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'No regrets on leaving White House'

world Updated: Jan 21, 2009 22:16 IST

AFP
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George W Bush took the podium for the first time as a former president Tuesday, arriving in Texas after passing the US helm on to President Barack Obama and saying he had no regrets about his eight years in office.

"History will be the judge of my decisions but when I walked out of the Oval Office this morning, I left with the same values that I took to Washington eight years ago," he told a crowd of welcomers in Midland, Texas.

Bush's words appeared to answer Obama's implied criticism in his inaugural speech of his predecessor's disregard for constitutional rights for the sake of national safety, when Obama said: "we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

Widely criticized for his foreign and domestic policy blunders and owner of the lowest popularity rating ever for a sitting US president, Bush was unrepentant about his actions.

"When I get home tonight and look in the mirror, I am not going to regret what I see. Except maybe some gray hair," said Bush, with his wife Laura standing beside him.

As to his future as a former commander-in-chie, Bush said he planned to write a book and monitor the building of a presidential center in Dallas, Texas, in his honor.

"I might even give a few speeches," he said.

"I'm the first former president to be able to share the post-presidency with both my parents," he added, referring to former president George H.W. Bush and wife, Barbara.

But facing home life in Dallas, where his wife bought a new home he said he had not seen, calling it "the first faith-based initiative of the post-presidency," Bush said his wife was excited about him mowing the lawn and taking out the trash. "It's my new domestic agenda."