Transcript: Charlie Gibson Interviews President Bush

BUSH: No, not at all. Look, one of the things that we vowed is to work with the President-elect and his team to have a smooth transition. This is a very unique period in American history where a new President is coming in where we are fighting a two-front war against terrorists and, at the same time, dealing with a very difficult economic situation. And the more we can work together, the better off our country will be.

I called President-Elect Obama with the Citigroup decision. I wanted him to know what we were doing. And he was very appreciative of the phone call. And I --

GIBSON: Did you call him on Tuesday about the Fed putting up $600 billion, and Treasury $200 billion --

BUSH: Yes, yes.

GIBSON: You called him about that, too?

BUSH: I sure did -- oh, no, no, no, I have not on that. But I know his team was briefed. I didn't speak to him personally about that, but I know his team was briefed. We're in touch with the Obama transition team a lot. And I don't feel any -- I don't feel any intrusion whatsoever, because he knows what I know -- I'm -- our administration still will be making the decisions necessary until he becomes the President.

GIBSON: Given the exigencies of the time and how critical this situation is, do you need to take any kind of extraordinary actions, bringing his people in to work side by side with your people before January 20th?

BUSH: I don't think so. And I don't think he would want that. I think he's going to want to be able to come in fresh. On the other hand, he does want, and I think his team will want, to be fully briefed on any further difficulties until he's sworn in.

GIBSON: Let's talk a little bit about eight years as being President. What don't the American people know about being President? What would surprise them the most?

BUSH: That's an interesting question. I think, at least from my administration, I think they'd be surprised at how our team has worked so closely together. Some days we're not so happy, some days happy; every day has been pretty joyous, though -- that when you have a purpose in life, that no matter what it may look like from afar, that we're a highly motivated group of people that are honored to serve.

In other words, I think people look at the White House and say, oh, man, what a miserable experience it is to be President. You know, there's a lot of noise, a lot of criticism, a lot of name-calling, a lot of this, a lot of that. But I think people would be surprised when they walked in the Oval Office and the White House to see a highly motivated group of people that really enjoy what we're doing.

GIBSON: What were you most unprepared for?

BUSH: Well, I think I was unprepared for war. In other words, I didn't campaign and say, "Please vote for me, I'll be able to handle an attack." In other words, I didn't anticipate war. Presidents -- one of the things about the modern presidency is that the unexpected will happen.

GIBSON: You said you were not going to be in the business of nation-building. And so much of what you had to do was nation-building.

BUSH: Well, what I said was, in the course of a debate, I said the military shouldn't be used to build nations. In this case, it turns out the military, in my judgment, was needed to remove threats to our security, and after that removal, the military, as well as our diplomatic corps, needed to help rebuild after tyrannical situations.

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