George W. Bush

BUSH: Thank you.

We have been through a lot together. As I look to the room, I see Jake, Mike, Herman, Ann Compton. Just seemed like yesterday that -- that I was on the campaign trail and you were analyzing my speeches and my policies.

And I see a lot of faces that travel with me around the world and -- to places like Afghanistan and Iraq and Africa. I see some new faces, which goes to show there's some turnover in this business.

Through it all, it's been -- I have respected you. Sometimes I didn't like the stories that you wrote or reported on. Sometimes you misunderestimated me.

But always the relationship, I have felt, has been professional, and I appreciate it.

I appreciate -- I do appreciate working with you.

My friends say, "What is it like to deal with the press corps?" I say, "These are just people that are trying to do the best they possibly can."

And -- and so, here at the last press conference, I'm -- I'm interested in answering some of your questions, but mostly I'm interested in saying thank you for the job.

QUESTION: Thank you for those comments, Mr. President.

Here's a question: I'm wondering if you plan to ask Congress for the remaining $350 billion in bailout money? And, in terms of the timing, if you do that before you leave office, sir, are you motivated in part to make -- make life a little bit easier for President-elect Obama?

BUSH: I have talked to the president-elect about this subject. And I told him that if he felt that he needed the $350 billion, I would be willing to ask for it.

In other words, if he felt like it needed to happen on my watch.

The best course of action, of course, is to convince enough members of the Senate to vote positively for the -- for the request. And -- and, you know, that's all I can share with you, because that's all I know.

QUESTION: So you haven't made a request yet?

BUSH: Well, he hasn't asked me to make a request yet. And I don't intend to make a request unless he specifically asks me to make it.

He is -- you know, I've had -- my third conversation with him, and I -- I generally mean what I say. I wish him all the very best. I've found him to be very smart and engaging person.

And that lunch the other day was interesting: to have two guys who are nearly 85, two 62-year-olders and a 47-year-old. It's a kind of -- the classic generational statement.


George W. Bush

George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States.