Ann Curry to Bush: Americans Are 'Suffering' Because of War

During a live interview with the President and the First Lady from Africa on Monday's "Today" show, NBC's Ann Curry pestered Bush about the Iraq war and its economic effect on Americans as she told the President: "I mean they say they're suffering because of this war."

ANN CURRY: But you're saying you're gonna have to carry that burden, you're saying you're gonna have to carry that burden. Some Americans believe, that they feel they're carrying the burden because of this economy.

GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah well-

CURRY: I mean they say they're suffering because of this war.

GEORGE W. BUSH: I don't agree with that.

CURRY: You don't agree with that? Has nothing to do with the economy? The war? The spending on the war?

The "Today" show co-anchor also asked if the President was "chagrined" by the McCain campaign request that Bush not "appear too often by his side."

The following exchange occurred on the February 18, "Today" show:

ANN CURRY: You know I know that it helps that you've got the support of, with your children and your wife on this mission and, and I want to mention that your wife has stood up for you on so many issues. She once told me about you, when I asked her about how Americans, you know, were upset about the war in Iraq. I'm gonna get to the quote here. She basically said, "No one suffers more than their president. I hope they know the burden of worry that's on his shoulders every single day for our troops." So I've been wondering, ever since she said that, will the burden of worry, do you think, about this war in Iraq ever truly leave you?

GEORGE W. BUSH: Well what won't leave me is the fact that a mother has lost a son or a wife has lost a husband or a husband has lost a wife. I'll forever, you know, carry that with me. On the other hand I firmly believe that the mission will yield peace as people are now beginning to see Iraq is changing. Democracy is beginning to take hold. And I'm convinced 50 years from now people look back and say, "Thank God there were those who are willing to sacrifice."

CURRY: But you're saying you're gonna have to carry that burden, you're saying you're gonna have to carry that burden. Some Americans believe, that they feel they're carrying the burden because of this economy.

GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah well-

CURRY: I mean they say they're suffering because of this war.

GEORGE W. BUSH: I don't agree with that.

CURRY: You don't agree with that? Has nothing to do with the economy? The war? The spending on the war?

GEORGE W. BUSH: I don't think so. I think, actually the spending on the war might help with jobs.

CURRY: Oh yeah?

GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah because we're buying equipment and people are working. I think this economy is, is down because we built too many houses. And the economy is adjusting. On the other hand we're just about to kick out $157 billion to, to our taxpayers and businesses and you know other families so that we can get this economy going. But I want to get back to Iraq war. What would've been worse, on anybody's conscience, would have been had we abandoned Iraq when times were tough and let those soldiers die in vain. That would've been the absolute worse thing that would've happened.

CURRY: But at some point if you're wrong about something it is, I'm not saying that you are, I'm just saying that at some point if you, if this idea of not wanting soldiers to die in vain. At some point, if you're absolutely wrong, you don't want any more soldiers to die in vain.

GEORGE W. BUSH: Well we're not wrong in this case. And the surge is proving us not wrong. Secondly failure in Iraq would've been an unmit-, will be an unmitigated disaster in the Middle East. I mean it would empower the radicals who still want to hurt us. It would embolden Iran which is a threat to peace. And it would've abandoned the Iraqi people, I mean, who are counting on the United States to continue help them having liberated them from a brutal tyrant who murdered thousands and thousands of his people. So I don't believe it was wrong, as a matter of fact I believe it's right and I believe history will prove it's right.

CURRY: I need to quickly ask you about the news of the day which is about Kosovo. Are you officially, is the U.S. gonna officially recognize Kosovo?

[GEORGE W. BUSH]

CURRY: I need to ask you also about the McCain campaign reportedly today is saying, or at least it's in the news reportedly that it wants you to fundraise but doesn't want you to appear too often by his side.

GEORGE W. BUSH: Yeah.

CURRY: You heard about that?!

GEORGE W. BUSH: I haven't heard about it.

CURRY: You haven't heard about it? You're laughing!

GEORGE W. BUSH: How many times?

CURRY: Why are you laughing about it?

GEORGE W. BUSH: Because I find it amusing.

CURRY: Why? You don't, you don't feel a little chagrined by that?

GEORGE W. BUSH: No I just, look I don't know who said it. I, you know, I'm sitting in Tanzania! I don't know what the McCain campaign said. But I'll help him in any way I can.

CURRY: You will?

GEORGE W. BUSH: I will.

CURRY: In whatever way you can?

GEORGE W. BUSH: He's gonna win too.

CURRY: He is.

GEORGE W. BUSH: If he ends up being the nominee. Now he's still gotta, you know, as I understand Mike Huckabee is still in the race. But if John's the nominee he'll win.

CURRY: Some people might ask, you know, would you like to see, Mrs. Bush, a woman president-

LAURA BUSH: Sure, I would absolutely.

CURRY: -an African-American in your lifetime?

LAURA BUSH: A Republican.

CURRY CHUCKLING: Mr. Bush?

GEORGE W. BUSH: Would I like to see Condi Rice president, is that what you just said, is that what you're asking?

CURRY: A woman president or an African-American man president, in your lifetime?

GEORGE W. BUSH: Oh I got ya. Oh you're trying to trap me into the Clinton-Obama thing.

CURRY: I'm just asking ya.

GEORGE W. BUSH: I think we'll win. I think we'll win in November because we've got a plan that will keep taxes low and keep this country safe. And those are the two major issues facing, facing the country.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.