May 22nd, 2009
01:23 PM ET
5 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. Sandra

    Mr. Bush, it is liberating for me to know that you no longer bear the great responsibility of being president. I would have never imagined you and I having anything in common.

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

    Yes we are liberated!

    May 22, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Shasta

    I think Bush is just as happy to be away from the Oval Office as we are to have him gone.

    May 22, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. mike

    Well, Mr. Bush the feeling is mutual, we feel liberated to now that your gone

    May 22, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Adele

    And how liberating to us, Mr. Bush not having to see or listen to you !

    May 22, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. shucks

    He isn't a total fool. He knows when to hang low. He is not going to blow his horn like Cheney, as it is about ready to backfire big time. Only the severely radical element of the republican party agrees with Cheney. The rest of America does not. Or have these republicans forgot the outcome of the last election?

    May 22, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. midwest liberal

    how appropriate. while most everyone else on the political scene is giving commencement addresses at serious centers of learning, george bush is addressing a high school.

    May 22, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Calista

    Now all of you liberals should voice your verbal attacks on this man because that is the hate, spite and vile that fills the ideaology of your beliefs and politics.

    May 22, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    It's liberating for us too, George.

    May 22, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Rick

    Since he teed it up, it's hard not to think how liberating it feels for us that he is no longer in office...

    May 22, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Tom

    It's a tremendous relief to me that you are out of office. Unfortunately we can't close the book on your big mouth mentor Darth Cheney.

    May 22, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Joseph, Los Angeles

    There is something most refreshing about former President Bush. He is a Captain who has left the ship to another Captain. In an honorable way, he respects the Presidency a lot more than his former Vice President Dick Cheney.

    May 22, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. Steph

    I, too, feel liberated that you are out of office.

    May 22, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Shelly

    I, too, feel liberated with you out of office Mr. Bush. It's like a world of responsibility and worry has been lifted from my shoulders. God Bless America again, please.

    May 22, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Rick

    Enjoy it while you can Georgie. Cause if there is a God and real Patriots in America, you'll spend your final days in a cold jail cell waiting for the gallows.

    May 22, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. Rodney

    I think we all feel more liberated with Bush out of office.

    May 22, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. Moderate Democrat

    'Liberating feeling' to be out of office, says Bush and then added "But I do miss being able to commit mass genocide"

    May 22, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. carlo

    It's liberating for us that you're out of office, but I'd personally feel more liberated if you put Dick back in his otherwise undisclosed location.

    May 22, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Jen

    Glad your life is returning back to normal. The lives of the 4000+ troops that died in your phony war will never go back to normal. And those 4000 troops will never have life again. NEVER. DEAD. They dont exist anymore because of you.

    May 22, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. jj

    that liberating feeling is shared by the rest of the country.

    May 22, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Once You Vote Black

    Now he knows how the rest of us feel.

    May 22, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. JonesK

    What a tool. Good job, boy.

    May 22, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. Maggie

    Wish you were back instead of the lying,ugly,purple lip idiot.

    May 22, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Alex in Wisconsin

    I'm proud of you Mr. Bush. You truly know that the old and busted must move out of the way of the new hotness. Too bad Cheney isn't following your lead...if he ever did.

    May 22, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Claudia in Houson

    Now only if Americans can feel and be liberated from the mess GWB left this country in then that's what I would call having a liberating feeling.

    May 22, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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