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. Chris

    Lying? Hypocrisy? Rewarding wealthy friends? Spewing hate and divisiveness? Keeping this country stuck in the past Biblical era instead of moving forward? Are those your values Mr. Bush? Well, good riddance-please take those values with you on your way out the door. (8 years...god I can't believe we let him have 8 years. SOOO much good could have been accomplished. Instead so much time wasted.).

    November 28, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. Joanna

    "values"? And those were?
    (poor George, he's so feeble minded he actually believes the tripe he's been fed and regurgitating for the last 8 years)

    November 28, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Kyle, MS

    His legacy is one of hateful crimes against humanity. This is a joke right?

    No one but his sister would take him seriously.

    November 28, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. Danny in Chicago

    You know, there will come a time when we will all look back and say, "I miss George."

    I will miss him. I'll miss all the great one-liners that lead to actual comedians make actual one-liners.

    I'll miss his drawl normal speak. These past 8 years were so deliciously common.

    And most of all, I'll miss his smile. What a face to represent the nation! America – the little boy who just can't stay out of trouble.

    I can't speak for everyone, George, but I'll miss you.

    (can I get a bail out? I kinda need some money.)

    November 28, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Suzanne

    Criminal values

    November 28, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Chris

    It's fine to have values, Mr. Bush. Just keep it out of politics and the government. We need an intelligent president who uses intelligence to make his decisions. NOT a value-driven president.. E.g. you and Cheney valued wealth, which is why you put us in Iraq-so that Halliburton can profit. An intelligent president would have went after Osama Bin Laden. A value-driven president such as yourself went after oil.

    November 28, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Fred, NJ

    The WORST PRESIDENT EVER intervieded by the sister of the WORST PRESIDENT EVER.

    November 28, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. chris24

    Hey, George,

    Go to Iraq and visit on your next vacation.
    I'm sure people will be lining the streets
    with roses to welcome you.

    (and leave the secret service behind)

    November 28, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. Suzanne

    Criminal values, and the blood of thousands on his hands.

    November 28, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. etl

    It is ok to change your values – no one will think any less of you. It is not a virtue to blindly cling to values that serve few.

    November 28, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. chuck

    This bastard should be ashamed of himself as a human being, a Republican and a President. Notice who he is giving the interview to-His sister. He was not going to sell that bull to any one with COMMON-SENSE. Who does this mud rat think he's talking to?He's not fooling anyone.If George Bush thinks he did a good job in Iraq then he should go and hold a public meeting in Iraq and speak to the Iraqis.I hope for the American people that they do not see a criminal like this ever again in the history of their beautiful country.

    November 28, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Lloyd

    W just about ruined America. "Values?" My oh my.

    November 28, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. LMAO are you kidding me!

    ** Republicans are delusional and bush is there leader **

    November 28, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Susan, Macedon New York

    I'm not surprised he has no regrets. He was never one to look at the consequences of what he's done and make necessary adjustments.

    Someone once said about Bush that "what he thinks on Tuesday, he will think on Thursday, no matter what happens on Wednesday!"
    And I use the word "think" advisedly.

    He never ever considers that me might have made a mistake. Now that's megalomania!

    Macedon, New York

    November 28, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Big Ed

    Well sir, I understand that is how you wish to be remembered, however that is being overly optimistic. You started two wars, we now have an economy that is the worst since the Great Depression, an overall negative reputation with the rest of the world, torture, illegal wiretaps, and don't forget the biggest debt this country ever had, the re-working of the Constitution and practically negating the Bill of Rights among all kinds of other shady stuff. You are also leaving as the president with the lowest approval rating recorded.

    I have confidence that Mr. Obama will do the best he can to clean up the mess you left.

    November 28, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. drumble

    This is why you don't have a third term.

    November 28, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. Patrick

    What values?.. As the President of the United States he still doesn't get it.

    November 28, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. JWC

    Thank you President Bush for being the tough man you had to be. Thanks for your tax cuts and keeping my family safe for the last eight years. Thanks for not giving in to the "cry babies". History will show you were the right man for a difficult time. Enjoy your retirement. You certainly deserve it.

    November 28, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. Bill

    He's delusional. It's the only answer.

    November 28, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  20. Mickey, New York

    Yes, those same set of "values" like torture, spying on your own citizens, and lying us into war. Yea, fine republican values.

    November 28, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. mike

    Jimmy Carter was the worst and probably will remain the worst President of this country. At least we have not had another attack on our shores under this President and I just hope obama can say the same at the end of his term. No matter what obama does wrong, the liberals will overlook it or try to blame others. Who will they blame when President Bush has left office? There will be no-one to blame but democrats and that should become quite a circus.

    November 28, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. james smithington

    Bush knowingly and willingly lied in an effort to start the Iraq War, he should be held liable for the lives he has helped to destroy.

    November 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. Cynthia

    The man did a good job. He was blamed for things that were out of his control and even for things that did not happen in his administration.

    Unfortunately, liberals and the liberal media only wanted to highlight all the negatives, but did little when he did something positive.

    I did not vote for Obama, but he is my president and I will give him the respect he deserves and give him the opportunity to prove he can change things.

    November 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |

    Bush along with Cheney, Rumsfeld and Gonzales are war criminals and should be put on trial accordingly. The charges:

    Unlawful wars...
    Lying to the American public...
    Sanctioning torture...
    Politicising the Justice Dept...
    Illegal wire tapping...
    and breaking their oaths of office to "save protect and defend" the Constitution to name a few.

    Lets hope the new administration and the congress has the courage, statesmanship and patriotism to hold these criminals accountable for their despicable actions against this country....

    November 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Nick from Texas

    thank u mr. bush for all u did for the country. You were faced with many difficult challenges and did your best to resolve them. I know many people really hate you because of the war or the economy but I know that you did your best with what you had and that you really love your country. So I just want to say thanks W. I hope you can live the rest of your life in peace and happiness.

    November 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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