updated 12/28/2008 3:06:05 PM ET 2008-12-28T20:06:05

First lady Laura Bush disagrees with critics who call the presidency of George W. Bush a failure.

  1. Other political news of note
    1. Animated Boehner: 'There's nothing complex about the Keystone Pipeline!'

      House Speaker John Boehner became animated Tuesday over the proposed Keystone Pipeline, castigating the Obama administration for not having approved the project yet.

    2. Budget deficits shrinking but set to grow after 2015
    3. Senate readies another volley on unemployment aid
    4. Obama faces Syria standstill
    5. Fluke files to run in California

"I know it's not, and so I don't really feel like I need to respond to people that view it that way," Mrs. Bush said in a television interview that aired Sunday. "I think history will judge and we'll see later."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took a similar view in a separate interview.

"I think generations pretty soon are going to start to thank this president for what he's done. This generation will," she said.

"Because I think the fact that we have really made foreign assistance not just an issue of giving humanitarian aid or giving money to poor people, but really insisting on good governance and fighting corruption." she said. "I think the fact that this President has laid the groundwork for a Palestinian state, being the first president, as a matter of policy, to say that there should be one, and now, I think, laying the foundation that's going to lead to that Palestinian state — I can go on and on."

Calls shoe-throwing incident an assault
In her interview, Mrs. Bush called the shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad an "assault." She rebuffed Bush administration critics who contend the U.S. turned its military might and resources to the war in Iraq before finishing the job in Afghanistan.

Mrs. Bush noted that under her husband's watch, the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein and liberated millions of people in Afghanistan and Iraq from oppressive governments. She also highlighted the president's work to provide treatment for diseases like AIDS and malaria to millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. She said her husband responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in a way that has kept the U.S. safe.

"I think that's very, very important," she said.

Mrs. Bush said that while the president laughed it off when an Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at him during a news conference earlier this month in Iraq, she was not amused. The president deftly dodged the shoes and was not hit. He continued the news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki after security officials dragged the journalist from the room.

"The president laughed it off," she said. "He wasn't hurt. He's very quick. As you know, he's a natural athlete and ducked it. But on the other hand, it is an assault. And I think it should be treated that way. And I think people should think of it that way."

On the other hand, she said the incident reflects change in Iraq.

"As bad as the incident is, in my view, it is a sign that Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves," she said.

Challenges critics of Afghanistan mission
She challenged critics who contend that Iraq was a distraction to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan where heightened violence is causing renewed instability.

"Well, I don't know that I would agree with that at all," Mrs. Bush said. "I don't think that's true at all. We've stayed very, very invested in Afghanistan. Not as invested militarily, maybe, and maybe that's what the critics say, that it should have been more military. But I think we stayed very invested.

"We're invested both financially with tons of support to Afghanistan, as well as every other way. I've met thousands, literally thousands, of different people who are Americans who are invested in Afghanistan in some way."

She said American women are helping women in Afghanistan get educated and assisting with microfinance to enable them to build small businesses and support themselves.

On other issues, Mrs. Bush said she was sad that the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was not faster, but that debate over the federal response overshadowed heroic efforts during the tragedy of the U.S. Coast Guard and other responders. She said she does not think the media, in general, is "fair."

Mrs. Bush spoke on "Fox News Sunday," while Rice was on CBS' "Sunday Morning."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments