It is tradition that an outgoing U.S. president gives his successor time on the job before speaking out on his performance. Well, it appears time's up for President Barack Obama. Former President George W. Bush is lashing out at the policies of the man who took his place in the Oval Office.
According to the Washington Times, Bush told a group of local business leaders in Erie, Penn. yesterday that he was "not going to criticize my successor," but then he went on to do just that.
On the economy, the former president said this about Obama's policy of government intervention in business:
"I know it's going to be the private sector that leads this country out of the current economic times we're in. You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money... Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States."
Of course, it was Bush who proposed the massive bank bailout last fall that became known as TARP. He said he did it on the guidance of his advisors, who said inaction could lead to another Great Depression.
Bush did not comment directly on President Obama's decision to close Guantanamo Bay and ban "enhanced interrogation" of terror suspects. But he did say:
"The way I decided to address the problem was twofold: One, use every technique and tool within the law to bring terrorists to justice before they strike again... I'll just tell you that there are people at Gitmo that will kill American people at a drop of a hat and I don't believe that -- persuasion isn't going to work. Therapy isn't going to cause terrorists to change their mind."
The former president also rejected the idea of "nationalizing" health care, criticizing the "public option" approach that Obama has made a centerpiece of his push to reform the system.
Bush has kept a relatively low profile since leaving office in January. He's settling into a new home in Dallas, and is traveling the country delivering speeches. The current administration had no comment on this latest speech.