Former President George W Bush said he was pleased but not joyous when he learned US forces had killed Osama bin Laden.
The Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Intelligencer Journal and New Era said Mr Bush praised President Barack Obama for making the tough call to go after the terrorist mastermind in Pakistan.
Mr Bush made the remarks to more than 2,500 people at the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry's annual dinner.
The 43rd president was by turns serious and humorous as he spoke about the defining decisions of his presidency.
Mr Bush defended his authorisation of enhanced interrogation techniques. He also defended the 700 billion US dollar financial bailout plan of 2008.
Mr Bush left office in January 2009. He has kept a low profile since returning to his home in Texas, working on a memoir and appearing occasionally at speeches.