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Bush won't criticize Obama

March 18, 2009|Associated Press

CALGARY, CANADA — Former President Bush said Tuesday that he won't criticize Barack Obama because the new U.S. president "deserves my silence," and said he planned to write a book about the 12 toughest decisions he made in office.

Bush said he wanted Obama to succeed, and that it was important that the new president had support. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has said that Obama's decisions threatened America's safety.

"I'm not going to spend my time criticizing him. There are plenty of critics in the arena," Bush said. "He deserves my silence.

"I love my country a lot more than I love politics," he said. "I think it is essential that he be helped in office."

An invitation-only event titled "Conversation With George W. Bush" attracted close to 2,000 guests who paid $3,100 per table.

Bush received two standing ovations from the largely business crowd.

About 200 protested outside the event; four of them were arrested.

Some protesters threw shoes at an effigy of Bush, a reference to the Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at the then-president during a December news conference in Baghdad.

"He shouldn't be able to go anywhere in the world and just present himself as a private citizen," protest organizer Peggy Askin said. "We do not have any use for bringing war criminals into this country. It's an affront."

Though Bush is unpopular in Canada, he is less so in conservative, oil-rich Alberta.

Bush didn't specify what the 12 hardest decisions were but said Iraq was better off without Saddam Hussein in power.

The event's organizers declined to say how much Bush was paid to speak.

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