George W. Bush to critics of Africa trip: ‘Let ’em continue to babble’

Katie McHugh Associate Editor
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On ABC’s “This Week” with Jon Karl, former president George W. Bush dismissed critics’ claims that he dedicated his retirement to fighting HIV in Africa to atone for mistakes he made during the Iraq War, which claimed the lives of over 4,400 American servicemen and perhaps over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, calling such talk “absurd psychobabble.”

“I know you’re not into psychoanalysis,” Karl said as Bush shook his head and laughed.  “These are your critics that say that all of this Africa work you’re doing, that a big part of it is, you’re trying to make up for mistakes you made in Iraq or elsewhere — what do you say to that?”

“Let ’em continue to babble,” Bush said.

“Not true?” Karl asked.

“I’m trying to think of the proper term,” Bush said, pausing. “Absurd psychobabble.”

Bush also declined to wade further into the gay marriage debate, telling Karl he was “out of politics” and adding the only way he could make news is to “either criticize the president, which I don’t want to do, criticize my own party, or weigh in on a controversial issue.”

Both George W. and Laura Bush visited Livingston, Zambia to refurbish a clinic where women can be screened for cervical cancer as part of the Bush Institute’s Cancer Prevention Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Campaign.  Ten years ago, then-President Bush signed into law the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and as a result, according to ABC’s “This Week,” one million children in Africa have been born without deadly HIV infections. President Barack Obama praised Bush for the law, calling it “one of his crowning achievements.” The two presidents had an unusual but cordial meeting in Tanzania last week.

“I’m off the stage,” Bush continued, “unless I’m promoting something I strongly believe in, and I believe that what we’re doing in Africa is incredibly important. And will continue to do so, so long I can — so long as I’m ambulatory.”


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