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. Florida Flo

    The worst President EVER. Good riddance to the bad, stupid trash that is the Bush dynasty.

    November 28, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. james

    How can you sell something which you fail to possess? Greed, corruption, and a total disregard for anything but the comfort of himself and his cronies will be the lasting hallmarks of this, the worst "leader" in American history.

    November 28, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. Jim

    Bush is nothing more than a pupet for wealthy interests.
    He was perfect for them because of his fathers name and his limited
    intellect. Even now, Bush just doesn't catch on to how much harm he has done this country. But make no mistake, the real lesson to be learned with this debacle is the need to take back our country from the wealthy elite who bought congress and the presidency.
    Unfortuately its too late to have stopped them from looting the national treasury. Bush's last parting blow was the most damaging.
    Is there any single human being besides Hitler who has caused more harm to the U.S.

    November 28, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Charlie in Maine

    To paraphase Stevie Nicks "oh yeah I see their reflection in the country's great ills. Well a landslide brought them down. Thank God a landslide brought them down.....".

    November 28, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. mcsamemccain on myspace

    But Mr. Bush, if you are leaving with the same values you entered office with, then you have always been a liar and a criminal.

    November 28, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. erika morgan

    Delusions reign on, I feel sorry for this tragedy.

    November 28, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. Iroko Nija

    Values ko! values ni? Who cares about your values that has rendered America to near hoplexity? Made Americans the most hated Nation on earth? Diminished the pride of American status and impoverished its citizens. You should be bowing your head in shame,while quickly seeking for a back door exit to enable sound minds take over and return back the glory of America, which by the grace of God,is the greatest opportunity to mankind. Please you may leave now.

    November 28, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. George

    Please take your 'values' and get out of the White House. You have destroyed this country and she won't recover for twenty years, if she can recover. Your legacy will be possession of title of worse president ever. You took Clinton's surplus and flipped it to the highest deficits in history. The US is about to slide into second-world status.

    November 28, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. truthandgoodness

    nope, didn't sell my soul. just countless others'.

    November 28, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. Bushed

    Bush & Values that’s an oxymoron unless fascism and corruption and incompetence are values. Perhaps these are values for Republicans who voted this Bush and were all gung-ho about Palin. Please leave and write a book for the intellectually inept.

    I wish I could say the jokes are on you to republicans except that Bush/Cheney & the GOP have screwed the economy so bad that every one is affected.

    November 28, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. ophelia

    Does he really believe that he will be remembered in a positive way. The Iraq War was based on a lie. Medicare is more expensive. His No Child Left Behind Act is leaving too many children behind. I believe that he could have been a better president but the people around him used his position to push their agenda...sad.

    November 28, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. AM in VA

    Usually people with Bush's values are tried in a courtroom at The Hague.

    November 28, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Michael

    Leaving with same set of values as he came in with? Well...he didn't learn much, did he.

    November 28, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. VoxPopuli

    How about the stress that virtually all Americans, and indeed much of the world, has endured during the last eight very long years. While you may never face a court of law for your actions, but the court of history will judge you harshly for as long as history remains.

    November 28, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Bon

    He would have to have a soul in order to sell it.

    Honestly, perhaps if he had been willing to compromise and consider the needs of the nation first instead of the wants of those who lined their pocket under his administration we might still have: one of the best education systems in the world, a healthy economy, several thousand people still alive, and the City of New Orleans.

    November 28, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. Don H. New Port Richey, FL

    OMG.... Still as dumb as a box of rocks.
    Good bye and good riddance...... to a 'true idiot'.

    November 28, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. David

    Like him or not, he did the best job he could. Tough decisions, you bet, and he stood behind them. Yes, he has character and integrity to not be swayed. War, no I don't like it, but it happened and I supported and continue to support the decision and those that are fighting and those who have died for a greater cause. Would I like to see it end? You bet. It's funny how when someone does good things people lift them up and cover them with praise but when the same person seemingly does some not so good things or makes mistakes, people want him crucified. Above being President and being accountable to people of the States, he is also a Christian and more importantly accountable to God. "Do not judge, so that you won't be judged. For the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

    November 28, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Mark Cherr Hill, NJ

    Bush will go down in history as one of the worst Presidents for lack of foresite in starting an unjust war, the largest deficit, largest growth in government, loss in personal liberty (Patriot Act), loss in US interests abroad, blindness to eroding economy and no energy plan, no environment plan and the futher destruction of conservative agenda. He privatized most of the war to public companies with no-bid contracts and politized the Justice Department.

    November 28, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. Doug, new jersey

    President Bush has kept Americans safe and once we realize through the coming terrorist attacks that even Biden knows will happen with a Carteresque Obama in the White House, the amazing job he has done, fair minded Americans who are not ruled by hate, like the liberal democrats who want him tried for war crimes and hate him more than bin laden, will respect his legacy and pray for the days of safety and security we once had while an honorable man resided at 1600.

    There is nothing more funny than a liberal like Barbara in NC to claim his values are below the line of normalcy, at least he has values, while liberals like you don't even have a remote trace of them. With the way liberals like their life and their total disregard for decency, fairness or honesty, it is no wonder that so many are atheists, I wouldn't want to think about answering before a god on the way I lived my life if I were a liberal either.

    November 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. Michael Nolan

    I do not blame President Bush!I blame the people who voted for him.

    November 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. oh dear

    Can someone explain to me, how this administration and this window dressing president have avoided criminal prosecution? I can understand the control and influence these criminals have over the judicial system... but to the extent that the Rummey's, Cheney's and other thieving, murdering scum have been able to get away with it all???!!!

    And more importantly, do you people out there that are not religious fanatics or capitalist elite pigs get it yet. That these criminals used your party to advance their agenda and crimes? They are not republicans with Republican values. They duped you and you ate it.

    Do you still eat it?

    November 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Laura

    I would agree that he came in and will be leaving with the same set of values. The problem? They suck. GO BACK TO CRAWFORD ASAP!

    November 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Are you kidding?

    He should be in prison for the horrors he has perpetuated in the world.

    November 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "I came to Washington with a set of values, and I'm leaving with the same set of values,"

    You mean you didn't learn anything in eight years? You're just as self-righteous, bigoted, and arrogant? Just as determined to cram your bible-thumping prejudices down everyone's throats?

    It might be an overstatement to say you single-handedly ruined the Republican Party, but you sure are the most public face of that ruin.

    November 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Woodman

    Gee. We went into Iraq to liberate 50 million people? I was told we had to go into Iraq for the WMDs. Is revisionism of history a value?
    Sorry Mr. Bush, you will not be remembered favorably for the Iraq War.

    November 28, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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