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In His First Interview, Bush Admits Mistakes & Defends Decisions

In his first one-on-one television interview since leaving the White House, former President George W. Bush talked about regrets, accomplishments and his legacy with NBC's Matt Lauer.

This is all part of the President's book tour for his memoir “Decision Points” which goes on sale today.

In looking back, the President told Lauer that one of the biggest mistakes he made was on May 1, 2003 when he stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier under a banner saying “Mission Accomplished” and declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

“No question it was a mistake,” Bush said of the scene that still reverberated seven years later as the war raged on.

“If I had to do it all over again, which you don't get to do when you're the president, you know, I’d have said, ‘Good going, men and women, great mission’ or something.”

Bush said that he was caught up in an “exhilarating moment.”

The president also talks about a photo taken of him as he flew over the damage left by Hurricane Katrina. In the picture, he is peering out the window of Air Force One at the storm-ravaged region and it made him look, in his words, “detached and uncaring."

You can watch the full interview beginning here and then on the continued pages.

BUSH ON 9/11

In this clip, the former president remembers 9/11 - the emotions, the decisions and how the communication system on board Air Force One failed.

BUSH ON WATERBOARDING

In this clip, the president discusses what it was like in the White House in the weeks and months after 9/11 and how decisions were made in that atmosphere.

BUSH ON GOING TO WAR & DICK CHENEY

In this clip, the president discusses his decision to go to war with Iraq, his relationship with Vice President Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, "Bush's Brain."

BUSH ON THE FAILURES OF DEALING WITH HURRICANE KATRINA

In this clip, the president discusses how for many, Hurricane Katrina became a defining moment for him and his administration and the "lack of crisp response" from the White House in dealing with the disaster in those initial days.

BUSH ON THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND ON HOW HISTORY WILL JUDGE HIM

In this clip, the president talks about the early days of the financial crisis and how he "abandoned the free market - to save the system."

The president also reflects in this clip on how history will judge him.

Email me at bullishonbooks@cnbc.comAnd follow me on Twitter @BullishonBooks

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