May 22nd, 2009
01:23 PM ET
6 years ago

'Liberating feeling' to be out of office, says Bush

Former President George W. Bush told a high school audience Thursday that it's a 'liberating feeling' to no longer be president.
Former President George W. Bush told a high school audience Thursday that it's a 'liberating feeling' to no longer be president.

(CNN) - Yesterday - as his former vice president and his successor both gave major national security speeches in Washington, DC - former President Bush was nearly 1,900 miles away, telling a high school audience how "liberating" it felt to get some distance between himself and the burdens of governance.

"I no longer feel that great sense of responsibility that I had when I was in the Oval Office," he told listeners at New Mexico's Artesia High School, according to the Roswell Daily Record. "And frankly, it's a liberating feeling."

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, famously reluctant to grant mainstream interviews while still in office, has become an outspoken presence on the airwaves in recent months. In Washington Thursday, he offered a vigorous defense of the Bush administration's policies on national security and interrogation of terror suspects - and criticism of President Obama's approach - at a conservative think-tank in downtown Washington, just minutes after the new commander-in-chief addressed the same issues in an address at the National Archives.

But Bush has been conspicuously silent on the president– and told prospective graduates Friday he was glad to be back to a lower-key existence, at a comfortable remove from the national spotlight.

Walking his dog Barney recently, "I realized this was the first time I'd been walking in a neighborhood for 14 years," he said. "It's not all that hard, by the way. You take one step, and then you take another.

...And there I was, former President of the United States of America, with a plastic bag on my hand. Life is returning back to normal."

Bush sounded just a few familiar, non-partisan policy notes, saying a soldier who had lost both legs because the president ordered him into battle had made his sacrifice for a "noble and necessary reason."

No video cameras were allowed into the president's speech. He has not granted any interviews since leaving office.


Filed under: George W. Bush
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Vigla

    We all know you hated being President. Let's be honest. It was a rough 8 years of being told what to do by everyone and not thinking for yourself. I bet you're just glad you don't have to listen to Cheney any more.

    May 22, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. suresh

    One thing I always admired about Bush that he is a stright talker. Yes. Presidency was too much for him. He is an example why you do not want to elect somebody to that high office because you think he is someone you can sit and have beer with. I would want my President much smarter than me.

    May 22, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. JC

    I feel exactly the same way; it was a great sigh of relief when this idiot finally left.

    May 22, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. Michael A Haase

    We agree – its liberating having that SOB out of office!

    May 22, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Sammy

    It's funny how Bush takes the high road... and rightly so... as a former president but Cheney still wont settle down. It's going to take years to truly figure out (not just conjecture) but I wonder just how these two worked together as Pres and VP. For Bush he's probably happier to be away from Cheney more he is the office.

    May 22, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. Reggie Utt

    The worst President (unelected) in U.S. history would feel liberated since he was never mentally compentent enough to do the job in the first place.

    May 22, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Shiva

    I am begining to like this guy more after he stepped down the presidency...:)

    May 22, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. Jimmy the Greek

    Like Pavloff's salivating dogs... Liberals will be howling over Bush since CNN posted an article about him....

    The FACT is... love him or hate him... President Bush did what he thought was right and best for the Country. His intention was to defend our Country by reducing the threat against us.

    Thank Mr President!

    May 22, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. Mike representing Michigan

    It's liberating for us all, George. Stay away from Washington, please.

    May 22, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Sara from Arizona

    I am sure he feels relieved, not a job I would want.

    May 22, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. Ron

    Same here cowboy. We feel liberated now that you are out of office also!

    May 22, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. jon c. sprowl

    bush is a good man. to bad you liberal marxis jerks blame him for everything.your memories are short, just like your brains.

    May 22, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Michael in Houston

    We have the exact same feeling Bush. Liberating. Glad your gone. However you did leave behind a mess all over the world and you forgot to take your VP with you too as he apparently still thinks he is in office.

    May 22, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Kevin Boston

    No kidding its liberating. For all of us.

    May 22, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. phoenix86

    And here comes the Obamabot haters' derision and vile in 3...2...1...

    May 22, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    well now how refreshing an ex president not getting involed in the day to day policy of the predidency. but Cheney on the other hand can't keep his mouth shut.. cheney the all mighty..

    May 22, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Honest Abe

    Cheney could learn a lot from Bush. For all of the wrongs I blame GWB for, he at least is staying quiet and not trying to knock down Pres. Obama. He has class! Cheney is a classless idiot – who is riddled with guilt from all of his wrongdoings and feels the need to defend himself for everything.

    May 22, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. NEVADA JOE

    There is that stupid look on his face again...What me worry???

    He will feel liberated when they escort him to his cell and remove the hand cuffs and leg irons..and slam the cell door in his face.

    How did the country get stuck with this piece of garbage for 8 years????

    May 22, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. CitizenJane

    If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it must be a duck.

    Our walking, talking lame duck ex-president in action.

    May 22, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. Keith

    I appreciate the effort President Bush made to at least try and do the right thing. Mistakes were made but, acknowledged and accepted by the person responsible. We are in trouble now and being governed by the blind and ignorant Democratic Socialist Party. Their greed and self serving ways are going to be this country's downfall.

    May 22, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. tina

    He will never take responsibility for his actions.........We all know now that Cheney was the puppet master............That is why he feels compelled to speak out . their legacy is going down in flames together..................Cheney looks deranged. His poor wife can't stop him.......and the saddest part is he's taking his daughter down with him.............

    May 22, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Expat American

    Cheney could have never won the presidency; and even more so, he couldn't win today. Yet, he is as responsible for much of the previous administration's failures as Bush. It appeared the Bush was often times a puppet on a string while Cheney was the real force behind the failed policies that caused many of the problems at present time.

    Cheney even played a vital role in the search for running mate for Bush when he began his campaign; ultimately choosing himself.

    May 22, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. Expat American

    Cheney could have never won the presidency; and even more so, he couldn't win today. Yet, he is as responsible for much of the previous administration's failures as Bush. It appeared the Bush was often times a puppet on a string while Cheney was the real force behind the failed policies that caused many of the problems at present time.

    Cheney even played a vital role in the search for a running mate for Bush when he began his campaign; ultimately choosing himself.

    May 22, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. Al, CA

    This is so liberating feeling, to have Bush and Cheney out of office!

    May 22, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. NEVADA JOE

    He is just learning to walk again...Most of us learned years ago...He spends all his time with his coloring books and crayons now....

    May 22, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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