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He predicted that the economic collapse will teach consumers a lesson.

“I think we come back better. I think we come back with a better appreciation of not borrowing too much money, of not creating financial instruments that are hard to understand, of not giving implicit guarantees to government institutions that encouraged them to go out and lend a lot of money in the first place,” he said.

The president likened the Republican Party’s political situation today to the period after the 1964 election, when President Johnson defeated Republican nominee Barry Goldwater in a landslide and Mr. Bush’s father lost a bid for the Senate.

Mr. Bush said the Republican Party rebounded in 1966. It “didn’t change its philosophy but came out with a message that was appealing to people from all walks of life,” and bounced the old leadership in favor of “a group of young candidates that said, ‘We are the future,’” he said.

Asked how he wanted to be remembered, Mr. Bush said: “President Bush was the president at a time that our nation was attacked. He clearly saw the dangers; he pursued the enemy; he put tools in place so the professionals could better protect the American people, and the homeland was not attacked.”