November 28th, 2008
06:10 PM ET
9 years ago

Bush reflects on legacy: 'I'm leaving with the same set of values'


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. d smith

    YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 28, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Dave in NYC

    This president had his priorities mixed up from day one: Bush may feel the same coming out as he did going in, but our country sure feels a lot different!

    Get a clue, it's not all about you!

    November 28, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Silence Dogood

    So to separate ourselves from a president with poor values we get one with no values. I just read his Thanksgiving address. All words, and political catch phrases.

    It was a campaign speech – OMG, he has nothing more than this.

    November 28, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  4. Andy

    The foreign policy was terrible; he had good intentions but his inexperience in that area forced him to rely on advisers who did not share his values.

    On domestic policy and in the way he did the job of being President, there is much to like and much that future presidents would do well to emulate.

    His harshest critics have failed to clearly articulate why he should be considered incompetent or to present evidence of malice or deceit.

    Bush is a good man and an effective leader, and he had generally good domestic policies. But there was a serious conceptual gap between his understanding of international problems and his prescriptions for them on the one hand, and the true nature of those problems and the best approaches to them on the other.

    And by the way, this conceptual gap is not limited to Bush; it has been a problem for America generally in the post-Cold War era.

    November 28, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Robert Sanders

    One word, accountability... there is/was none. Acting above the law and avoiding accountability, responsibilities that all of us Americans face, is not leadership. Values? Values that ideally were only in your own mind, worth something, to the rest of the world you challenged all of us morally and ethically. I hope the truth will be told and honestly recorded George. Now go away.

    November 28, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Seems like divisiveness and compromise are one and the same according to previous comments. "Agree with me or you are the problem".

    November 28, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. sandee in Portland

    Nope, he didn't sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process; he sold his soul to accomodate his and his friends own personal monetary gains and in doing so, made most of the world despise our country as well as put it in the worst straits possible.

    November 28, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. Jack Mehoff

    If you are sincerely leaving with the same set of values as you came in, then I seriously DOUBT if you had ANY to begin with!

    Tou out a CIA Officer, have your Staff Lie about it, Lie to your Press Secy, Deceive your Secretary of State. Participate in the crimes where Dick Cheney sets up the energy policy with no Congressional oversight & we end up with OIl Traders speculating on the ICE in LOndon without any Federal Regulations & 147 a barrel Oil. Speak VOLUMES about just what your legacy should be. A person who looked the other way for Corporate America & bankrupted the American People. Allowed millionaires & billionaires to run amuck in the Mortage Industry and didn't do one thing to stop it as long as Bush perceived that the "economy is fine".

    Right around the End of September you found out that the economy wasn't "fine". But you had been muttering the same 'song & dance' for the past 6 years so what do you know???
    Someone from Harvard should Retract your MBA DEGREE.. The projections you & Cheney projected for the IRAQ war didn't work out.. you said it would cost 80-`00 B max.. Here we are at 600Billion and counting..
    Now we are at the 700 Billion dollar bailout what will that cost? If history is any guide.. 4.2 Trillion at least..

    Goodbye G.W. Bush.. get lost in Texas forever.

    November 28, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Jon

    It's too bad the American people couldn't see his "values" prior to the first go around, but oops! Most of America missed seeing his "values" the first time and gave him a second chance.

    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice, shame on me!

    November 28, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Jamie,Hattiesburg,MS

    Mr. President so long, you really did the best you could.We as a country lost or moral values you are not to blame,we all are.We followed you into the wars because we didn't turn the other cheek, we wanted revenge.You are not to blame for our economy, we are because of greed and a lack of financial responsibility.Thank you for giving it your best shot,even though all hasn't been perfect,we as a country and as individuals must dig ourselves out of the hole we dug for ourselves and this is coming from a sincere democrat and soldier.So long Sir.

    November 28, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Frank in MI

    Yes, PLEASE GO AWAY. Crawl back into a dry Arbusto hole and never come out again!

    November 28, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. KJL

    When people say "values" these days, they tend to mean religious fixations that allow them to excuse any form of egregious behavior. This is sad, because it can turn a good man like President Bush into a tyrant. We should learn from this, and refuse to elect into office any man or woman who shows such tendencies.

    November 28, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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