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. cile/fairhiope, al

    What soul?

    November 28, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. B.H.

    The Bush legacy will go down as the- bottom rung- on the ladder of the presidency of this country. Everything Bush has touched has been damaged from war, to the economy, to international relations.
    His election, and reelection unfortunately shows how this country has allowed itself to be sold ideas from people like Rove. It has been a very expensive lesson for us all.
    No more c students please!!

    November 28, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. ME AT FL

    Set of values:

    Corruption, destroying the economy of the US, sending jobs overseas, creating a war and most of all destroying the quality of life of the American people..............

    SHUT UP AND GO AWAY!!!!!!!!

    November 28, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. Jason

    Why doesn't he just stay at home at his Crawford ranch until January 20. Even Nixon was smart enough to resign when things were looking a little bad for him.

    November 28, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. popeye

    So tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians for a lie is having values?
    I think I'll stick to my own!
    What is it this week that we're in Iraq for?

    November 28, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. gracious me

    Yep. Values. He's still got the same set of morally bankrupt notions of hatred and intolerance he came with.

    Now, he needs a good set of convictions to go along with them. And a few life terms.

    November 28, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. larry

    he really is delusional..if he thinks history will be kind to him...His values may be the same but it just shows how much the people that voted for this jerk were fooled. What 50 million people did he liberate? Is he talking about the war that never should have happened...where we bombed the crap out of a country that did nothing to us. Where we spent almost a trillion dollars and countless lives on a that what he's talking about?..He is the worse president we have ever had...and he is still doing dirt.

    November 28, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. sw

    i wish he would have

    November 28, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. getting closer

    George, you left this Country in a Train Wreck by selling out to all your rich buddies who drained the rest of us dry. Pension plans......etc.
    What goes around, comes around. God have Mercy!
    My opinion only. remember we live in the USA.

    November 28, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. texasgreenacres


    November 28, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Dayahka

    He came in with the values of protecting the rich and gouging the poor–and he's leaving with the same set. That's for sure, we can all agree on that. As for "liberating" 50 million people–wasn't that 40 million less the million or so killed; and wasn't it the liberation of oil rather than people that was sought for? As for drugs for retirees, well now that surely is another issue, for most Americans are drug addicts (legal and illegal) and probably take far more drugs than they actually need–and none of these drugs are cheap because the pharmaceutical companies refuse to make or sell affordable versions of their drugs and do everything possible to find expensive artificial alternates to natural and inexpensive drugs. Had Bush done something to curb big pharma, he might have done something useful.

    November 28, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. cmc

    where is the peace in the world, seems to me he has created more hell than any other president. The medicare drug program, yeah right. Drug companies couldn't negoitate the price of the drugs. The only ones who benefited from this plan is the drug companies. His main objective, in my opinion, is to make big business bigger, and we have been at their mercy. Can't wait for him to leave. His legacy is "nothing' to brag about.

    November 28, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. TrueAmerican

    I know there are a lot of people that hate Bush, and he did make a lot of mistakes, but he is a better American than the liberals give him credit for and was a lot better than Obama will be. Obama will give this country away and will never be able to bring it back. Bush at least kept us from being attacked after 9/11. I'm a registered Democrat but I do respect Bush.

    November 28, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Diing in Washington

    Hey! President Bush,
    How could you possibly forgot the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ends Africa's longest civil war between Northern and Southern Sudan? It's one of your greatest achievements. Remember, the UN security council had to take the meeting to Nairobi, Kenya. You worked so hard through Sen. Danforth to bring an end to the civil war in Sudan even though you didn't do enough in Darfur.

    November 28, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  15. Eric'n AZ

    Good lord, please! He wants to be known for these things but it was never mean to be known for, it just happens to be a few things that he helped with. Take the walk of shame and go already!

    November 28, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. Republican not buying it..

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... yeah.... right.

    November 28, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. Jon

    Silver spoon, keg standing/Frat brother, mama's boy...

    Roadmap to pieces...

    Drug plan, NOT allowing VA and Medicare to negotiate volume drug prices with Pharmaceutical companies...

    Privatize Social Security – that would have made sense... give reckless greedy people MORE of other people's money – that would have made them MORE RESPONSIBLE and less fast and loose with our money...

    November 28, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Jess in Ohio

    You've got to have a soul to be able to sell it, knucklehead.

    November 28, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. Lisa M. Bloom


    November 28, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Tim in PA

    VALUES? He doesn't even know what the word means. Someday maybe he'll learn to tell the truth.

    November 28, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. P L Smith of Tucson, AZ

    For a man who took "eight years to find himself", defied the UN to begin the Iraq War, diminished the reputation and image of America throughout the world, reniged on his promise to find Osama Ben Laden,and has catapulted this nation into a downward economic spiral, I cannot for the life of me fathom what his "set of values" are.

    November 28, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Unk in IN

    He sold America's soul!

    November 28, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Patrick Anthony Drake/Atlanta, GA

    Thank you for your service to our country sir and may God continue to bless you, your family and the United States of America.

    Love, Respect, Peace.

    November 28, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Mission Acomplished! Made the rich richer.

    November 28, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Secede

    The continued anti-Bush remarks... Very funny how all is blamed on him yet we have this remarkable government consisting of three branches whom all had a hand in the current happenings in our country. No one in America was cussing him after 9-11. How soon the ungrateful, entitlement mentality forgets...

    November 28, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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