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During the "All-Star Panel" segment on the January 2 edition of Fox News' Special Report, panelist and Washington Examiner senior White House correspondent Bill Sammon, reporting that many at former President Gerald Ford's funeral service had accepted as correct Ford's decision to pardon former President Richard M. Nixon, speculated that President Bush's decision to invade Iraq might also be viewed as "right" in the future. Sammon said that, at the funeral service, he "heard people saying ... 'You know, maybe Ford was right about the pardon; the press and the Democrats all said he was wrong at the time.' " Sammon continued: "[Y]ou can't help but wonder if, a quarter century or whatever from now, people are going to say the same thing about George W. Bush -- maybe he was right to try to democratize the Middle East and liberate 50 million people."
Sammon's musings echo Bush's own view. At the end of a December 20 press conference, Bush said he discounted "short-term" views of his presidency:
[T]he true history of any administration is not going to be written until long after the person is gone. It's just impossible for short-term history to accurately reflect what has taken place. Most historians, you know, probably had a political preference, and so their view isn't exactly objective -- most short-term historians. And it's going to take a while for people to analyze mine or any other of my predecessors until down the road when they're able to take -- watch the long march of history and determine whether or not the decisions made during the eight years I was president have affected history in a positive way.
Bush has also reportedly compared himself to former President Harry S. Truman. According to Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Bush said during a meeting about Iraq that, "Harry Truman, with the Truman Doctrine, came up with the right doctrine, the right approach, to fight communism. It wasn't popular. He left office not as popular as he once was, but history showed he was right."
From the January 2 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:
HUME: Is it fair to say that Ford, successfully or not, fought to restore some of those powers?
SAMMON: Well, I talked to Cheney about this, and he says that the powers reached a low point during the Ford administration because of the aftermath of Vietnam, because of the aftermath of Watergate, and all of these restrictions were put into place to weaken the power of the presidency, the executive authority. And Cheney and Bush have very consciously tried to use their years in office to swing the pendulum the other way. Some would argue that it's gone too far. But you know, Brit, I was -- two and a half years ago I was in the National Cathedral for [Ronald] Reagan's funeral, and I remember looking down at the five -- at that time, five ex-presidents -- now it's down to three -- and I remember all the pundits saying "Well, maybe Reagan was right about, you know, 'tear down this wall' or the 'evil empire,' and maybe we were wrong about him." And now, I can't help but be struck -- I was at the funeral service over the weekend at the Capitol rotunda, and I heard people saying, you know, as we heard today, "You know, maybe Ford was right about the pardon; the press and the Democrats all said he was wrong at the time." And it -- you can't help but wonder if, a quarter of a century or whatever from now, people are going to say the same thing about George W. Bush -- maybe he was right to try to democratize the Middle East and liberate 50 million people.