November 28th, 2008
06:10 PM ET
2 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. doonie

    I don't like this guy, never voted for him either. But what gets in my crawl are the people who did and now claim "good riddance".Those voters are every bit as responsible for the wars and economic mess we're in as he is.

    November 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Roger

    He forgot to mention the housing/banking crisis and record deficit. Oh well, at least Iraq is "free".

    November 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Al

    I would very much like for him to just state that he made some major mistakes. This same "virtue" of sticking to his values is what causes him to stubbornly stick with his reckless decisions. Mr. Bush, in my book, you are a failure who will not be fondly remembered.

    November 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Thank you President Bush for your leadership. I appreciate your values and look forward to your return back to us in Texas.

    November 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Michael

    Bush has a sister?

    November 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Eric

    Yeah, right!

    United Nations War Time Tribunal is coming to a state near you.

    November 28, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. FreeNLovIt

    We would have been light years ahead of everybody with Gore's vision of a sound economic. Thank you W for CRUSHING terrorists. They deserved terrors, but now, it's time to bring negotiation and go with Obama. There's a time for everything.

    November 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. Independent In NY

    Yeah, it's OK to sacrifice New Orleans, but values, hey that would be just plain wrong.........

    November 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    "I darn sure wasn't going to sacrifice [my] values." translates as
    obstinance, arrogance and ineptitude. Pride goeth before the fall, and now our nation is falling economically and politically. Why did so many people vote for this man? That's the bigger problem!

    November 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. nelly54

    I want him to slide into obscurity as fast a possible.

    I agree with Barbara, lock him up. He truly is clueless

    November 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Mike Boze

    What missed opportunities.

    November 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. kieran mc hale

    can somebody tell me the answer to this question who is bush waiving to in the picture above

    November 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. nygranny

    Yes, I can see where he hasn't lost any of his values, he's going out trying to put in place more permanent rules violating the environment and it's endangered species, selling out our public lands to the energy companies. He and Cheney raped and pillaged this country, it's standing and respect in the world, the US economy. He goes out (and yes don't we wish today) with the worst rating since recorded time. I don't know how the man and his family can face the public, never mind look at themselves in the mirror!
    Can't go fast enough for me! We have an enormous amount of work to do undoing all the wrongs this man enacted upon this country!

    November 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. John

    Bush and all his cronies should be publicly hung and quartered for the crimes they committed....

    November 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Ray

    It just proves what's between his ears,AIR. Ergo airhead.

    November 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. sam NJ

    George W. Bush going to remember as a worst one in our History...

    his sporters as well

    November 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. s

    "I darn sure wasn't going to sacrifice [my] values." translates into
    obstinance, arrogance and ineptitude. Pride goeth before the fall, and now our nation is falling economically and politically. Why did so many people vote for this man? That's the bigger problem!

    November 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. FreeNLovIt

    As a Christian, he did stood by his moral values on abortion and marriage. The only flaw on his economic policies was that only the top 1% benefitted and there was no gov oversight and everything crashed in a heap of hell.

    November 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. AE

    Unfortunately, old age is going to be very kind to this jerk. If he can only cite 3 things to be proud of over an eight year period and has completely overlooked the harm he has done the country, his twilight years will be kind to him.

    Fortunately, we will also forget about him and move on. I leave it to history to put him through the shredder ( much like he did to our Constitution.

    Good bye and good riddens!

    November 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. julie

    I guess his ego is the value he most upholds?

    November 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. S, Miami, FL

    "Bush also indicated he hopes his legacy is evaluated on success in the War in Iraq..."

    Oh, it will be, but the word "success" won't be included.

    November 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. Packer

    It all depends on how one defines "value." Bishop Fulton Sheen once said, "There is one thing worse than committing a sin or mistake, and that is the refusal to admit it." The value of GWB is his refusal to rectify his mistakes, including the Iraq war.

    November 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. Andy

    Were those values best demonstrated at Abu Ghraib or Guantanomo? just wondering

    November 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. Walt D

    If President Bush is leaving with the same set of values that he brought with him to the office, then the only explanation for this is the initially brought a low set of values and standards. For, in his eight years, that is what we experienced, namely: low values and low standards of behavior.

    Fortunately with Obama, I'm confident we are going to experience a higher level of values and standards. That is why I believe he will bring us out of the political, economical and social regression we've been experiencing in our society especially in the Bush years.

    November 28, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Capt. lightning

    Cheyney ran the presidency.

    Bush had his one chance to name a tough anti-abortion judge to the Supreme court, his first choice? Harriet Myers, his personal attorney and a lighter lightweight than Sarah Putin Palin.

    But blame those liberal media types for asking him a trick question on his values.

    November 28, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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