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NBC's Lauer Presses Bush on Legacy: Are You Trying to 'Force Critics to Take a Second Look?'
NewsBusters.org ^ | April 25, 2013 | Kyle Drennan

Posted on 04/25/2013 6:20:38 PM PDT by Kaslin

At the beginning of a live interview with former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered about the motivation behind Bush's presidential library: "So many difficult moments, so many controversial decisions you made. Some of them cost you dearly in terms of popularity. Is one of the ideas here...to force your critics to take a second look?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

As the three of them toured the museum, Lauer highlighted an exhibit on the war on terror and noted how "it includes what was perhaps the most controversial decision of your presidency, invading Iraq." Lauer wondered: "Do you want people to look at some of the information you had, and do you think you'll convince the people who thought that was an unjust war, the wrong war at the wrong time, that perhaps you were right?"

NBC's Lauer Presses Bush on Legacy: Are You Trying to 'Force Critics to Take a Second Look?'

Turning to the former first lady, Lauer fretted that a theater inside the library would provide a presentation slanted in favor of her husband: "In that theater, Mrs. Bush, visitors get to listen to advisers and they get to see breaking news. Is it a fair analysis? In other words, is it weighted in the direction of your president and – your husband – and what he eventually chose to do? Or is it right down the middle?"

At one point, President Bush explained: "The purpose here is not to defend or to argue or to debate." Lauer skeptically countered: "So you're not being defensive here?"

Later in the interview, Lauer took time to recall a contentious exchange he had with Bush as president: "I started to ask you questions about things like enhanced interrogation techniques and about secret CIA sites. And sir, you became animated with me and I would go as far to say you became agitated with me....I do want to ask you to describe the pressure you were feeling in the years post-9/11."

Bush acknowledged: "My duty is – was to protect the homeland. And I made some very controversial decisions." Lauer interjected: "You rethought any of them?" Bush replied: "No, because we were successful in protecting the homeland. People are going to argue about whether such and such yielded information and I'm telling you it did."

Here are relevant portions of the April 25 exchange:

7:35AM ET

MATT LAUER: Back here at the George W. Bush Presidential Center just outside Dallas, with the former president and the former first lady. And there were so many key moments in your presidency that are captured in this center. So many difficult moments, so many controversial decisions you made. Some of them cost you dearly in terms of popularity. Is one of the ideas here, President Bush, to force your critics to take a second look?

GEORGE W. BUSH: I never thought about my critics. I thought about just laying out for the American people the events that began the 21st century. And let them understand what it's like to make a decision, talk about the different events that took place, talk about some of the successes and some of the failures. And because ultimately history will judge whether critics are right or wrong. And – but this is a place to educate people.

LAUER: We're going to leave this area here where there are some hanging chads over there. We all remember that. We remember talking about the Supreme Court decision that resulted in your moving into the White House. And even though the country was divided and there was so much controversy, when you came to office, you had great plans in terms of a domestic agenda. And this section of your museum and library is dedicated to that.

(...)

LAUER: Over here, if we walk further, now we get into the, you know, we've had 9/11 and now we get into a wall here that says "Fighting the Global War on Terror." This, of course, includes the war in Afghanistan. And it includes what was perhaps the most controversial decision of your presidency, invading Iraq. And it became even more controversial after no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were found.

Do you want people – and there's one area here called the Decision Points Theater – do you want people to look at some of the information you had, and do you think you'll convince the people who thought that was an unjust war, the wrong war at the wrong time, that perhaps you were right?

GEORGE BUSH: I – look, the whole purpose is to lay out the facts as I saw them at the time. And people will make their own judgments. Some will agree, some will disagree. I will give you my judgment, removing Saddam Hussein was the right decision and the world is better off without him in power.

LAUER: In that theater, Mrs. Bush, visitors get to listen to advisers and they get to see breaking news. Is it a fair analysis? In other words, is it weighted in the direction of your president and – your husband – and what he eventually chose to do? Or is it right down the middle?

LAURA BUSH: I think it's right down the middle. It's to really give people the chance to see what it's like to hear from a lot of different advisers, to be prodded by the press. You know, what are you going to do? What's your decision? How are you going to make it?

GEORGE BUSH: Prodded is a polite word.

LAUER: You looked at me when he says that.

LAURA BUSH: But really to have some idea what it's like, especially monumental decisions, like the war on terror was. You know, that's just – that's a very, very big decision. And every president hopes they won't have to make that kind of decision.

