November 28th, 2008
06:10 PM ET
7 months ago

Bush reflects on legacy: 'I'm leaving with the same set of values'

ALT TEXT

President Bush says he wants to be remembered as a president who stuck to his values. (GETTY IMAGES)

(CNN) - Reflecting on his eight-year presidency, President Bush said above all he would like to be remembered as a commander-in-chief who remained faithful to his values and "did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process."

In an interview with his younger sister, Doro Bush Koch, the president said he was forced to make several difficult choices during his tenure in the White House, but added "I darn sure wasn't going to sacrifice [my] values."

Excerpts of the interview, released by The White House [PDF]

"I came to Washington with a set of values, and I'm leaving with the same set of values," Bush told Koch in an interview taped earlier this month that aired on National Public Radio Thursday.

Bush also indicated he hopes his legacy is evaluated on success in the War in Iraq, America's efforts to combat AIDS, and the passage of Medicare legislation in 2003.

"I'd like to be a President (known) as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace; that focused on individuals rather than process; that rallied people to serve their neighbor; that led an effort to help relieve HIV/AIDS and malaria on places like the continent of Africa; that helped elderly people get prescription drugs and Medicare as a part of the basic package; that came to Washington, D.C., with a set of political statements and worked as hard as I possibly could to do what I told the American people I would do," Bush said.

In the same wide-ranging interview, Bush said it was a "fabulous experience to be president," but said he would not miss being in the daily spotlight.

"This is a job which, you know, obviously had a lot of stress to it; it has a lot of pressure," he said.

The interview was conducted for StoryCorps, a national oral history initiative.


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (743 Responses)
  1. PAUL W., TAMPA

    Yeah, we know George. You don't learn from your mistakes, hence you go out as you came in.

    November 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. mittz

    IF and ONLY IF they were the values of the NWO-–

    November 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. gc

    He sold his soul to big business (medicare) and oil (Iraq). He is making the final payment as we speak. He did do good work for Aids. I suspect that Cheney's daughter had something to do with that.

    November 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Sarah TX

    Good bye evil roads

    November 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Evan Caster

    Bush will be remembered as the worst president in history.
    Because of his set of -low- values, he earned the hatred of the entire world.
    He should leave office now, before he can make more damage and kill more innocent people.
    .
    Evan

    November 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. strong

    Don't be so hard on George W. Bush.

    He was only doing what he was told to do. Can you say 'puppet?'

    November 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. jaime in PDX

    "he hopes his legacy is evaluated on success in the War in Iraq" & "I'd like to be a President (known) as somebody who liberated 50 million people" ? He is Delusional. How can he say "success" when thousands died and hundreds of thousands displaced and suffering and a once great nation on an economic troubles for his values? My greatest disappointment is that there were people who voted for him to stay for another term.

    November 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. Jeff Hunter

    one of the great things about Canada is that when we have elections, the person who wins takes over the very next day. America needs to adopt that policy especially re: George (Hitler) Bush

    November 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. Corey

    People do get that if George W. Bush resigns today, Dick Cheney becomes president (well, some say Dick Cheney sorta already was).

    November 28, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. Greg Bjugstad

    Bush has tried to do everything possible to sell off America and his soul was sold years ago. He has made a shambles of the republican party and caused the populace to settle for a socialist. George Bush can take his NAU, SPP, Law of the Sea, free trade, economic and open borders policies and go to that special place in Hell prepared for him.

    November 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. Boston, MA

    How many people died during Iraqi nonsense war? "A liberator"? Millions of people lost their jobs. He is leaving the Country in the worst shape since the great depression, world war I & I. Please exist quietly! I hope you really reflect on last 8 years. Please did not write a memoir. I believe the American people won't care too much about it!

    November 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    LIBERATED 5 million?

    countless tens of thousands dead on HIS decision.

    November 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. LaTreetha E. Sharpley

    President Bush, was choosen by the neo-cons, because he was not a very intellingent person. They used him to futher their ideals and the mission they saw. Those ideals and mission has ruined not only the US, but the entire world. My friend said in 2004, America elected George W. Bush, and the entire world will pay and that saying has become the truth. As a nation we will come back from this disaster, and rise again to be a great nation. If we will work with our President-elect Obama, and give him time to start his relief. If we will not become so angry and forget what made us strong and powerful. We can keep the spirit that we enbodied during the presidental campagin of YES WE CAN, as a nation we will.

