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. Frank in NC

    An interview with your sister? What's wrong little boy? Were you afraid Fox might ask too many tough questions?

    What a wimp.

    November 28, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Matt

    Staying true to your values is not admirable when your values are corruption, deceit, and scandal

    November 28, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Mike Scott

    President Bush’s formidable incompetence & dishonesty, combined with his marginal intellect & lack of vision were all factors in Senator McCain’s defeat. In spite of my serious misgivings about Senator Obama, I’m relieved & happy that this fool of a president, George W. Bush, will be out of our lives in 53 days. Typical of Bush’s “low grade ore” essence, he’s probably clueless about the havoc he wrought upon this nation, and upon the Republican party.

    November 28, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. eman

    No Bush didn't sell himself out, he sold America out. Locked us up for eight years and raped America over and over again. Now he's leaving us bloody, bruised and beaten by the side of the road as he and his buddies drive off into the sunset laughing away with all the millions of tax payer dollars safely stashed. Bush is leaving town the same person he was when came in. Yeah that's great, fantastic, thanks for all the great times!

    November 28, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. morris diehl

    Help I don't want to hear any stories about bush chaney palin mccain or another rightwing neocon who basically sold their souls to the devil.

    November 28, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Ken

    Man, this dolt of a human being is so bad, he even gave is elderly mother an ulcer!! Good grief!

    November 28, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Jon Garner

    This is beyond arrogance. The man has no conscience and no intelligence.

    GO AWAY!!!!

    GO VERY FAR AWAY!!!!!!


    November 28, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Jeff

    Worst President of my generation. Proof that if you are connected anything is possible regardless of IQ.

    Signed: A Registered Republican

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

    Eight years, same values = eight years and I learned absolutely nothing on the job, leaving as dumb and inexperienced as when I began

    November 28, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. 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 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Deshawn

    Bush's reign will pale after Obama's administration. A socialist society is a failed society.
    My son's grandsons will be collared with the debt that Obama is about to create.

    November 28, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Joe g

    It would take a sister to believe this line bovine scatology.

    November 28, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Erectus in Indiana

    Bush can not sell his soul, ... the devil already owns it.

    November 28, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. Karen,

    Bush is right for once!
    He couldn't have sold his soul, because he never had one to begin with.

    November 28, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. AK in Texas

    I have no doubt that Bush meant well. But, I just don't agree with his "values".

    It's time to re-establish friendships thoughout the world, not make more enemies. January cannot get here soon enough.

    November 28, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Mary

    Wow, It is clear that GW has a totally different idea of what he did than what actually happened. His reality is realy warped. However, a new day is here and soon , very soon, it will improve.

    I hope he enjoys his retirement as much as I will enjoy sending him off....................

    November 28, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. Chris

    Did he say he hoped to be remembered for peace?!!!!!!! What a joke. This guy is a fool. William Henry Harrison had a better Presidency than this clown.

    November 28, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Matt, Chico, CA

    And the liberal slander begins......

    You liberals just don't get it. Don't you think that if he had done anything illegal/impeachable that Pelosi and Reid would be leading the charge to get rid of him? The fact is, whether you like hispolicies or not, he hasn;t done anything illegal. Yes, soldiers died under his term. Soldiers die under every President in every conflict. It is a sad reality. What about the 70+ people that died because of Clinton's actions and decision at Waco?

    Good speaker or not. Bush is a lot better person than 90% of people are willing to admit

    November 28, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Beth, MA

    Bush believed that he had a mandate from God to liberate Iraq and set up a democracy. That he lied to Congress and the people of the US isn't going to shake his belief that he did what God told him to do. That it isn't possible to mandate democracy wouldn't cross the mind of a man whose sense of history is confined to the period immediately before he stepped onto the world stage.

    Bush will be remembered as the man who was handed the job by the Supreme Court, the majority of whom had been appointed by a Republican president. He will be remembered as the man whose party used lies and innuendo to win his second term.

    History will remember Bush as the arrogant frat boy who proclaimed "Mission Accomplished" and then sat back and watched soldiers die in Iraq. History will remember Bush as the president who flew over the remains of a major American city and did nothing to help restore it.

    He will be remembered as the president who inherited a budget surplus and who then led the country into the worst economic crisis in nearly 80 years. Bush will be remembered as the president who didn't even try to make the country better than it was when it was handed to him.

    November 28, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Mike

    He disgusts me.

    The fact that, after 8 years of failed, ignorant and divisive policy he still has the "same set of values" is only a further incrimination of the idiocy of his "stick-to-yer-guns" cowboy diplomacy.

    It's not called flip-flopping to learn from your mistakes, GW – it's called wisdom. It is something which you clearly lack, and something that we shouldn't have dismissed John Kerry for having.

    At the risk of saying I told you so, I voted AGAINST Bush in 2000 and 2004 more than I voted for any candidate, and I can only imagine how things would have been different if more Americans had done the same when given the opportunity.

    But oh well, at least we got it right in 2008. Good luck Obama, may you be up to dealing with teh smoldering wreckage of a presidency and political/economic situation that GW has left for you!

    November 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. T C

    Biggest b.s. !!

    This is more like it :

    "The technical fault that led to this eight-year service interruption
    has been located, and the parts responsible were replaced Tuesday
    night, November 4. Early tests of the new install indicate that it is
    functioning correctly"

    When is January, 2009? Soon, we all hope

    November 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Terry Gloege (Kansas)

    I'd like to be remembered as 6 feet tall. But at the age of 62 I suspect my growth spurt stopped several years back at 5 feet 7 inches.

    November 28, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    What values???? Looting the national Treasury and surrounding the presidency with mean nasty Hench men . Yes George really has values. Scooter Libbey comes to mind and the death of almost 5000 American soldiers. Yes let it be said George has his set of ,values.

    November 28, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. Brad Oberg USNR

    Yes resign today. Let Cheny have the reigns. Wait all the libs would freek. Cheny resigns too. Then, well well well, Condi would be the first black and female pres and a Repub as well. Put that in your hat and smoke it libs!!!!

    November 28, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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