GEORGE BUSH: But see the lesson here is every president is going to be confronted with decisions that they didn't expect to make.

LAUER: Right.

GEORGE BUSH: And so the purpose here is not to defend or to argue or to debate.

LAUER: So you're not being defensive here?

GEORGE BUSH: No, not at all. What we're being is factual. And you know, if somebody said to me, "Well, you're never going to disclose, of course, that weapons of mass destruction weren't found, are you?" I said, "Heck yeah, I mean, that's a fact." And we also disclose the fact that Saddam Hussein had the capacity to make weapons, the Duelfer Report reported that, you know, he wanted to make weapons when the world looked away. In other words, we just lay out the facts and people – and, I think, encouraging debate is important for – to understand history.

(...)

LAUER: One of the last times you and I stood in the real Oval Office was five years after the attacks of 9/11, it was the five-year anniversary. And I started to ask you questions about things like enhanced interrogation techniques and about secret CIA sites. And sir, you became animated with me and I would go as far to say you became agitated with me. And I'm not going to argue that issue with you again. But I do want to ask you to describe the pressure you were feeling in the years post-9/11.

GEORGE BUSH: My duty is – was to protect the homeland. And I made some very controversial decisions.

LAUER: You rethought any of them?

GEORGE BUSH: No. No, because we were successful in protecting the homeland. People are going to argue about whether such and such yielded information and I'm telling you it did. And that without information you can't protect the homeland.

And so, I don't remember being agitated. I might have been really angry. I don't remember being agitated.

LAUER: You poked in chest a couple of times, which hadn't happened to me before in the Oval Office.

GEORGE BUSH: Well, I was thinking about doing it again, but, you know.

(...)



TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: georgewbush; iraq; mattlauer; wot

1 posted on 04/25/2013 6:20:38 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
I thought Matt was dead?
2 posted on 04/25/2013 6:22:25 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth." --Alan Greenspan)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

What an ASS Lauer is - asking such a question. Meanwhile, I am not a big Bushie: This is real legacy IMO: written 09:
http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/01/bushs_legacy_none_of_the_above_1.html


3 posted on 04/25/2013 6:25:17 PM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (Tokyo Rove is more than a name, it's a GREAT WEBSITE)
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To: Kaslin
Matt Lauer is... Well, I can't say it in polite company.

Where do they find such small people to report distort the news?

4 posted on 04/25/2013 6:26:03 PM PDT by Senator_Blutarski
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To: Kaslin

Republicans will never learn. They so much want to be liked by these assholes like Lauer that they give them these opportunities to ask stupid questions and instead of telling Lauer that he’s an asshole Bush just squirms and doesn’t defend himself vigorously. It makes me ill.


5 posted on 04/25/2013 6:26:42 PM PDT by jwalsh07
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Why does anybody who is not lockstep with the statists ever give them the satisfaction of conducting an “interview”?

I wouldn’t give them the time of day.


6 posted on 04/25/2013 6:29:16 PM PDT by Westbrook (Children do not divide your love, they multiply it.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

He’s been braindead for years. It is amazing what you can do with microchips and a built-in microphone.


7 posted on 04/25/2013 6:29:30 PM PDT by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: Kaslin

To the Partisan Media, NOTHING Obama has done is controversial. Even at the Margaret Thatcher funeral, we were constantly told how divisive she was.

But to challenge Obama’s agenda is to be “racist” and a “bitter clinger”.


8 posted on 04/25/2013 6:30:01 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
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To: Kaslin

Lauer is a slimeball punk. Simple as that. A fact.


9 posted on 04/25/2013 6:30:21 PM PDT by RetiredArmy (1 Cor 15: 50-54 & 1 Thess 4: 13-17. That about covers it.)
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10 posted on 04/25/2013 6:32:15 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW (My faith and politics cannot be separated)
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To: Kaslin

For years I have refused to watch anything but FOX in the a.m. Don’t want to give that ass Lauer, or any of the rest of them, credit in the ratings.

Besides which I think they’re a nest of vipers on TODAY. Not nice people AT ALL.


11 posted on 04/25/2013 6:32:52 PM PDT by Aria ( 2008 & 2012 weren't elections - they were coup d'etats.)
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To: jwalsh07

It also astounds me that Mr. Bush would showcase his Presidential Center on a second-rate morning show, hosted by a man who engineered the firing of his former co-anchor—and is a serial adulterer to boot.

