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. Charles Stoll

    His values are those of a traitor. Dems should pursue come January.

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

    Thank you, 43. To all the ingrates, you will miss the Bush bashing.

    November 28, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. cu

    Anyone remember a time that President George W. Bush rallied them or their neighbors to serve their neighborhood? I am thinking to the past eight years... When was I motivated? The one I remember was when asked what to do to help on 9/11 and his answer was "go out and buy".

    November 28, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. Mavericky

    How do you sell something you never had? Liberated Iraqis? Is that why we were greeted with bombs?

    November 28, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. judith Kristen

    Values??????? the values of a street dog,,,, no,,, sorry dogs have higher values... Makes me sick too... he will be remembered alright... but the wrong one was hung when they did Sadam.... he didn't pretend to be something he wasn't,,, in the end, he was more honest than this piece of trash and that Cheney who was the puppet master... both of them nothing better than self-righteous murderous pigs....January 20 can get here fast enough.. someone with character would leave now....

    November 28, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. Mike

    His values are not the same as most everybody else's, and he puts his personal values above what is best for the country, even after all this time he still doesn't understand how out of touch he was and is. He can't leave fast enough for me.

    November 28, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Robert

    Surprise surprise...more liberal Bush haters. Go away and whine someplace else...better yet have some integrity and hold Obama and the Dems as accoutable as you held Bush...although we know you won't.

    President Bush, we appreciate all you did, and just as with some past Presidents, history WILL rate you as a fine President...idiotic liberal basher comments to the contrary. God Bless you and enjoy your well-deserved retirement and future career.

    November 28, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. Emefa IL

    He "did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process."
    It means absolutely nothing. Look at the mess you've created in this country and the world. Leave and never come back!!!!!!!!!

    November 28, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Rallied people to serve their neighbor?

    Like you do for Katrina?!?!

    November 28, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Kay

    He needs to go back to Sunday school to learn the commandments like "thou shat not bear false whitness".

    November 28, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. Joyce in Indiana

    How unfortunate that soon-to-be-ex-President Bush didn't learn anything new while in office. It is the nature of humans to grow and learn and change over time, yet he seems to be as ignorant of how the country and the world really work as he was when he was first appointed.

    I hope and pray and believe that our incoming president, Barack Obama, will learn and adapt as our country's and the world's needs change. I look forward to the US again being respected by it's citizens and those around the world, because, yes, it does matter. The world is bigger than just the United States.

    November 28, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Samuel

    I believe you have to have a soul before you can sell it.

    November 28, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Diane

    The only value George Bush knows anything about is the value of his portfolio. I'd love to know what this administration has made from Haliburton stock alone. Does the term "conflict of interest" mean anything? As Karen has so correctly stated, "VALUES?".

    November 28, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Truth is

    A resignation right now is the right proper and honorable thing to do for this nation.

    + you need to corral all your lawyers to protect you from indictments for the rest of your life

    Crimes have been commited.....some of which there are no statute of limitations

    November 28, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. jeane walp

    What alternate universe does this man live in? He will be remembered as a commander in chief that used his presidency to prey on people's fear to help his friends turn a profit. He should be ashamed of himself. As the country sits stunned at the financial ruin he has helped create, he has already checked out. That will be his legacy. I feel he will go down as the worst president in history.

    November 28, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Phoenix

    I'm not mad at President Bush, I'm mad at the voters who re-elected him even with the obvious signs that he was destroying the country. His record as both governor and as a company executive should have been enough to let the country know that he would lead us down a road of destruction. He's right, he did not change is values. Heck, he didn't have to.

    November 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Aaron, Chicago

    The man is a worthless failure, the history books will regard his presidency as criminal and not worthy of that title.

    I just wonder if his parents are reflecting on the fact that they raised a worthless disaster of a human being who crippled the country and the world.

    November 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. SL, CA

    This joke of a president cannot be over fast enough.

    Thanks to all of you out there that voted him in because his stance on abortions and gays. I hope that you have learned that just because someone's core values matches yours, doesnt mean that they are a fit leader.

    November 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. John

    He'll be remembered as the worst pResident in history... and hopefully as the first to make road gravel from very large rocks while wearing a striped prison suit for his war crimes. I think one year for each person killed as a soldier or innocent person killed as collateral damage would be about right

    November 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Dustin in Portland OR

    You are a total disgrace Mr. President. I hope you go away ASAP, climb down into a dark little hole and never come back out. What are these so-called "values" that have caused you to make the "leadership" choices that you have made? Please articulate them for me so that I can avoid teaching them to my childen at all costs. The only values/beliefs, mental intent that I have seen displayed in action would get someone locked in a mental asylum or prison for a long period while they were bieng treated.

    I actually feel a bit of pity for you. I know that you wanted to meet or exceed your father's legacy, but you misssed the mark and I am sure that in itself often keeps you awake at night.

    Take care and say hello to Scooter at the pardon party.


    November 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Larry Gentry

    I hope he doesn't know a moment's peace for the rest of his days.

    November 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. Perusing-Through

    "I came to Washington with a set of values, and I'm leaving with the same set of values."

    After taking over 8-years ago when the nation had an economic surplus, low unemployment, relatively cheap energy, booming housing industry, growing stocks & investments, admiration of most nations, credibility around the world, and no 'EXTENDED MULTI-YEAR' wars; – – – – – – – – – – Bush Jr. still cannot understand the finer points of leadership and will never measure up to his dad.

    November 28, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. Charles Kern

    Had I known what his values truly were eight years ago, I would not have voted for him in 2000 and 2004. His values have ruined the Republican party. That will be a major lasting contribution to his legacy.

    November 28, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. AB in MN

    Only idiot doesn't know the war in Iraq was started over OIL. Bush is in bed with the oil companies, it's obvious. Hopefully he's remembered for all the innocent lives lost in the Iraq war and the thousands to people who were displaced from their country. And then there's Katrina. Bush is the worst president in the history of this great country. The only time I would speak positively about Bush would be if we were talking about Bush the "con man".

    November 28, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Jeremy in Utah

    Don't go away mad W. Just go away.

    November 28, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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