• The president admitted power and fame can ‘dim your vision’
  • He was speaking at a 100K bike ride attended by several injured veterans
  • Added he doesn’t ‘feel sorry for them’ and that they were ‘volunteers’ in war

By Daniel Bates

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He was the most powerful man on the planet for eight years. Now former US president George W Bush has spoken frankly about the  perils of leadership, saying holding on to power for too long can be ‘corrosive’.

Mr Bush, who served two terms in the White House, said he thought being in charge could ‘dim your vision’ because you get carried away with fame.

He admitted that while he was president he came to understand how ‘fame can become very addictive’.

Outspoken: President George W Bush said during a three-day 100K bike ride he doesn't feel sorry for injured vets. Here, the former president stands with one of the riders, retired Staff Sargent Matt DeWitt, who lost his arms on duty in Iraq

Outspoken: President Bush said during a 100K bike ride he doesn’t feel sorry for injured vets. Here, the former president stands with one of the riders, retired Staff Sargent Matt DeWitt, who lost his arms on duty in Iraq

Mr Bush said: ‘I’ve had all the fame a man could want… I don’t long for [fame]. Nor do I long for power. I’ve come to realise that power can be corrosive if you’ve had it for too long.

‘It can dim your vision. And so I came to the conclusion that, you know, I don’t long for fame.’

He also confessed he has deliberately avoided the limelight since leaving office

It is unclear whether the comments will help to rehabilitate his image.  A poll last year found he is the most unpopular living president, with 54 per cent saying they had an unfavourable view of him.

While 43 per cent said they did like him, this was low compared to the two-thirds who said they still liked former President Bill Clinton.

After he came into office in 2001, Mr Bush embarked on two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have resulted in the deaths of 6,471 American troops. Some 32,000 US soldiers were injured in Iraq and 18,000 in Afghanistan.

At least 132,000 civilians have died in both conflicts.

'Bad consequences': Bush, riding with a veteran above, said he knew the injuries many veterans suffer from were part of the 'bad consequences to war'

‘Bad consequences’: Bush, riding with a veteran above, said he knew the injuries many veterans suffer from were part of the ‘bad consequences to war’

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