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. Landover, MD

    And may the President know that there are many people in this country who appreciate his non-wavering position on various issues, which was not always popular with the general public.

    I do not care what others think, but let America know that President Bush will always have favor with God for his protection of the rights of the unborn and his protection of the definition of marriage, which is only between a male and female.

    We live in a country where people claim to believe in God, but do not follow Him. We choose to criticize, rail and blame rather than pray for God's direction for those who are in such critical positions of authority, which is what God said to do. God bless America (with repentance and salvation) and God bless President Bush!

    November 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. Bob Phillips

    Wow. Listen to the sniffling and harrumphing around here. Look, the man clearly was not our most intellectual president, but when the smoke of time clears, you and yours will be exceedingly grateful to Bush for carrying out the nasty business of protecting the country after 9-11. If you knew half of what he–and now Obama–knows, the hair on your silly, spoiled little heads would curl. Whine and cry some more, because that is a right–among many others–that he protected for you the last 7 years.

    Your contempt for the man is born of ignorance. Everyone likes to eat hotdogs, but no one wants to know what's in them. Just as you all profess to love freedom and safety, but have no idea what it takes to preserve those "Rights". They are not rights. They are hard-won privileges that are kept for you because others–like Bush–make tough, unpopular decisions.

    Your high-mindedness is laughable. I can only imagine how you would squeal if, instead of going into battle mode after 9-11, Bush sat back, a la Bill Clinton, and "Studied" the situation. The very next attack would have seen you whining that our president didn't take decisive action.

    Go now and enjoy a hotdog. And thank God that the meat processor does the dirty work for you, so as not to upset your delicate sensibilities.

    November 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. kelly WI

    Thank heavens for GWB.
    Come on all you haters and dividers. Do your thing. Must make you feel better.
    History will be the judge.

    November 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. carl

    I believe Bush is a principled man. I also believe he was a godawful President.Simplistic principles untempered by deep thought and careful choices clearly do not a successful presidency make.

    November 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. Glendale, CA

    I truly think this man believes the words the seep out over his forked tongue and between his teeth. I really think that he deeply believes that he has these "values" and that he stuck to them. It really shows that a) he is completely delusional b) he is just a stupid person and c) ANYONE can be president.

    Good riddance.

    November 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Bob

    Previous commenters- sure. He won't go away though. One alternative I'd like to suggest is that we just start seeing him as a comedian. The jaw just drops at the stuff coming out of his mouth. Sure, it's gallows humor- but still.

    He DOES represent an "American Type" – the Permanently Delusional. They're still out there- rooting for Palin, omg.

    I think just plain "point and laugh" may be our best response.

    November 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Thumper

    George W Bush will be remember as an arrogant, ignorant buffoon who made it clear he is above the constitution. The reason we are in Iraq is because daddy tried to topple a dictator and failed and George W wanted to make daddy proud. American men and women are dying because of George W Bush's ego.

    So, he wants to be remembered well? Perhaps in the fantasyland he lives in . . .

    November 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Tariq

    I'm seriously trying to remember one good thing Bush did in the last 8 years....something Americans will remember him and be grateful for....and, I'm sorry but I have nothing.

    He did have a very unlucky one really blames him for all the tragedies be it security, economic, or natural catastrophes. What I personally hold against him is the way he reacted, or not acted, to them. All these events were missed opportunities to do something great for the country and for his fact, leaders are not proven great by a "smooth sailing" presidency, but by how they showed strength, good judgment, and empathy during the hard times.

    Farewell Bush, I'm glad you never gave up your values...but you might want to redefine your values.

    November 28, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Marsha

    Why does this remind me of Nixon's parting comment: "I am not a crook"?

    November 28, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Derick

    President is right...he is leaving as he came...EMPTY! He will be america's most ineffective President who has relegated America to being a hated nation aroung the world.

    It is indeed sad that he so pompous about not selling he values...right!

    Derick, Toronto, Canada

    November 28, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. Ursula


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

    He wouldn't need to sell his soul when he owns that franchise. Sort of like the Colonel paying for a bucket. Unnecessary. Redundant. I just wish Bush didn't want to take us all down with him.

    November 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Rob in Sacramento

    yup, he has the same values he came into office with, ignorance & greed

    November 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. chris of STL

    If only you had a little bit brain .....

    November 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Ricky

    Pres. Bush believes that one day the history books will vindicate him. Truly the man is delusional.

    November 28, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. Gus Collins

    Unbelievable. Such an awful man.

    November 28, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. buck fush

    Helping his neighbors?? Anybody remember New Orleans?? Oh we get it. His neighbors are BLACKWATER>>

    November 28, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. D in CA

    Yet more evidence of his total disconnection with any sort of reality, this guy believes his legacy will be positive. History will be most unkind to him, with very good reason. It will be interesting to see if any more psychological damage will be evident in 10 or 20 years, as he absorbs the relentless flood of criticism and judgement. One can only hope that is the case, as it doesn't appear that we will get any judicial condemnation of his numerous crimes against humanity.

    November 28, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Phil in CA

    Obama is ready now. Please ask Cheney to resign first. Appoint Obama as VP. Then resign and Obama becomes President. Easy.

    Don't let the White House door hit you in the **s on the way out.

    November 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Candice - TN

    I tell you ignorance sure must be bliss. But ya gatta give it to him, he did "stick to his values", the uninformed, ignorant, biased, stupid ones that resulted in the downward spiral of a nation. But I think the American people should also take responsibility because we put him in office TWICE. My conscious can sit well knowing that I never voted for him.

    I think the Bush presidency did a wonderful thing for the American people it taught them the true power of the right to vote!

    November 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. John in PDX

    His soul was lost long before he got to D.C.

    November 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. Gino

    Go far, far away.

    November 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. antoinette

    I believe President Bush did what he thought was right in a time that was hard, for 9(/11 he stood up for America and the american people. he showed terrorists that he was not afraid, and he did not back down. what would anyone else have done? he had to make a difficult decision, but he put our nation first, to protect the people from those that seek to destroy us. The popular views from this society today are spoken against him, but who are those making these remarks? people who do not know what they would have done in a critical time. people who have no education, and no values. America is becomming so desensitized that we would elect someone into office who does not value life in general. Any one who says that abortion is okay does not value life, in my eyes, President Bush was trying to stand up for the foundation of our nation, "in God we trust" but it seems we no longer hold true to that, "in money, lust, and greed
    ' I am disgusted with the people who think morality is not important, our nation is being warped, confusion laying to waste the values that once were so important. And then we wonder why there is so much violence and anger, greed and hatred. Where will we stand in one year from now? or will we still be standing strong and proud?

    November 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. sick n tired

    Bye George its been real and its been nice. But it hasnt been real nice!See ya wouldnt want to be ya!!!!!!!!!

    November 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. chris of STL

    If only you had a little bit brain .....

    November 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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