News/Campaigns/Administration

Bush: ‘Hard to See’ How McCain Could’ve Won

President Bush, obliging a request to play political analyst, said that it was “hard to see… in retrospect” how Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) could have won the presidential race this year.

Bush told ABC’s Charlie Gibson that McCain faced a “tough head wind” because his party had held the White House for the past two terms and because of the difficult economic situation. Bush, however, also credited President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign.

“I mean this guy, I’m told, raised $150 million in one month,” Bush said. “That meant a lot of people were for him for president.”

Read below the part of the ABC interview in which Bush plays pundit. The interview aired Monday night.

GIBSON: I found you to be an excellent political analyst and commentator.

G. BUSH: Why, I try not to.

GIBSON: What did you think of the campaign?

G. BUSH: I thought my candidate for president, John McCain, had a tough head wind for two reasons. One, rarely do the American people give a political party three terms. That in itself was difficult for him. Obviously, the economic situation made it awfully difficult for John McCain to get a message out. And I felt that Barack Obama ran a very disciplined campaign.

GIBSON: Given the conditions and the economy, is there any way John McCain could have won?

G. BUSH: It’s hard to see it in retrospect. I think the interesting thing about the way people analyze campaigns is, they always look at the negative side. The positive side is, from Barack Obama’s perspective is, he had a really good campaign. I mean this guy, I’m told, raised $150 million in one month. That meant a lot of people were for him for president.

GIBSON: Was the election in any way a repudiation of the Bush administration?

G. BUSH: I think it was a repudiation of Republicans. And, you know, I’m sure some people voted for Barack Obama because of me. I think most people voted for Barack Obama because they decided they wanted him to be in their living room for the next four years explaining policy. In other words, they made a conscious choice to put him in as president.

GIBSON: Both candidates wound up criticizing you a lot.

G. BUSH: Yes, well, that’s what happens when you’re the incumbent and during a tough economic time. But…

GIBSON: Hurt?

G. BUSH: No, not really. I mean, I’ve been around politics a long time. Remember, I was the guy in 2000 who campaigned for change. I campaigned for change when I ran for governor of Texas. The only time I really didn’t campaign for change is when I was running for re- election.

Tags Barack Obama Barack Obama presidential campaign Candidate Position Charlie Gibson George H. W. Bush International Republican Institute John McCain John McCain John McCain presidential campaign Military personnel Person Career Person Communication Political positions of John McCain Politics Quotation Republican National Convention United States

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