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. suzan

    although my grandson was fighting both in iraq and afghanistan, i still think that President Bush had certain information that led us to this. whether it was correct information or not is not the issue; he thought it was and did what anyone else would have done to protect this country. i don't think any president has ever gone into a war knowing it was not a necessary action; at least not in the United States. many men and women who fought the war and suffered or are suffering now because of it did not do so in vain; please let's remember this President (Bush) as a President who did not back down when confronted even by members of his own cabinet. He believes what he did was and is correct and was not bullied by fear. I have had and still have a great deal of respect for President Bush; thank God we were born in the USA where disagreeing with him doesn't get you killed or worse. Thank you President Bush for doing what had to be done. May God bless you and Mrs Bush when you are finally relieved of this job and can go on to a normal life.

    November 28, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. jamie-lee in Canada

    I want to meet the person who is going to remember Bush for his values??

    November 28, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Wayne E

    Bush likes to end his career the way he ran it..... With lies , deceit and complete BS>..

    November 28, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Lisa

    "achieve peace"?? Good Lord! Do you realize how many Iraquis YOU and your administration are guilty of killing? How about advocating torture? Violating the constitution? Great values!! I have been so disappointed in my country these past 8 years and am so glad you are leaving...

    November 28, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Marlo

    Just when I forget how psychotic and delusional this character is...

    November 28, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Joe Nevada

    I like BUSH,,,I would like to see him in handcuffs, legirons and an orange jump suit scrubbing toilets in a Federal Prison..

    JUST LEAVE NOW...don't wait until 20 January..

    November 28, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Paul

    Maybe W didnt sell his meager soul, but he did sell out his country.
    Which, as CIC, is worse?

    November 28, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. sally

    He might not have sold his soul, but he is doing his best to totally sell the USA. And if these are his values, I pity him. Trouble is...he has no clue, is not self examining or reflective. I grieve for this country and am so glad he will be gone. However, we do know that his puppeteers DID sell his soul.

    November 28, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. roger dowdle, lockhart, Tx

    He obviously did not learn anything in eight years of mistakes!

    November 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. Values?

    Where does torture fit in with values?

    What about fabricating conditions for a war?

    This guy is clueless if all he thinks he did wrong is misspeak a couple of times.

    November 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. tom english

    How can someone sell their soul when they don't have one to begin with?

    November 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. john

    It is a sad commentary of this nation that Bush was elected not once but twice. Perhaps we have begun to turn the corner. We really need deep thinkers ( of either party )and common sense at this point .we will truly not be the great world leaders we have been in the past until we have consecutive great presidencies

    November 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Whatever

    It's hard to sell your soul when you don't have one in the first place.

    November 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. David S. Robins

    This is truly a disgusting story. GWBush claims to have stuck to his principles when we all know he has none. He has done more harm to America than any President in history. He will be remembered as being utterly corrupt, ignorant and just plain dumb. He will rank far below Herbert Hoover in our future history books. Thank God his accursed term in office is almost over. Now, we decent Americans must ensure that Bush, Cheney and their cronies are brought before the courts to account for the many crimes they committed while in office. Nothing less will suffice.

    November 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Dorothy Jefferson

    Congrats in order, we drew fire.'nuff said {to wise}.

    November 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. jcc

    IMPEACH him now before he can do more damage!

    November 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Chuck

    His "legacy" is shot. He will be remembered, but not for those things. I will remember him for...
    1. Stealing an election
    2. Unilaterally going to war
    3. Hurricane Katrina
    4. A horrible economy
    5. Choosing and keeping Dick Cheney

    and many, many more.

    Im ready to skip right on through the New Year and get to 1:20:09

    November 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Ted:Canada

    I actually feel sorry for the guy!

    HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS WILL NOT BE KIND TO THIS PRESIDENT and the republicans through the last eight years.

    One quote up here in Canada referred to the "period" as the "Days of Darkness".

    at a basic human level and as he retires – we wish him better!

    November 28, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. D in DC

    Certainly he will be remembered for his values. Like "Total Disregard" for those affected by Katrina. Or "Total Ineptitude" in dealing with the Financial Crisis. And many, many more values, which, to the rest of the nation, seem more like defects. He will be remembered all right.

    November 28, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. John CT

    Too bad he didn't learn anything during those eight years and remains the same person as he was in 2000....

    November 28, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. papaharb

    the absolute worst prez ever! get the hell outta town. good riddance!

    November 28, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Cheryl Patrick

    Remembered? How about as a President who sent over 4,000 Americans to their deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan? How about as a President who made his friends and family wealthier while selling the "average" American down the river? How about as a President who, at the request of his banker buddies, made bankruptcy so difficult for the "average" American? Then those same banker buddies asked him to give them in effect, a "free" bankruptcy (aka bailout) and he couldn't jump fast enough. They expect the very people they had no sympathy/empathy for to acquiesce - quietly. How about as a President who lied about WMD? And we all know how that turned out. I voted (twice) for this President but all I can say now is "Good Riddance". I'll be turning my only child (son) over to President Obama in 2010 (College ROTC cadet). My fervent prayer is that THIS President keeps his promise(s) - thinks about consequences before he acts – and makes decision based on facts, not greed.

    November 28, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. Mike

    Yeah, you've got to have one to begin with in order to sell it.

    November 28, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. Big Cowboy

    He is the worst POTUS ever– even worse than Herbert Hoover.

    November 28, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Steve in Atlanta

    A decent man, who happened into some of the worst circumstances in history.

    He is a man who is ridiculed for fighting terrorists, demagogues, dictators, and oppressors of women. I wish the Feminists would spend a year in a burka, walk everywhere because they can't drive, wish for a better day because they can't vote, and be forced to stay inside because they can't go to school.

    The Clintons put everyone in a house when they couldn't afford it; the liberals gave cover to the abuses Freddie and Fannie; and Bush bore the brunt of the economic meltdown. Never once did he finger-point, unlike Nancy Pelosi.

    I fault him for one thing: excess spending.

    November 28, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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