WASHINGTON -- Former President George W. Bush has steered clear of criticizing President Obama, saying his time in the spotlight is over and he does not want to distract the man who holds the job he used to hold.
But during an interview at his Texas ranch with The Huffington Post, published Thursday, Bush did talk about the fact that Obama's second term, which is still less than six months old, has come under strain from numerous scandals.
"I'm not surprised," Bush said. "I think that if you study the modern presidency, two-term presidents have a different set of issues on their second term than their first term. One thing's for certain. After seven years or eight years, people are beginning to say, 'Surely we can do better than this.'"
"Secondly, the unexpected happens, and if you look at Ronald Reagan or Clinton or myself -- myself in particular -- there's kind of a fatigue," Bush said. "So I'm not surprised the president is having a difficult go. It's part of the presidency. It's one of the challenges of the presidency, is how do you deal with this?"
HuffPost asked Bush if he had watched Obama's speech on drones and counterterrorism, an address that some observers said sounded a lot like Bush's own rhetoric on the issue when he was commander-in-chief. Bush, who is known for his aversion to TV, said he had not watched.
"I read the summary of it. And he's charting a course that he is comfortable with. I tend to look at it not from the political side of things, although obviously almost everything is political. I tend to look at it from a historical perspective," Bush said.
"I'm obviously a student of the presidency. I've read a lot about it and plus I was one. And it's just amazing how history repeats itself. So it'll be fascinating to watch. And the first thermometer to watch of course will be the midterms," he said.
Bush did not want to comment on the uproar over the Justice Department's targeting of Fox News reporter James Rosen for possible criminal acts, simply for reporting sensitive information. But Bush did have a nickname for Rosen, who covered him during his time in office.
"I like Rosey. I've known him a long time," Bush said. "I'm not going to comment on the situation. The facts will get sorted out."
Bush said he had read Rosen's book on former Attorney General John Mitchell, who served under President Nixon and went to jail for his role in Watergate.
"I read it and wrote him a note," Bush said.