    November 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    I'm not a fan by any means - but it's clear he actually believes he's done a great job - and that's sad.

    He'll be remembered for peace brought about by war?
    He'll be remembered for a Medicare reform that did more for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries than it did for Medicare recipients?

    Please - go off to your sad, delusional retirement, Mr. Bush.

    November 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Ed

    George W is the White House turkey that needs pardoning.

    What a failed presidency this was!

    November 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. manhandler

    I guess History will ultimately be the final judge as to whether the decisions he made were catastropic or ultimately beneficial. We won't know for a long time. He does get credit from me for coming up with and instituting a huge effort to combat AIDS in Africa and around the world. Probably has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Ronald Reagan couldn't even get him self to say the name of the disease publicly. He's right about the job. Who would want to put themselves in that position. Not many.

    November 28, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Mickey in Texas

    Bush left a "legacy" all right!
    1)Being the worst President in US history.
    2)Creating a war for profit and crimes against humanity (w/o sucess) and vast devastation to innocent American soldiers and innocent women, men and children.
    3)Bankrupting an entire nation (the USA.)
    4) Allowing the only person willing to do a biased (or any) report on his supposed "Legacy," (his sister!)
    I hope like heck that San Fransico proceeds to name that sewage treatment plant after him as planned. It is the only way we can make sure crap like his will never happen again! Bush don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you!

    November 28, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Tom in NJ

    "I'd like to be a President (known) as somebody who... focused on individuals rather than process..."

    *ahem*

    Bin Laden?

    President Bush. FAIL.

    November 28, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Dan in NH

    Well for once I agree with Bush: "I came to Washington with a set of values, and I'm leaving with the same set of values," He came with none and he is leaving the same way! Fuuny when you consider it is coming from a man that invades countries that had nothing to do with 9/11, condones torture and thumbs his nose at the US Constitution and the US Supreme Court!

    November 28, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. Buckeye

    The man it totally delusional. Not only did we have to endure the worst president in US history, but now we know he is a madman as well. Good riddance. Please leave today.

    November 28, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. Tomkatinseattle

    Dick Cheney has W's "Soul Contract" safely locked up in his wall safe-he brokered the deal with the Devil himself with his inside connections. The entire administration, current and past, should serve time behind bars. The values he refers to are the same values shared by the GOP followers-tainted and twisted. Americans have voted these criminals out one by one, don't be surprised if more are ousted in 2010. Legacy? Someone has always got to be at the bottom of the Worst Presidents list. I think W has rightfully earned that place to the Nixon family's sigh of relief....M2C

    -Tomkat-

    November 28, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. raagos

    bush please go away. u are worst person in world. AM WILLING TO BUY HIM ONE WAY TICKET TO LEAVE WASHIINGTON DC

    November 28, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. Over taxed, over worked

    Torture, no more habeus corpus, illegal wiretapping, outing of CIA agents, WMD, political firings, Katrina, financial disater, Not protecting us on 9/11.......on and on and on.......

    November 28, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. Eyes wide open

    Bush is proud that he "remained faithful to his values" in spite of the all evidence of poor decisions?

    He truly is a nut case that is blinded by his ego. It is no surprise the GOP didn't want this clown at the Convention.

    His "values" are seriously screwed up and have brought this Great Nation to some very difficult crisis. He just can't comprehend it.

    November 28, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. DJ

    Bottom line, his appeal has always been that he plays the idiot in a room full of Ivy Leaguers, and since he figured out that there are more idiots than Ivy Leaguers out there, he exploited that reality for all it was worth. Despicable, really. This was not a leader .This was a demagogue. And how sad that Americans bought it. We needed a leader SO BADLY, and he joked and stumbled his way through EIGHT WHOLE YEARS while the nation crumbled around him. He should disappear from the limelight and never, EVER come back. In January, our long national nightmare may be over, but it will be years before we understand completely the damage this man and his cronies have done to our nation.

    November 28, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30