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Bush tells Matt Lauer Kanye West Slam was ‘All Time Low’ in his Presidency

Knowing that it would likely receive healthy tune-in this morning from viewers interested in finding out what happened in last night’s elections, NBC’s “Today” previewed its interview with former President George W. Bush.

Today co-anchor Matt Lauer interviewed Bush this week, and it will air next Monday evening in primetime, followed by a live sit-down on “Today November 10. The appearances will be the first for Bush since he left office.

In a partial transcript released by NBC News, Bush reveals what he felt was, at the time, the “worst moment in his Presidency,” and it involves the media:

MATT LAUER:
About a week after the storm hit NBC aired a telethon asking for help for the victims of Katrina. We had celebrities coming in to ask for money. And I remember it vividly because I hosted it. And at one part of the evening I introduced Kanye West. Were you watching?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:
Nope.

MATT LAUER:
You remember what he said?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:

Yes, I do. He called me a racist.

MATT LAUER:
Well, what he said, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:
That’s — “he’s a racist.” And I didn’t appreciate it then. I don’t appreciate it now. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t appreciate the way he’s handled his business.” It’s another thing to say, “This man’s a racist.” I resent it, it’s not true, and it was one of the most disgusting moments in my Presidency.

MATT LAUER:
This from the book. “Five years later I can barely write those words without feeling disgust.” You go on. “I faced a lot of criticism as President. I didn’t like hearing people claim that I lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction or cut taxes to benefit the rich. But the suggestion that I was racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all time low.”

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:
Yeah. I still feel that way as you read those words. I felt ‘em when I heard ‘em, felt ‘em when I wrote ‘em and I felt ‘em when I’m listening to ‘em.

MATT LAUER:
You say you told Laura at the time it was the worst moment of your Presidency?

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:
Yes. My record was strong I felt when it came to race relations and giving people a chance. And– it was a disgusting moment.

MATT LAUER:
I wonder if some people are going to read that, now that you’ve written it, and they might give you some heat for that. And the reason is this–

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:
Don’t care.

MATT LAUER:
Well, here’s the reason. You’re not saying that the worst moment in you’re Presidency was watching the misery in Louisiana. You’re saying it was when someone insulted you because of that.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:
No — that– and I also make it clear that the misery in Louisiana affected me deeply as well. There’s a lot of tough moments in the book. And it was a disgusting moment, pure and simple.

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