Prez Says Freedom Institute Won't Be "George Bush's Wonderful Place"

Regrets, he's had a few: President Bush has done a lot of navel-gazing in recent days -- on CNN earlier this month, followed by a sit-down with his sister Doro Bush Koch on behalf of StoryCorps, excerpts from which began appearing Friday. Tonight comes the former and future Dallas resident's latest heart-to-heart, this time with ABC News' Charlie Gibson, during which he's joined by his missus, as you can see from the photo. Just yesterday, Laura spoke to Tom Brokaw about the SMU campus "freedom institute" and how she and the president will spend their time once back in Texas: "We'll spend probably ... the weekdays in Dallas and the weekends at the ranch" in Crawford.

But during the ABC sitdown, the president has much more to say about his presidential library and especially the freedom institute, about which, of course, there's been much grumbling during the last year, especially among some Methodists who don't want a partisan policy center on the school's campus. Seems the president's trying to allay the naysayers' fears. Why he's building it here is obvious: SMU, he says, "is where Laura went, right there in the heart of Dallas." But the what is after the jump. --Robert Wilonsky

This institute is going to be an interesting place, a public policy forum. It will be -- it's non-partisan. It's not going to be George Bush's wonderful place. It's going to be a place where smart people come and debate issues and talk about issues. But it will also be a launching pad for a variety of projects. I mean, I could conceivably help organize people going to volunteer on the President's Malaria Initiative, for example. I keep talking about malaria, because it happens to be the type of initiative where it is easy to plug in volunteers.


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