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. Nancy

    What values, the man has none and has completely ruined our country. I agree with Barbara in NC, he is our worst president who has nothing to be proud of.

    November 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. jan 20 2009

    the man is either delusional or a pathological liar – the scariest thing is, he believes this nonsense he spouts.

    November 28, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Alan Machtey Sugar land texas

    You didn't sell your soul instead you let your pitbull cheney do all your dirty work. You and your oil buddies nearly destroid our country, Thank goodness we are getting a new president who wiill make things right.

    November 28, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Sharon

    "Soul"? He never had a soul, so there was no soul to sell. He betrayed not only the American people, but people and allied nations of the world with his policies which demonstrated "You are with us, or you are against us". The Bush policies were flawed, ultimately leading to failure–and the rest of the world knew this from the beginning. Yet Bush (akaRove) retaliated against anyone who stood in opposition to a proposed policy that was doomed. That is how the world and the US will remember Bush, a failure as the leader of the world's most powerful nation.


    November 28, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Allan Hanson Cameron Park Ca.

    I wonder what planet he is from? He still does not realize what a disaster he has been.
    I wish more people would have seen that the top priority of his Administration was to finish the job his father started and remove the " blemish " from the bush name. There was no blemish, His dad was far smarter than son, and that is not saying much.
    Pray and hope the new Administration can clean up his mess. It will be a gigantic job.

    November 28, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I think 25 years from now, those of us still around – "history" for sure – will view the Bush-II years as among the worst in our nations time. While the rest of us were talking about "transparency" he and his ilk were doing there utmost to hide their deeds, and as time goes by and it becomes more apparent just how bad those deeds were, the world will judge not just he, but all of us in the same harsh light.

    November 28, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Carol

    George, the fact that you can say this with a straight face is jaw-dropping. You would like to be evaluated on the "success of the war in Iraq"??? I believe your approval rating shows exactly how the American people have evaluated that. While you're hallucinating all the "good" you've accomplished, the rest of us have a far different recollection of what you've done. The economy is on the brink of total ruin; the national debt can't even be represented by a comprehensible number; unemployment is epidemic, and the rest of the world has lost all respect for what was a well-respected world power before you came along. So, you're leaving with the same set of values. We're just happy that you're leaving.

    November 28, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. PC


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

    Pleeeze – Bush you ARE THE WEAKEST LINK – Now get the He77 out before you destroy us!!

    November 28, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Disgusted Independent

    He had no soul to sell. Of course with the current president-elect the future doesn't look any brighter.

    November 28, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Buck fush

    Helping neighbors???? What crap... does anybody remember New Orleans????George is a discrace to TEXAS

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

    And exactly what are we in Iraq for again?

    Head home to your village GW. You have been missing.

    November 28, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Willy Brown

    Thank you President Bush for not selling out. You got those liberals to hate you for eight years because you did right by sticking to your guns. It will be fun now to watch the libs and the media covering for Mr. Change as he will fumble through his 1 Term.

    November 28, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Jason in Medford

    You can't sell your soul if you never had one to begin with.

    November 28, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. S. Boatman Warrensburg Mo.

    He Came Into Office And He Is Leaving With The Same Set Of Values. . . Poor Ones! Now Take Your Values And GET OUT!

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

    He is responsible for the murder of thousands of American and Canadian soldiers, not to mention innocent Iraqis. He makes me sick.

    What values? How can be possibly sleep at night?

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

    spare me the values nonsense

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

    He is a real "unrepentant terrorist" if I've ever seen one.

    November 28, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. charlene Bostrom

    This president has no conception what his administration has doneto
    this great country.It will not recover in my life time or the next two generations. The BUSH name has for ever been tarnish.

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

    God bless you, Mr. Bush. It is unfortunate that our country has such a bigoted and hateful fifth column that has hated you since 2000, but in the end, what they think does not matter. You have been a good President who has made difficult choices and my only wish is that the Republicans in Congress had had as much guts as you have, whereby much more could have been done.

    November 28, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. joe vastano

    i would be ecstatic if he and cheney et al were actually tried for war crimes. it's too bad he's too thick to ever realize what a godawful failure he was. to reiterate barbara in nc, "good riddance to the worst president in the history of this nation."!

    November 28, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. buckfush

    good by bad guy

    November 28, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Tim

    President Bush had a very difficult tenure in office. He quite frankly, had to deal with things no other President has ever had to dealt with. Because of this, he had no prescedent to look back upon, nothing like 9/11 had ever happened to this country before. In the process, mistakes were made....people became frustrated, but in a situation like we faced seven years ago, if anybody thought we were going to recover from that with no mistakes being made....well then you are insane.

    Things don't look so good right now for the country, but to place the blame on this president who faced unprecedented challenges is not fair. The media is building Obama up as if he is facing the same country that Lincoln faced...that is not true....9/11 was as much as a challenge for anyone as our current situation is. But of course the media is not willing to take a serious look at GWB....they are too busy praising their Messiah and building him up. It doesn't matter what Obama really does....if he isn't successful then we will just have to listen to the media for the next 4 years with their special "investigative reports" entitle...."Is Obama being treated differently because he's black"....and if he is successful...then we are all better off.

    November 28, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Joe

    His legacy will be that he abused his power unlike any other president and that he was also the most incompetent. All he seemed to care about was getting rid of Saddam Hussein, nothing else.

    November 28, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. BV

    Such ignorance on the American people's behalf. Bush was a great president. I voted for him twice and wish he could keep his role. January 20th will indeed be a sad day for America as we enter the Obama presidency. Just wait, all you Bush haters will be begging for him back when Obama fails to live up to every aspect of change that he has promised.

    November 28, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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