Meanwhile, the crew at FNC would have given the event the dignity it deserved, without the snarky questions.

Lauer is an ass...but I take consolation in the fact that sometime next year, he’ll be an unemployed ass.


12 posted on 04/25/2013 6:36:14 PM PDT by ExNewsExSpook
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To: jwalsh07

W doesn’t care if he’s liked by Lauer. He just opened up his library and is advertising on the Today Show.


13 posted on 04/25/2013 6:41:37 PM PDT by madameguinot
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To: Kaslin

I would dearly love to see if he did one with Bill Clinton at his library dedication! This one is petty and ridiculous and I bet one with Clinton would have been entirely different.


14 posted on 04/25/2013 6:45:25 PM PDT by Thank You Rush
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To: Kaslin

For the life of me, I will never understand why Republicans ever talk to The Ego with The Mini-Mind!!


15 posted on 04/25/2013 6:55:27 PM PDT by DustyMoment (Congress - another name for anti-American criminals!!)
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To: madameguinot

Exactly! Bush is not thin~skinned... he doesn’t care what Matt thinks... i love that he doesn’t feel the need to defend himself... he knows who he is and i suspect, Whose he is... he does not have to prove himself... can’t wait to visit his library...


16 posted on 04/25/2013 7:00:39 PM PDT by latina4dubya (when i have money i buy books... if i have anything left, i buy 6-inch heels and a bottle of wine...)
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To: Kaslin
 photo DanAckroyd_zpsb1ad4297.jpg
17 posted on 04/25/2013 7:08:48 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: Aria

I have a friend who uses the Today show as her news show I think....luckily, I believe her husband helps her vote the RIGHT way....


18 posted on 04/25/2013 7:17:29 PM PDT by goodnesswins (R.I.P. Doherty, Smith, Stevens, Woods.)
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To: Kaslin
...Matt Lauer wondered about the motivation behind Bush's presidential library...

Motivation? I was unaware an ex-President needed "motivation" to set up a library. Did ol' Matty boy "wonder about the motivation" of Billy-Bob Clinton's library? Or was Matty just at the Bush library to cause controversy and try to pee on Bush's day? did Matty give Clinton grief and harass him at his library opening?

19 posted on 04/25/2013 7:44:23 PM PDT by jeffc (The U.S. media are our enemy)
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To: Kaslin
Ugh...I had forgotten how bad NBC was. I haven't had many reasons to tune in to that channel and plenty reasons not to.

Otoh, oh, how I would love to see obama interviewed like that!!!

Now that would be a GREAT reason to tune in!

20 posted on 04/25/2013 8:06:52 PM PDT by GBA (Here in the Matrix, life is but a dream.)
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To: Kaslin

Matt who?


21 posted on 04/25/2013 8:10:11 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Kaslin

Matt Lauer is a complete pos


22 posted on 04/25/2013 8:34:17 PM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: Kaslin

W shoulda pulled out a couple of revolvers and told Lauer to dance.


23 posted on 04/25/2013 8:41:09 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Kaslin

That’s RIGHT, you stinking metrosexual Communist punk. You wanna maybe DO somethin’ about it??? (How I wish W had replied;)


24 posted on 04/25/2013 8:42:56 PM PDT by Frank_2001
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To: Kaslin

Some jack@ss woman from the AP who had covered Bush during the presidency came up with the same sort of nastiness on Fox tonight, claiming that his library presentations, which allow visitors to sort through the arguments leading up to some of his major decisions and make up their own minds, were “defensive” - I think the press is really worried that as the people take a second look at what Bush went through and had to deal with, they’re going to decide that his actions were not that unreasonable and reckless after all, and that the press in fact helped mislead the public - then let’s see who gets defensive.....


25 posted on 04/25/2013 9:47:16 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: RetiredArmy

“Lauer is a slimeball punk. Simple as that. A fact.”

Progressives seem to have a habit of behaving in the same obnoxious manner.

IMHO


26 posted on 04/26/2013 5:22:00 AM PDT by ripley
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To: Kaslin

IMO, G W Bush is being more than generous in even letting Lauer onto the property, much less granting him an interview.

Lauer will rot in hell for his lifetime of angry actions.

IF it were MY library, I would not grant Lauer a single minute of my time. Life is too short to ‘dance with ugly men’.......


27 posted on 04/26/2013 8:09:21 AM PDT by ridesthemiles
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