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President Barack Obama listens as former president George W. Bush speaks in January.
President Barack Obama listens as former president George W. Bush speaks in January. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images
Former President George W. Bush made his first public comments after the killing of Osama bin Laden. He talked at a hedge fund manager's conference in Las Vegas. Wednesday's event was not open to the press, but ABC News reports one of their contributors was there.
Bush, reports ABC News, said he was eating souffle at Rise Restaurant with his wife, Laura, and two friends, when he got the call from President Barack Obama.
Obama, Bush said, described the mission in detail, and Bush told Obama, "Good call." ABC adds:
When asked by forum moderator Melissa Lee of CNBC how he felt upon learning the news, Bush said he was "not overjoyed," explaining that the campaign to track down the 9/11 mastermind was done not "out of hatred but to exact judgment."
The development is ultimately a victory for the American people, he said.
"The guy is dead. That is good," Bush said of bin Laden. "Osama's death is a great victory in the war on terror. He was held up as a leader."
"The intelligence services deserve a lot of credit. They built a mosaic of information, piece by piece," he said, claiming no credit for himself.
The Wall Street Journal reported on his speech and subsequent steak dinner with "hedge fund titans and billionaires." The paper doesn't report the details that ABC News did but does add this broad overview:
Mr. Bush is said to have praised Mr. Obama for the recent killing of Osama bin Laden. Mr. Bush reportedly said that when he received the call, he was eating a souffle with Mrs. Bush at Rise, a Dallas restaurant, and went home to take the call. He praised the intelligence community for piecing together the information, speech attendees said.
The night Obama announced bin Laden was dead, Bush issued a statement that echoed some of the things he said Wednesday.
"This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001," he said in the statement. "The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done."