CALGARY, Alberta – Former President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that he won’t criticize Barack Obama because the new U.S. president “deserves my silence,” and said he plans to write a book about the 12 toughest decisions he made in office.
Bush declined to critique the Obama administration in his first speech since leaving office in January. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has said that Obama’s decisions threatened America’s safety.
“I’m not going to spend my time criticizing him. There are plenty of critics in the arena,” Bush said. “He deserves my silence.”
Bush said he wants Obama to succeed and said it’s important that he has that support. Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has said he hoped Obama would fail.
“I love my country a lot more than I love politics,” Bush said. “I think it is essential that he be helped in office.”
The invitation-only event titled a “Conversation with George W. Bush” attracted close to 2,000 guests who paid $3,100 per table. Bush received two standing ovations from the crowd.
The event’s organizers declined to say how much Bush was paid to speak at the gathering.
Bush said that he doesn’t know what he will do in the long term but that he will write a book that will ask people to consider what they would do if they had to protect the United States as president.
He said it will be fun to write and that “it’s going to be (about) the 12 toughest decisions I had to make.”
“I’m going to put people in my place, so when the history of this administration is written at least there’s an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened,” Bush said.
Bush was also full of jokes during his appearance. He joked that he would do more speeches to pay for his new house in Dallas.
“I actually paid for a house last fall. I think I’m the only American to have bought a house in the fall of 2008,” he quipped.