(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.
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.
Yes we are liberated!
I think Bush is just as happy to be away from the Oval Office as we are to have him gone.
Well, Mr. Bush the feeling is mutual, we feel liberated to now that your gone
And how liberating to us, Mr. Bush not having to see or listen to you !
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?
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.
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.
It's liberating for us too, George.
Since he teed it up, it's hard not to think how liberating it feels for us that he is no longer in office...
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.
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.
I, too, feel liberated that you are out of office.
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.
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.
I think we all feel more liberated with Bush out of office.
'Liberating feeling' to be out of office, says Bush and then added "But I do miss being able to commit mass genocide"
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.
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.
that liberating feeling is shared by the rest of the country.
Now he knows how the rest of us feel.
What a tool. Good job, boy.
Wish you were back instead of the lying,ugly,purple lip idiot.
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.
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.