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President George W. Bush expressed remorse that the global financial crisis has cost jobs and harmed retirement accounts and said he'll back more government intervention if needed to ease the recession.

"I'm sorry it's happening, of course," Bush said in a wide-ranging interview with ABC's "World News," which was airing Monday. "Obviously I don't like the idea of people losing jobs, or being worried about their 401(k)s. On the other hand, the American people got to know that we will safeguard the system. I mean, we're in. And if we need to be in more, we will."

The U.S. economy fell into a recession in December 2007, the National Bureau of Economic Research reported on Monday. Many economists believe the current downturn will last until the middle of 2009 and will be the most severe slump since the 1981-82 recession.

On the war in Iraq, Bush said the biggest regret of his presidency was the "intelligence failure" regarding the extent of the Saddam Hussein threat to the United States. With the support of Congress, Bush ordered the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 — a decision largely justified on grounds — later proved false — that Saddam was building weapons of mass destruction.

Asked if he would have ordered the U.S.-led invasion if intelligence reports had accurately indicated that Saddam did not have the weapons, Bush replied: "You know, that's an interesting question. That is a do-over that I can't do. It's hard for me to speculate."

During a discussion about what Americans should know about what it is like to be president, Bush was asked what he was most unprepared for going into the office.


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