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. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Having you out of office feels pretty good to us too Mr. Bush.

    May 22, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Mark

    Now how can being out of office feel liberating? You were on vacation most, if not all, of the time you were in office. What a joke and good riddance to you and your party ethos!

    May 22, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. Retired US ARMY

    Perhaps now that we see Dick Cheney in his true colors we can understand what GW had to listen to and put up with for eight long years.

    May 22, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Brian

    Thank you, President Bush, for your courageous and principled leadership of our nation over the past eight years. We miss you, and wish you the very best.

    May 22, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Republicans are the American Taliban

    …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."

    Following Cheney around .... pickin up after him like he used to do me ....

    May 22, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Obama Victim

    Thanks for keeping us safe Mr. President!!

    May 22, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Chenna Benna

    It's liberating because him and his crew don't have to clean up the mess that they made the last 8 years. The eight years of the Bush presidency sums up majority of his life: One failure after another and someone else coming in to fix it.

    May 22, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Ignorance

    Mr. President – although I may not agree with some of your policies. Enjoy your time with your family.

    May 22, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Cappygrl

    Yes George.....I too, have felt liberated now that you are out of office.

    May 22, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. Donna from Colorado Springs

    I'm sure it is very liberating to Bush to be out of the fray. Too bad that his stupid former running partner is trying to drag him back in! He should try to muzzle Cheney, but that will never happen because Cheney was the one actually running that circus for eight years!

    May 22, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Yeah, it's a liberating feeling all right. He can go back to being the know-nothing, loser doofus he really is.

    May 22, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. Regular Dude

    George we are just as relieved that your not in office anymore...

    May 22, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Eric

    We share your feeling of liberation, Mr. President.

    May 22, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. ralph santillo

    For us too!

    May 22, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Jack in KY

    It's a 'liberating feeling' to no longer have you in office W.

    May 22, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Corey W

    He knows he screwed this great nation of ours.

    May 22, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Kathy

    President Bush
    While I disapproved of some of your policies, I do offer my sincere thank-you for keeping our country safe after 9-11. You honored the office by doing so. One day, hopefully soon Americans will finally realize this. We have become dangerously complacent in our view of terrorism, however I fear things will change in the future-in a not so good way. So thank you again.

    May 22, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Wondering-IL

    Gee.... must be nice to have the ability to return to a life of normalcy and absolve yourself of any responsibility in screwing things up for the average person over the last 8 years. Wish he had put the bag over his head instead and inhaled deeply.

    May 22, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. David in Houston

    Mr. Bush...you are not alone.

    The entire world feels 'liberated' now that you are no longer in office.

    May 22, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. Dave

    It's certainly liberating for us, the American people, as well. So glad he's gone!

    May 22, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Antonio

    It's been liberating for me too.

    May 22, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. lila

    Bush has done enough and he knows it. The fish that opens its mouth gets caught. Hear that Cheney?

    May 22, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Karadi

    We felt the same way Mr.Bush :)

    May 22, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. KLK

    It's a liberating feeling to have him be out of office.

    May 22, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. Joel Parkes

    It's liberating for the rest of the world as well, George.

    May 22, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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