Bush on the invasion of Iraq leading to al-Qaeda presence: 'So what?'
In an interview with a reporter following a shoe being thrown at his head, President George W. Bush had a snippy answer for the fact that al Qaeda didn't take a stand in Iraq until he invaded: "So what?"
Bush spoke with ABC's Martha Raddatz following the shoe incident in Baghdad, which reportedly left White House spokesperson Dana Perino injured during the melee that ensued as the Iraqi journalist who threw the shoe was being subdued.
During the interview, Bush says his legacy will "take time," but includes No Child Left Behind and "52 months of uninterrupted job growth," then speaks about his role in "protecting" America after 9/11. He mentions that al Qaeda has turned out to be a problem in Iraq.
Raddatz points out that al Qaeda didn't choose to make Iraq a base to fight from until after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Bush's response? "Yeah, that's right. So what?"
"Surely your legacy will be largely about this war," Raddatz says. "Talk to me about how that feels being here."
"There have been no attacks since I have been president, since 9/11," he replies. "One of the major theats against al Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. This is where al Qaeda was hoping to take ..."
"But not until after the U.S. invaded," Raddatz interrupts.
"Yeah, that's right," Bush says. "So what? The point is that al Qaeda said they're going to take a stand."
Bush also told Raddatz that he wasn't insulted by the Iraqi journalist who hurled shoes at him.
"I thought it was interesting, I thought it was unusual to have a guy throw his show at you. But I'm not insulted. I don't hold it against the government. I don't think the Iraqi press corps as a whole is terrible. And so, the guy wanted to get on TV and he did. I don't know what his beef is. But whatever it is I'm sure somebody will hear it."
ABC News has the entire transcript here.
This video is from ABC's World News, broadcast Dec. 14, 2008.
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