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George W. Bush talks Obama, immigration, gay marriage on 'This Week'

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   July 7, 2013 at 8:15 PM   |   Comments

July 7 (UPI) -- George W. Bush has kept a low-profile since he left the presidency to Barack Obama in 2008, but in a Sunday interview with ABC News' "This Week," the former president and first lady sat down to discuss various political issues at the center of recent debate.

When asked about President Obama's counter-terrorism initiatives, and recent revelations about the National Security Agency's PRISM program, Bush had only praise for his successor.

“I think the President got into the Oval Office and realized the dangers to the United States, and he's acted in a way that he thinks is necessary to protect the country. Protecting the country’s the most important job of the presidency," the 67-year-old former president said.

As for the immigration bill making its way through Congress, Bush said he was pleased that reform was on its way.

"It's very important to fix a broken system, to treat people with respect and have confidence in our capacity to assimilate people," he said. "It's a very difficult bill to pass because there's a lot of moving parts. The legislative process can be ugly. But it looks like they're making some progress."

"This Week's" Jonathan Karl also pressed the former president about a recent comment he made regarding gay marriage, in which Bush paraphrased the Bible. "I shouldn’t be taking a speck out of somebody else’s eye when I have a log in my own," he said.

Asked to explain his comment, Bush said that he "meant it’s very important for people not to be overly critical of someone else until you examine your own heart.”

But warned Karl that he was too far removed from politics to take a stand on gay marriage in the wake of recent Supreme Court rulings.

“I meant that I wasn’t going to answer the question then, and I’m not going to answer it now,” Bush told Karl. “I just don’t want to wade back into the debate. I’m out of politics.” Bush then averred a bit. “I meant it’s very important for people not to be overly critical of someone else until you examine your own heart.”

“I’m not going to wade into those kinds of issues," he added. "The only way I can really make news is either criticize the president, which I don’t want to do, criticize my own party, or wade in on a controversial issue. I’m off the stage.”

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