Excerpts: Cynthia McFadden Interviews President George W. Bush

President Talks to McFadden About Bailout for Auto Companies; Understanding the Bible


Dec. 8, 2008—

The following are excerpts from ABC News' Cynthia McFadden's interview with President George W. Bush on Monday, Dec. 8 at the White House to air on "Nightline."

CYNTHIA McFADDEN: Mr. President, I know you've been working on the auto bailout all day. Close to a resolution at this point?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: It's hard to tell because there are some pretty strict standards. One is that anything that's done would as best as possible guarantee the taxpayers get their money back. In other words, there needs to be viability. Of course, the definition of viability is open to discussion.

I believe that viability means that all aspects of the companies need to be re-examined to make sure that they can survive in the long term. Hopefully, we'll get something done that, you know ... These are important companies, but on the other hand, we just don't want to put good money after bad.

MCFADDEN: Should one of the conditions be that the people at the top have to step down?

BUSH: I think that viability is a broad term. It includes an analysis of business plans, dealerships, product lines, and labor contracts as well as the internal dealings of the company.

MCFADDEN: So, it's on the table?

BUSH: I think all aspects of the deal are on the table. I don't want to take one single aspect. The danger with trying to pick out one thing and say this has to happen, is that these companies need a comprehensive review of everything they're doing, and all aspects of the business need to be on the table in order to make sure we don't put good money after bad, which would be unhelpful.


MCFADDEN: Is it literally true, the Bible?

BUSH: You know. Probably not ... No, I'm not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it, but I do think that the New Testament, for example is ... has got ... You know, the important lesson is "God sent a son."

MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible...

BUSH: That God in the flesh, that mankind can understand there is a God who is full of grace and that nothing you can do to earn his love. His love is a gift and that in order to draw closer to God and in order to express your appreciation for that love is why you change your behavior.

MCFADDEN: So, you can read the Bible and not take it literally. I mean you can -- it's not inconsistent to love the Bible and believe in evolution, say.

BUSH: Yeah, I mean, I do. I mean, evolution is an interesting subject. I happen to believe that evolution doesn't fully explain the mystery of life and ...

MCFADDEN: But do you believe in it?

BUSH: That God created the world, I do, yeah.

MCFADDEN: But what about ...

BUSH: Well, I think you can have both. I think evolution can -- you're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president. But it's, I think that God created the Earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty, and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution.