Former President George W. Bush signaled on Thursday that he sees not reforming Social Security as his greatest failure from the eight years he served in the White House, the Chicago Tribune reports. In 2005, the president unsuccessfully tried to partially privatize Social Security.
The unpopular Republican leader made the suggestion while speaking at a trade conference in the Windy City, where he discussed his legacy and also offered a glimpse into what readers can expect from his forthcoming memoir, Decision Points.
"I would like to be remembered as a guy who had a set of priorities, and was willing to live by those priorities," explained Bush. "In terms of accomplishments, my biggest accomplishment is that I kept the country safe amidst a real danger."
Bush poked fun at himself in addressing how his thoughts will be delivered in his memoir.
"I have written a book," he said. "This will come as quite a shock to some. They didn't think I could read, much less write."
With the 2010 midterm election just weeks away, it's possible that the comments from the former president may leave some members of the GOP community a bit uneasy. Over the summer, it was reported that the release date for Bush's memoir -- November 9 -- had Republicans concerned that the timing could hurt the party's chances at the polls.
Matt Latimer, a former Bush appointee, wrote about the matter at the Daily Beast at the time:
[Some] Republicans, particularly those most closely tied to the Bush regime, actually argue the book could help the party by reminding some voters of what they liked about Bush. Still, that has not stopped some Republicans, traumatized over the last two election cycles, from fearing the worst. "Monumentally bad timing" was the reaction of one former Bush aide who learned of the book release date. Another prominent conservative compared the Bushies' public-relations savvy to LeBron James. "Selfish and stupid" was another noted right-wing columnist's reaction
As the criticism relates to Bush's regret that he couldn't achieve privatizing social security, it seems that his remarks couldn't have come at a worse time.
Time magazine reported earlier this week on Democratic efforts to score points with voters ahead of the midterms on the social security issue. In some cases, Democrats are even tying the matter to the former president.
"Instead of helping seniors," explained House Speaker Pelosi's office to the publication, "Republicans, backed by their allies on Wall Street, are threatening to privatize and cut Social Security, just as they tried to do under President Bush."
It shouldn't come as a surprise that following the former White House leader's remarks on Thursday, Democrats were quick to once again pounce on the issue.
"Republicans' agenda is what it always was -- turn the Social Security seniors worked hard to earn over to Wall Street," said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Press Secretary Ryan Rudominer. "If Republicans has their way, seniors could have lost 40 percent of their retirement investments when the market crashed. America's seniors deserve better."