Global Politics

President Bush reflects on Iraq

He wanted to emphasize how committed he was to diplomatic solutions. At the end when we asked how he judges himself, he went into this reflective answer about how maybe he used the wrong tone and rhetoric and that he gave the world the impression that he's a man of war when really he's a man of peace and that's an extraordinary message to deliver to a European media outlet. (It doesn't sound like the President was apologizing. Was he clarifying or trying to burnish his image?) I think he's trying to explain himself, that he had sought diplomatic solutions. I think he's thinking about his place in history and also what he can do in his final months where he needs Europe's help if he's going to make progress on his agenda. (After your interview, he held a press conference and someone asked him if he regretted any part of his actions in Iraq. Given that the war in Iraq has been so costly, if the President's regrets are limited to just the rhetoric he used, is that meaningful for Europeans?) I don't think it will transform his image. He's deeply unpopular in Europe. (What continues to strike you about the Presidnet as you travel with him?) The reaction is interesting, there's been no huge protests or hate. People are ready to move on to the next president.

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