Former President George W. Bush has caught a lot of grief over the years, but one comment that has caused more than most is his comment about Vladimir Putin’s soul. Bush says Putin changed and Russia is a disappointment in the freedom department. This account is explained in the book Decision Points and recounted at The Daily Caller.

BEIJING - AUGUST 08:  (L-R) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks with US President George W. Bush before the start of the Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at the National Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Bush says that he doesn’t believe that he was mistaken in his early assessment of the Russian leader. He explains that what he was talking about when he said that he looked into Putin’s eyes and got a “sense of his soul” was a story Putin had told him about his mother giving him a cross that she had blessed in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Left wingers and Bush detractors often bring up the statement whenever Vladimir Putin begins to assert himself as a strong armed dictator type to demonstrate a lack of judgment on the part of the former President.

As Bush explains in his book, Putin has steadily, since that initial meeting in 2001, become a disappointment to Bush. Russia has become a disappointment in the freedom department with Putin becoming Prime Minister after serving as President and speculating that he may return as President in 2012. Can anyone say dictator?

The bottom line is people fool people all the time; even world leaders. If Bush felt early on that he could trust Putin he has since learned that’s not the case. In response to Russia invading neighboring Georgia, Bush says that he warned Putin that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was hot-blooded when they met at the 2008 Olympics in China. Putin responded by saying that he too was hot-blooded. Bush says he looked into Putin’s eyes and said, “No Vladimir. You’re cold-blooded.”