So I was recently appointed to a committee in College Republicans for public relations. I got my first interview tonight from the CM-Life, and it was to reflect on the Bush Administration, along with his farewell address. The whole article follows, but if you just want to get straight to my interview, it's near the end. Enjoy!
President George W. Bush's farewell speech Thursday was his final opportunity to shape his legacy.
The 43rd president of the United States chose spreading peace abroad and fighting terrorism as his main messages, although he said there are things he would have changed.
"There are things I would do differently if given the chance," he said. "Yet, I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right."
Bush warned Americans that the nation will face more challenges, but expressed his confidence in its ability to overcome them.
The president rejected isolationist policies and encouraged the nation to continue the fight for freedom and democracy around the world.
"This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth," he said. "Advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens."
Bush noted the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the transformation of the military, the intelligence community and FBI, a new Medicare program and the bailout among his accomplishments as president.
The once-Texas governor noted changing the Afghanistan and Iraq governments to democracies as other successes of his presidency.
"There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions," he said. "But there can be little debate about the results."
The President acknowledged those who disagreed with many decisions he made, but hoped they would agree he made tough decisions.
Serving the nation as president was an honor, Bush said, but the title of "citizen of the United States of America" means more to him than any other.
Aside from molding his legacy, Bush wished President-elect Barack Obama good luck, saying his presidency is "a moment of hope and pride for our whole nation."
Central Michigan University students have had mixed reactions about Bush's eight-year tenure.
Caro junior Zachary Raymer and Waterford senior Kyle Gentges find Bush to be an inadequate president, and neither agreed with his decision to invade Iraq.
"I don't really think he knew what he was doing," Gentges said. "After 9/11, we started going after Iraq and Iraq got in the way of catching Osama bin Laden."
Raymer said the economic bailout was a necessary decision, but does not like how it has been handled.
"There has not been enough oversight with what we've done with the money," he said.
Instead of throwing the money at the problem, Raymer said, the money should have been used to create jobs and investments that will pay off in the long run.
Coleman freshman John Porter, a member of the College Republicans, said Bush's speech was honest and sober. He praised Bush's honesty, even though many people may not have agreed with his policies.
"We cannot question the man's integrity and honesty," he said.
Porter thought Bush's greatest accomplishment was preventing a terrorist attack for seven and a half years.
Porter said Bush's expanded AIDS treatments in Africa were another great accomplishment.
"No one has ever done more for the continent of Africa than George W. Bush," he said.
Bush was put into an unprecedented situation, Coleman said, and dealt with it well.
"His record speaks for itself. He saw 54 months of job growth... even Barack Obama can't change some of Bush's policies," he said.