President Bush gave what was billed as his last press conference as president today. In addition to thanking the press corps for their work over the last eight years, the president answered questions on his legacy and current events. You can read more about the specifics of what Mr. Bush said here.
Following the president, CBS News Early Show news anchor Russ Mitchell got reactions from CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer and chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod. Here are parts of what they had to say:
Schieffer: "This was George Bush reflecting, and this is not a person who has reflected very much – at least not in public.
"He talked about mistakes that he made. He said it was a mistake to push social security reform right after the election, that he should have pushed immigration reform. He talked about how Republicans have to change the message on immigration… He said he made some mistakes on things he said. He talked about putting up that sign on the aircraft carrier 'mission accomplished' – he said that was probably a mistake.
"But I thought the most touching moment really was when he said 'I now have a front row seat to watch history, to watch the swearing-in of an African-American as president.' And he said that is an amazing moment. I think at that point he spoke for a lot of people in the country, both Democrats and Republicans.
"This was George Bush being the son of his father, who was a very gracious man. He most of all in this news conference… was very gracious. Not only to the people who've covered him all these years, but to the person who will now succeed him in the oval office."
Axelrod: I think I was most taken when he ruled out any sense of self-pity. At one point he talked about whether or not he would feel self-pity and he said 'forget it, that's just pathetic,' which I thought was a kind of interesting moment…
"This is not a man who is given to a great deal of public introspection. And most of his comments today, even questions that were about the news of the day, he managed to find a way to sort of veer off a bit and do a little bit of reflecting over the last eight years. It was definitely a very different tone than I've seen at any point in the last three years."
You can watch video of the exchange below: