President Bush gave his first "exit interview" to ABC Word News' Charles Gibson, and among the revelations: He was "unprepared" for the 9/11 attacks and regretted the WMD intelligence that led him to the Iraq War. He said, "I think was unprepared for war. In other words, I didn't campaign and say, 'Please vote for me, I'll be able to handle an attack.' In other words, I didn't anticipate war. Presidents-- one of the things about the modern presidency is that the unexpected will happen." Bush does believe that 9/11 brought the country together, though.
He added, "A lot of people put their reputations on the line and said the weapons of mass destruction is a reason to remove Saddam Hussein. It wasn't just people in my administration. A lot of members of Congress, prior to my arrival in Washington D.c., during the debate on Iraq, a lot of leaders of the nations around the world were all looking at the same intelligence. I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess." And when Gibson asked him if he would have gone to war, knowing that there were no WMDs, he said, "That is a do-over that I can't do."
Another regret: Not passing a comprehensive bill on immigration reform. But President Bush doesn't regret his actions about the economy so far, including passing the $700 billion bailout (he points out that Treasury Secretary Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke were saying, "If we don't act boldly, we could be in a depression greater than the Great Depression") and not saving Lehman ("We'll let the historians look back on that").
You can read the entire transcript of the interview here. Also interesting: Video of Bush, Laura Bush and daughter Barbara Bush discussing President-elect Obama's victory; the elder Bushes said they never thought they'd see an African-American elected president in their lifetimes, whereas Barbara said she did.