Obama: I 'always thought' Bush was a 'good guy'
President-elect Obama must have either an enormous capacity for forgiveness, or a short memory.
On Friday night, he told CNN's John King that he has "always thought" Bush was a "good guy."
What a difference eight months can make.
"I mean, I think personally he is a good man who loves his family and loves his country," said Obama.
"If you look at my statements throughout the campaign, I always thought he was a good guy," Democrat Obama said, when asked in a CNN interview whether he still stood by his campaign trail criticisms of the Republican president.
"I think he made the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances. It does not detract from my assessment that over the last several years we have made a series of bad choices and we are now going to be inheriting the consequences of a lot of those bad choices."
Although a query of RAW STORY's campaign 2008 reporting did not turn up any personal insults made explicitly by Obama, the laundry-list of slags against the Democrat is long.
"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," Bush said in May 2008, comparing the supposed strategy to Britain's 1930s appeasement of the Nazis. "We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
"I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States," said McCain, Bush's political ally in the election, during an April 2008 campaign stop.
And who could forget McCain's running-mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, accusing Obama of "palling around with terrorists?" She later refused to use the same term -- "terrorists" -- when referring to abortion clinic bombers.
Though, it's not as if Obama didn't hit back.
"We all know why, Senator McCain doesn't want to be seen, hat in hand with the President whose failed policies he promises to continue for another four years," Obama said in May 2008, before a speech in Nevada.
But, since the election, rhetoric between the outgoing and incoming presidents has cooled. Bush, who is actually a distant cousin to Obama, even said he "likes" him.
"Listen, the man's obviously a charismatic person ... and the man is able to persuade people that they should trust him," Bush told Fox on Jan. 11. "And he's got -- he's got something -- he's got a lot going for him," he said.
In spite of his personal opinion, the question as to whether Obama will allow a prosecution of "good guy" Bush for authorizing war crimes, among a litany of other abuses, remains unclear.
"We're still evaluating how we're going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth," the President-elect told ABC in early Jan. "Obviously we're going to be looking at past practices and I don't believe that anybody is above the law."
With wire reports.