president since lincoln has faced. you carry the burden with strength and grace. he said, remember robin's words, i love you more than tongue can tell. this is your devotedly dad. >> i barely made it through when you read the letter. it is a powerful letter. it is just one of those moments that, it is historic, because it is written by a former president. and it was a powerful moment for me. just hearing it read again is a powerful moment. it really expressed the love of a father to his son. sean the book is decisions. you had to make a decision. you concluded, i strongly
believe the mission is worth the cost. you talk about the cost. you a lot of the families. >> yeah. look, i mean, first of all, the reader should get a sense i tried solve the problem diplomatically. not just me but tony blair and our allies. the use of military was the last option. that -- i believe and i said this in the book. i firmly believe the choice was saddam hussein's to make, as to whether or not we used force. i go on to describe that he made the decision to resist inspectors and to not be with forthright because he never felt we would use force. i say what more could i have done? >> sean: you side a psychological profile of him told i he wouldn't -- >> the psycological profile was that he wanted to -- >> sean: maintain power. >> maintain power.
turns out he didn't think we would use force. i'm not sure what more i could have done to make it clear. >> sean: you talk about wmd, when saddam didn't use wmd on our troops, i was relieved. you talk about the absence of work md stockpiles. frustrating for you? >> of course. everybody thought he had wmd, every intelligence service, everybody in the administration. >> sean: a lot of democrats said it. >> a lot of members of congress. >> i think for the sake of history, prior to my arrival congress had overwhelmingly passed a resolution for the removal of saddam hussein from power embraced by my predecessor. >> sean: they forgot that. >> any way. >> sean: when you concluded you needed to go forward, another decision with the surge. senator mcconnell comes into your office. i'll let i pick it pup from
there. >> mitch is a dear friend of mine and a fine senator and said he was concerned about the upcoming election. basically said my popularity was going to cost us the congress. i of course thought back to such scandals. i readily concede i had been in office for six years, people were tired of me and the iraq war. no question he had a valid point there. >> sean: did you that i at six years they were tired of you? >> yeah. i remember highway they were tired of ronald reagan. i -- i remember when they were tired of ronald reagan >> sean: maybe the country was war weary. >> absolutely. remember this is a point at which our tv screens were full of brutal violence. the shrine bombing had taken place six months prior. >> sean: mcconnell wanted you to pull back. >> i said what do you want know do? he said pull out some troops. i didn't tell him i was thinking about putting more
in. i wanted to create the sense of environment in which i had to make the decision. my own party had very supportive of the removal of saddam and supporting our troops. >> sean: last question. does the emergence -- there's the emergence of a tea party in america today. you see rallies all around the country. you see people holding signs. you see people thinking america has moved down the socialist path. i wanted to get your observation. what do you think of that movement? how do you determine what the mood of the country right now politically? >> here's what i see. i see democracy working. people are expressing a level of frustration, concern and they are getting involved in the process. and the truth of the matter is, democracy works in america. when senator brown wins, the
attitude began to change. people showed up and voted. people are concerned enough to take to the streets. in our history that has happened some. in 1992, my dad, running for president, not only faced president clinton, but faced ross perot who represented such a type movement. where people were frustrated, angry, and came out to the streets. and to me, to watch people participating in the democratic system is good, it is a good thing for the country. it inspires know know that our democracy still functions. what would be terrible is if people were frustrated and they didn't do anything. >> sean: you think your brother jeb will be president one day? >> i wish he would be. he has to run first. he has made it clear he's not running in 2012.