Q I'd like to get your candid response to your perspective from the outside looking in, and now the inside looking out. Before you became President, obviously, you had some perceptions based on your family history, being governor, what it would be like to be President of the U.S. Now that you are President, and you've had a chance to go through the experience and you're in your second term, candidly, if you had it to do over, would there be anything that you'd do differently?Okay, so well then. But there's more:
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate it. The fundamental question
-- the threshold question is would I run, the first place. That's really the first question that one would ask. Now that I'm here, seeing what it's like, would I do it again, and the answer is, absolutely.
I have enjoyed this experience in a way that's hard for me to describe to you. Listen, there have been some rough moments. But it is an incredible honor to serve our country.
The second threshold question is, would I commit troops to protect the American people. It's really a fundamental question. Knowing what I know today, would I have done anything differently with our troops.
First, you got to know that the hardest decision for a President is to put anybody in harm's way -- because I fully understand the consequences of making such a decision. I was at church yesterday in Twentynine Palms. In the pew that I was sitting in was a mother and step-father grieving for a guy who lost his life. And I knew that I would have to deal with this as best as I possibly can.
I also wanted to let you know that it's before you commit troops that you must do everything you can to solve the problem diplomatically. And I can look you in the eye and tell you I feel I've tried to solve the problem diplomatically to the max, and would have committed troops both in Afghanistan and Iraq knowing what I know today. (Applause.)
The fundamental question on the Iraq theater, though, is did we put enough troops in there in the first place. That's the debate in Washington. I'm sure you've heard about it.Really? What rock is W buried under? I thought the fundamental question was if there was WMD and terrorists in Iraq. The answer knowing now that we didn't know then was unequivocal: Nope. Fuck, what planet is this guy living on?