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. Bloomfield NJ


    November 28, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Barbara in NC

    Lock him up for crimes against humanity. His values are way below the line of normalcy. He makes me sick. Good riddance to the worst president in the history of this nation. He can lie to his sister, but most of us can see thru his strutting, bragging ego.

    November 28, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. Karen



    November 28, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Tony

    He should be remembered as the first U.S. President that committed genocide that killed thousands and for those crimes tried and executed for them.

    November 28, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. postedbygeorge

    Bush has the same values of "a wolf in sheep's clothing".

    November 28, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Steve

    Bush did more to destroy this country than any other person throughout the history of this country. I suppose he does not think the current economical problem does not fall squarely on his shoulders.

    November 28, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Linda, Phoenix, Arizona

    Too bad you still can't see the truth! Values, what values? You lied us into a horrible war that has murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including our own brave troops, you have illegally spied on us , have outed a CIA operative for your own political gain,
    you have raped our environment and are still trying to give your cronies more land to rape while ignoring or denying the planets most dire needs to stop global warming. You did nothing to change the auto industry, let banks and Wall Street go unchecked, made us the laughing stock and hated enemy of most of the world and you say you had values.
    Good riddance to you, Cheney, Rove, Condoliar and the rest of your
    criminal adminstration. History will tell the truth about you.

    November 28, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. Greg, NY

    "...did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process."

    Riiiight, and by that "political process" you mean that the president is supposed to work for the people and by the people...

    Well then, yes he did just that and ignored what we the people wanted.

    November 28, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. ch

    Bush will be remembered as an incompetent, right-wing, ideologue who lied us into a war, ruined our image around the globe and left thousands stranded in a sports stadium in New Orleans. Not to mention “leading” this country into financial ruins.

    Good riddance to the worst president in our nation's history.

    November 28, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |

    »Goodbye mr President.See you later...Bye bye...

    November 28, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. Carl from MI

    And what a legacy it is... being the WORST President ever of this great nation we call the United States of America!!

    This is what happens when the KEG-MAN from your fraternity becomes the President. Half of our nation thought it was so CUTE to have a President you would want to have a beer with instead of having a President who would have actually been a good President. We'll be paying the price for those of you who voted stoopid for many years to come. Thank you, Republicans!!!!!!!!

    His legacy is a nation with 8 years of disaster and a national debt in the trillions. Way to go Republicans... I can't wait to see who you nominate next to be your presidential candidate. Is your party stoopid enough to pick Sarah Palin? Only time will tell...

    November 28, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |

    »Interesting article...

    November 28, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. Pat

    Now it's time to show our values and execute him.

    November 28, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. Audrey Fryer

    "Liberated 50 million people" – GET OUT OF HERE. The murder and slaughter of one million Iraqis, the displacement of two and one-half million Iraqis from their homes and the total destruction of their own Country by George Bush and you have the guts to call that "liberation".
    It was and still is an illegal war of aggression and occupation and you should not be allowed to ride off into the sunset without any penalty being imposed on you.

    Totally disgusted.

    November 28, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |

    »CNN ROCKS!!

    November 28, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. Henry

    Mr. President,

    I am sure you appreciate your "values". But please know that your "values" have done tremendous harm to the values of others. You may feel you have done your best, but we have to live with your "best". Your thoughts are of no significance to anyone but you and the remaining group of people who cannot or will not see the ditch you rode us into.

    Please spare us your thoughts. We have heard too many already.

    November 28, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. Brian

    Oh good, he won't miss the spotlight! 🙂

    We certainly won't miss him occupying the White House! 😀

    November 28, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    You betcha, George!

    All you sacrificed was the lives of over 4,000 of our young people.

    That's all.

    November 28, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. s

    Umm OK? Whatever makes you sleep better at nite...

    November 28, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Savvy

    I pray that history will not be too unkind to President Bush, but this past election put a bright light on millions of his followers! I knew that racism existed in this country, but to have 54+million validate it is mind boggling, and very sad!

    I also pray that Republicans will take time during this holiday season, reflect on themselves, and ask God to show them the True way! Many don't believe, but I don't discriminate against you.

    I say to everyone: Jesus is the reason for the season. Don't stress about what you don't have or can't afford. Don't get into debt trying to keep up with the Jones. Be happy for things we tend to take for granted: life, health, strength, jobs, unemployment benefits, even if you're forced to get food stamps, don't let anyone cause you to hold your head down in shame!

    A new day is coming! It won't be this way always! God bless you this season, and for the rest of your lives! PEACE IN!

    November 28, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    His legacy? Two words: MISERABLE FAILURE!

    November 28, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. Optimistic Again


    Just leave before you screw up anything else.

    November 28, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. sensible Cape Coral FL

    I was never very impressed with Bush's intelligence but this startles even me. When was stupidity made a virtue?

    November 28, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. Jay

    His legacy is a war that should have never been fought and an economy in shambles. Not only did he fool a majority of the American people but he seems to have convinced himself as well. Sad really.

    November 28, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Dawn, FL

    The reality is he will be remembered as the WORST PRESIDENT EVER.

    November 28, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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