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. Jana

    His values have been better than the Clinton's and even Obama's.

    Just saying!!

    November 28, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. BTHogan

    Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians can't hear you.

    November 28, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Jason

    Liberated 50 million people? The 2007 estimate of the Iraqi population was only 29 million. (sigh) Will he EVER stop lying?

    November 28, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. marge

    What a pathetic creature......

    November 28, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. Craeg fr Canada

    I don't think that Bush gets much credit for any of those things that he regards as successes. I can hardly believe he still thinks the Iraq war is a good thing. There will never be a freely functioning democracy in Iraq during our lifetimes. There will be either a puppet gov't of the west which will always be violently rejected or there will be peace which is brutally enforced by another dictator just like S. H., or their will be a fundamentalist religious leadership. There is no scenerio that will be pleasing to the U.S. In history the Iraq war will be an ugly and senseless little event created by some guy called W. Hopefully history will note how much American service men and women and their families sacrtaficed for loyalty to the man that the rest of Americans should never have put in the role of President.
    How many lives have been ended or ruined by this war? What has really be gained?
    Best wishes to all.

    November 28, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Daisy

    What crimes against humanity? Are you kidding me? Barabara, do you believe in abortion? Obama has a very liberal view on abortion and is not opposed to partial birth abortion. Now that is a crime against humanity!

    You libs won't give him a break. Your "savior" will make mistakes and then guess what will happen? You will blame Bush. The same folks who accused republicans of "over the top patriotism" now fall all over themselves for Obama. Make me sick!

    November 28, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. daune

    values, what values , because of him the world has become a much more dengerous place to live in,

    November 28, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Ray from NY

    Well........... He did have some good points didn't he? i can't quit reca;; them now but i am sure he has. He will be known as the worst president the great USA eve had!!

    November 28, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. JHal

    What soul? What values? 8 years to set the country back to '29.

    November 28, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |

    Bush will be remembered as the president who exposed the myth of free trade, the superiority of the private sector and the effects of deregulating business. He has done much to make Carl Marx smile in his grave.

    November 28, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. Chris

    If his values haven't changed in the last 8 years then that speaks to the values of us as Americans. After all, we elected and re-elected him.

    November 28, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. A Nuffer

    Go away! Please resign at this very moment and take Cheney and all your other hacks with you! You have no values! You alone destroyed this country! I hope you never have a moment's peace even up to the time you leave this earth and go straight to hell!!!!

    November 28, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. trudy

    Busch dont let the Door hit you ,you know where , i am soooooooooooooooooglad when i dont have to hear that Name any More good By

    November 28, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Brenda

    Yes, Mr. Bush, you kept your values. You valued your rich friends and helped make them richer . . .

    November 28, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. denisr

    Why would anyone listen to him after 8 years of seeing first hand the evil he is capable of. He is a socipath. He will be gone but the Americans that voted for him are still here, it could happen again,

    November 28, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Ellen

    Can't sell something you don't have.

    November 28, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. Mohsen Emami

    I just wish that Bush did some truly sincere and honest sole searching before claiming that he has acted upon different important issues relying on his personal values. If his personal values have been responsible for all of his actions and decisions that he has made during the 8 misserable years of his presidency, then he should take a closer look at what he and his clonies have done to this country of ours. By far, he is the worst president that this nation has ever had. And if he is still proud of his legacy, he should have his head examined.

    November 28, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. debbie

    Jesus Christ was not a hater, but when He did hate, it was hypocrisy He hated most of all. Self-righteous people like George W. Bush who abuse their power and are responsible for so much death and suffering, then have the nerve to call themselves Christians, are probably going to be very surprised when it's time to meet their maker.

    November 28, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. quent97

    It takes pure arrogance to say these things with a straight face when those you were supposed to serve – the America People – have given you an approval rating that's in the toilet. *smh*

    November 28, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. jeff

    So... in other words he didn't learn even one thing?!?

    November 28, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. Esme

    I feel so much lighter and less anxious now that his presidency is almost over.

    Land of the free? Really? He sure messed with that!

    What happened? (And how the heck was he elected TWICE? It was so obvious during his first term how bad he was. Jeez.)

    November 28, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. Dexter Skagway

    " . . . And I proved how valueless those values were!" And of course George did not sell his soul: he never had a soul to sell.

    November 28, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. Beverly, NYC

    On please, you may have kept your "values" but lost your soul. You liberated 50 million people who did not ask for your intervention in their lives and 3400 americas were lost in the pocess, for what, beacause Saddam tried to kill your daddy. While you remain hand holding buddies with Sheiks from Jordan, where Bin Laden was raised and has his family fortune? Mr. President if thinking you are the pillar of values helps you sleep nights and not see the faces of the young men & women you sent to their deaths unnecessarily so be it. Maybe you can run for president of Iraq next.

    November 28, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. keeth in california

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

    Is he trying to convince me or himself?

    November 28, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. -Vane-

    He dares to say "values"
    Too Funny...
    It does not even matter no more..
    His OUT!
    I just pray to God that all of our Hopes in Obama
    Dont backfire us in the future...
    Sometimes I think is too good to be true...
    But I sure know that It just cant get worst than this!

    November 28, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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