Fox News Interview: Brit Hume Talks With George W. Bush
Commenting on the ongoing energy crisis in California, Bush said California will have to dig itself out of whatever hole it is in.
Bush described the state's problem as a long-term issue that he will look into, but with the underlying premise that California has to fix the problem.
"To the extent that the federal government can help California help itself, I will do so and my administration will do so," Bush said. "But California passed the law and to the extent that law needs to be corrected, California needs to correct it."
On his Cabinet nominees, Bush said no one should be surprised that they share his philosophy on the major issues that will fall under their charge.
He said he is not the least bit surprised about the attacks on Interior Department nominee Gale Norton by environmentalists and other liberal groups, particularly over her support for opening some federal lands like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration and drilling.
"I knew some of my nominees would come under fire," he said. "I came under fire. But when I campaigned for office, I said we need to have a reasonable exploration of policy on public lands in order to make us less dependent upon foreign sources of crude oil, for example."
To critics that claim he does not have the right to appoint people like John Ashcroft to his Cabinet because he lacks a clear mandate, Bush said: "Too bad. I'm going to."
Bush said he made his positions clear during the campaign and won an election against an opponent who "was basically an incumbent" with a strong economy and relatively peaceful globe in his sails.
"I wish I could say it was my charming personality, or the ability to string a couple of sentences together" that won the election for him, Bush said. But "the truth of the matter is I'm sitting here because I took firm positions on important issues and didn't back off.
"And I'm not backing off the minute I arrive in Washington," he added. "Quite the contrary — I'm going to take those issues I campaigned on and campaign hard for their enactment because I believe it's the right thing for the country."