Outgoing US President George W Bush has given his final press conference, defending his record but conceding he made many mistakes. You can watch the whole thing here, or read the transcript here. This is how the pundits saw it:

Marvelously out of touch. President Bush’s farewell press conference was classic: Not merely was he out of touch with reality, but he was angry that reality was out of touch with him. — Robert Schlesinger, US News

Exit stage left. President Bush had his last bout with the White House press corps, and I thought he gave as he good as he got. The White House press corps, like a lot of Americans (if the polls are any indication), liked the president personally, but didn’t think he was up to the job and hated his policies. — John Feehery, The Hill

Isolated, but self aware. I think even people who oppose the Bush Administration’s policies would find it somewhat harder to dislike him viscerally after this performance — rather than getting angrier the more they see him, as with most of his appearances over these last eight years… Even though he defended his tax cuts and his other policies and even the execution of the Katrina response, everything in his posture, expression, and body language — even his emphasis on the word defeat in talking about the 2008 results — indicated that he has taken in the fact that things have not gone well. — James Fallows, The Atlantic

Bush has a peculiar way of admitting to his mistakes. Bush, we know now, was determined to invade Iraq and “take out Saddam” no matter what. His disappointment, as he tells it now, clearly was not that he relied on deliberately skewed intelligence that told him what he wanted to hear, but rather simply that Saddam didn’t have the damned things. — David Neiwert, Crooks & Liars

Bush’s Non-Mea-Culpa Tour 2009. George W Bush the wise and somber presidential veteran. Spare me. But as Bush prepares to leave office, he’s trying to strike that sort of tone. I suppose it’s easier to pontificate about the office of the presidency than to say, “Boy, did I screw up, I’m outta here.” — David Corn, MoJo Blog

Redefining success, one rooftop rescue at a time. Still-President George W Bush, looking this morning like most of America now feels, stood before the White House press corps one last time to express his undying gratitude for their p-ss-poor performance during his eight years in office. From groggy start to rambling finish, it was a jaw-dropping performance. — Gregg Levine, Firedoglake

Peter Fray

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