So, I'm lying on the couch and Laura walks in and I say, 'Free at last,' and she says 'You're free all right, you're free to do the dishes.' So I say, 'You're talking to the former president, baby,' and she said, 'consider this your new domestic policy agenda.'
I told you I'm not going to criticize my successor. 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.
In the defense of our nation, a president must be a clear-eyed realist. There are limits to the smiles and scowls of diplomacy. Armies and missiles are not stopped by stiff notes of condemnation. They are held in check by strength and purpose and the promise of swift punishment.
I have zero desire, just so you know, to be in the limelight. I don't think it's good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor. You're not going to see me giving my opinions in the public arena, until I start selling my book. I'm going to emerge then submerge.
So, for example, a country was into recession right after I was sworn in, a dot-com bust had taken place. Then the attacks of September the 11th, and then of course the great financial meltdown in the -the fundamental question facing any presidency is how do you deal with the hand you're dealt?
I just didn't want to get out there anymore; I didn't want to get back into what I call 'the swamp.' And the other reason why is I don't think it's good for the presidency for a former president to be opining about his successor. President Obama's got plenty of critics - and I'm just not gonna be one.
We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace. We know that oppressive governments support terror, while free governments fight the terrorists in their midst. We know that free peoples embrace progress and life, instead of becoming the recruits for murderous ideologies.
For too long, many nations, including my own, tolerated, even excused, oppression in the Middle East in the name of stability. Oppression became common, but stability never arrived. We must take a different approach. We must help the reformers of the Middle East as they work for freedom, and strive to build a community of peaceful, democratic nations.
We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. And the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans. We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.
I'm amazed that there is such misunderstanding of what our country is about, that people would hate us. I am like most Americans. I just can't believe it, because I know how good we are, and we've got to do a better job of making our case. We've got to do a better job of explaining to the people in the Middle East, for example, that we don't fight a war against Islam or Muslims. We don't hold any religion accountable. We're fighting evil. And these murderers have hijacked a great religion in order to justify their evil deeds. And we cannot let it stand.