Bush, In European Farewell, Regrets Misinterpretations And Stresses Multilaterism

President Bush, in his European farewell tour, is voicing regret for making statements about his foreign policy that he believes were misinterpreted.

Bush was asked to name the positive and negative aspects about his eight years as president in an interview on French television Thursday.

"Well, you know, I think that people will say he's a decisive person who took action when necessary to protect his country and to address the problems of the world," he said. "Bad points are probably sometimes my rhetoric was a little -- was misunderstood. I mean, I can remember saying, you know, 'Dead or alive,' which sent -- it sent signals that could be easily misinterpreted."

When Bush was later asked by France 3 TV's Christian Malar whether he thought that the United States would still be a superpower 10 years from now, Bush stressed the need for maintaining strong relations with China, Russia and India.

"I would rather define us as a very influential nation that is willing to work with others to achieve common objectives," Bush said. "You mentioned those three nations, and my approach has been to have strong bilateral relations with all three. We've got strong bilateral relations with China, even though we differ on issues. I've had strong bilateral relations with Russia, a lot of it having to do with my personal relationship with Vladimir Putin. We've had our differences, but nevertheless, we found a lot of common ground to work together on, including Iran. And in India, I've changed the relationship between India and the United States in a way that we're partners as opposed to, you know, being antagonistic."

He continued: "And therefore, if the United States is active diplomatically in maintaining good bilateral relations with these countries, I think we'll still be in a position to use our influence for the common good. And these relationships don't have to be antagonistic. They can be -- I've worked hard to get to know these leaders individually so that we can be able to discuss matters, delicate matters, in open and honest ways, without rupturing relations. And I hope it serves as a go-by for future Presidents, that you can have disagreements, but you don't have to have this kind of zero-sum attitude about life."