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. Marc Yacht

    Those values brought this country to its knees. It may nerver recover. No enemy has done more to weaken the nation. As for his pride in those values, one must have been never to listen or think through the implications of his actions. I still have hopes that this administration will face accountability for many of its actions that were in conflict with the law and the constitution. Summed up, it may prove to be the worst administration in U.S. history. Hang on to your values Mr. President – keep them at home and in your church. Spare the rest of us.

    November 28, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. Richard

    His values are also those of millions of Americans. Those who hate Bush always did and alwasy will. They are not worth thinking about.

    November 28, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. scott

    it is a level of delusional that can not possibly be expressed in words....
    bush has led us into uncharted medical/psychiatric waters...

    scott in NH

    November 28, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. brian, eustis,fl

    It's a sad, sad thing to see this idiot still insisting he was right in all the insane choices he made....he was in iraq for the oil...he doesn't care about medicare....he doesn't care about any person who isn't a rich...ignorant, arrogant republican!

    November 28, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. Bobby tray

    Values? Puhlease!

    November 28, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. doug

    values or not, he still can't see past his own one-sided logic. its sad that he thinks the destruction of a country and the catalyst of a civil war is "liberating" people. a true neo con, he is blind to reality and rationalism.

    November 28, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. Val in MA

    President Bush will be remembered by the world as one who fought to keep America safe from terrorists no matter what it took, even if it meant to sacrifices his popularity. He will be remembered as someone who liberated Iraq from the murderous dictator Hussein. Bush will be remembered as one of the strongest leaders in the world. May God bless him and his family.

    November 28, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. Vic of New York

    George "Junior" is 100% correct – it's hard to sell your soul when you don't have one to start with.

    The brazeness, to say that he does not want to be remembered as a President who made compromises to find solutions for the entire population but rather wants to be remembered as a President who catered only to his "base" of right-wing demagogs will certainly be remembered in history.

    I hope Georgie Junior is pleased that he will be remembered as the most incompetent fool to ever hold pubic office in America!

    November 28, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Jim - Kingston, Pa

    "sold his soul".....come on that would mean he had to have a soul to begin with.

    November 28, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. The Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square


    I am anxiously awaiting the Muslims to speak out about the tragic killing of innocent men, women and children in Bombay. I am shocked that they are silent. If the clerics had any guts they would speak out against this unjust and cowardly attack against innocent human beings.

    I am just sick with the sicko Muslim terrorists. Or should I say cowards. Yeah, they have to select unarmed innocents. If they are so brave, why not attack a well armed military or the US Marines. Give me a break.

    November 28, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Doug - Dallas, TX

    Can't sell what you don't have!!!!!!!

    Bush will be judged by his actions which means the debate will start about whether he has a heart as well. If you don't believe me just look at and talk to the survivors of Katrina, Rita and Ike. He brushed them off like a piece of lint on his suit, kinda like the way he treated the rest of his presidency.

    November 28, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Diana, Detroit

    Values? The only thing he valued was money, power and willful ignorance. And he didn't care how many millions of people had to suffer for it.

    November 28, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Kevin

    History will be much kinder than the millions who hopped on the scapegoat bandwagon.

    November 28, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. Pamela

    Where exactly did he achieve peace? I'm really confused – because all indications are that the world is in a bigger mess, economically and terror wise, than when he took office. Some "legacy".

    November 28, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. j in mich

    you don't want to be remembered for what happened in new orleans? why ever not?!

    November 28, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. observer

    What values are you taliking about Sir? I wish you would do this country a favor and just Shut Up! You are a disgrace to the American people. Just promise to keep your mouth glued shut until Jan-20-2009. Don't speak no More!

    November 28, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. Dave

    Please let the door hit you on the way out

    November 28, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Cecil From Indiana

    Bush sold out most of the people who voted for him. I thought Jimmy Carter would go down as the worst president in modern American History but Bush tops him by huge margin.

    November 28, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. Seattle Sue

    No I don't think Bush sold his soul. He just sold the rest of America out. If he still has the same values he had when he became President, then he sure snowed us and we elected him. He will go out with the dishonor of being the worst President ever.

    November 28, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. joe

    I bet his sister asked some tough questions.

    November 28, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. DJ in Toronto

    You can't sell something you've never had

    November 28, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Jim in New Jersey

    The fact that he granted an interview to his sister and not to a journalist speaks volumes about Bush's defensive mindset and his refusal to be legitimately confronted about the details of an utterly and totally failed presidency.

    Please Mr. President, hurry back to Texas and be quiet.

    November 28, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. Sherry

    The sad part is that he probably really believes that and would never admit to the atrocities his administration.

    November 28, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. TH

    You know it is kind of ironic that he said that, because in the future, what history will show is that Bush did in fact sell his soul to go to war in Iraq.........

    November 28, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. Shepp in USA

    He will be remebered as a disaster.
    100 years from now or 10 minutes from now.
    Values??? How about Facist? Incapable of critical thought.

    November 28, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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