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. ap

    "helped achieve peace"?!?!?!?! WHAT!?!?!?! He can't be serious. That's the most outrageous statement I've heard in a while.

    November 28, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. Doug R.

    Rumor has it George and Laura are separating after he leaves office.

    November 28, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. farker


    November 28, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Pete from Austin Tx.

    The only worthwhile thing Bush did was his help to Africa. The prescription drug benefit was and is primarily a benefit to the drug companies. As far as liberating Iraq, Oh Please, give it a rest. Good riddance to bad rubbish and the sooner the better.

    November 28, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. Richard Rohde

    Bitter Bitter Communists.

    November 28, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. Dan

    Given that he did so well, there was little reason for him to make any adjustments along the way.

    November 28, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. LM

    I wonder how it is that his "values" include destroying our environment. One of his last acts as president, selling of some of our most beautiful pristine land to oil drilling interests.

    November 28, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. nancy

    "My way or the Highway" is a value???? And yes, you are leaving with the same "values". NONE. Your total disregard for the people of the United States is your legacy and nothing to be proud of. You make the American People ashamed to say you were our President for 8 long years. Don't lose any sleep over the utter injustices including 4,000 dead, thousands more critically injured. I don't know how you sleep at night. Have a wonderful life.

    November 28, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. JReed

    He sold his soul BEFORE he was appointed. It was bought and paid for long, long ago. What a pathetic piece of humanity, just like O'Lielly.

    November 28, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. david escamilla

    Best President ever! He did what was needed, not what was popular.

    November 28, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. rachae

    He will be remembered as the worste and most corrupt of all the presidents.

    November 28, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. steven harnack

    the trouble is, he went to washington with warped values.

    November 28, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. MD

    What Bush calls liberating was murder. He murdered thousands of people, including Americans to fatten his pocket and the pocket of his friends with oil money and lucrative contracts worth billions of dollars.

    Even if Obama won't demand war crimes trial, the world community must. Bush and his cronies put themselves above the law, and there is nothing moe unamerican than that.

    November 28, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. JG

    There has to be a medical term for someone suffering from this type of delusion.

    The fact that 'achieving peace' is part of this guy's legacy if a total joke.

    And the part where he 'rallied people to serve their neighbour'.. come on! More like 'serve your neighbour' as long as they fall in line and have the same ideas as you; if not ignore, abuse and punish them.

    Now that he is on his way out, his biggest nemisis will be the history books.

    November 28, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. Badwater

    Of course Bush did not sell his soul. One cannot sell what they do not possess.

    November 28, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. eaglenws

    He has the same screwed up values he had when he stole the presicency on 2000.

    November 28, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Sam Barber

    "I'm leaving with the same set of values."
    –George W. Bush–

    That set being: {0}

    November 28, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. shumpie

    when you are satin, you don't need to lower your values.

    November 28, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. DC in New York City

    God Bless and Thank You Mr. President...

    November 28, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Jesse from Maryland

    While not the perfect president, "locking him up for crimes against humanity" is sheer idiocy and demonstrates an incredible ignorance of history. Should we have locked up FDR, Kennedy or Truman? Bush got a tough draw as president, and he deserves respect for doing the best he could with a bad hand. Who wants to get elected to be a wartime president? He kept this country safe, and doesn't deserve half the crap people throw at him. As the elected president of our country, he deserves respect (as will Obama), especially because none of the people posting on this blog (including myself) will ever know the whole story, and all the information behind the actions. Bush was not a perfect president, but he is certainly not the worst in history.

    November 28, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. mitchell

    the first and only president with the mentality of a 3rd grader with learning disabilities.

    November 28, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. Salem, VA

    Can we impeach him now?

    November 28, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. Michael

    George W. Bush is the most incompetent man ever to serve as the President of the United States. The American people and world judged him hash (Tuesday, Nov 4th, 2008), history will judge him hash, and will God.

    November 28, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. linda hopkins

    Under Mr. Bush's regeim out country as a whole has suffered due to the inability to look ahead. We as a nation look to our leaders for sound advise and stellar confidence. We haven't received either. Who was asleep at the wheel while the Titanic slept?? Now we are pledging monies for bailouts. Who is going to bailout the American People. Mr. Bush is going to go back to Texas and live his life in the lap of luxury without worries of loosing his home.
    Most of us don't care who is president or who the cabinet members are we just want to stabilize our financial situations and make our debts. Then, and only then do I feel like I can take a spa day.

    November 28, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. LeTigre

    already the bush derangement idiots are out in force... "crimes against humanity"? "worst president in the history of this nation"? hmmm. someone's forgotten about LBJ and jimmy carter... wake up

    November 28, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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