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. maria

    Some one must have signicantly edited his comments, this man (Bush) can't complete a sentence correctly.

    November 28, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. Rick

    Guess his old-fashioned values include killing over 100,000 Iraqi citizens who didn't want to be "liberated" in the first place and ordering the torturing of prisoners. He also shouldn't be bragging about helping Africa in anyway when they have a major genocide occuring and the worst violation of human rights as we speak. His presidency should be known for him being impeached and imprisoned and held accountable for his war crimes.

    November 28, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. Dona

    He should have to pay for all the lives that have been lost due to his so called "values" and the ruin he has brought to this country which will take decades to repair.

    November 28, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. Butch Dillon

    Bush is a mindless, value deprived buffoon. He will forever remain a testament to the stupidity, arrogance and narrow mindedness of republicans and right wing conservatives alike, all of whom will share with him toasty quarters in hell for eternity.

    November 28, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Ken

    I don't care if he stuck to his values or not. He has brought our country into a situation that is dire to all American citizens. He has brought us even closer to becoming a 3rd world country. I pray that one day he will realize what he has don't to our great country and to the American people.

    November 28, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. g-girl

    What do you expect from a man who doesn't read? He doesn't know how to use a dictionary, so he wouldn't know how to find the definition of "values". The weak minded are easily led, and that's exactly what happened in this administration. Cheney and Rove ran the country from their holes, so i suppose Bush can justify the mess we're in as not one of his making. You can't sacrifice what you don't have!!!!!

    November 28, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. JT

    I'm still wondering what values he brought to the White House in the first place. Bomb up a country first then ask questions later?

    November 28, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. Diana Ewing NJ

    Yes he is leaving with the same values... He did not learn anything along the way.. Not one little thing.... did he learn

    November 28, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. Rob

    It's clear that for Bush winning the White House was for extrinsic motivational factors only. I remain dubious that he had any clear positive vision for the country other then helping line the wallets of the wealthy on the blood of others, and I don't see him as being engaged in the political process once he hands the reigns over to Obama on January 20th, 2009.

    For Bush, 'winning' the White House is his trophy, he will certainly not leave the world, or US more empowered then he took office. In fact, he has left the majority of the populous disenfranchised, but fortunately not completely lacking in self-efficacy, after all voter turn out was in record numbers this year and the consensus is indeed for change.

    American history is revisionist history, so I expect that Bush will go down in the books as being an unwavering, determined commander-in-chief who stuck to his guns. Sad, but in all reality probably true.

    Time will only tell.

    November 28, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Sylvia Ardene

    We all know what Pres. Bush values. Of course he has remained true to these deplorable values. Good for the American public and the world to be rid of this horrid man.

    November 28, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. missy, ohio

    Hell is the car running or is the plane ready to board which one will get him off this earth fast enough. He will go down as the worst president we ever put in office and no it was not my vote I am smarter than that I voted for that one.................PLEASE NO SPEECHING ENGAGEMENT WHO THE HELL WANT TO LISTEN TO YOU THE PEOPLE OR FED UP WITH YOU AND THAT PALIN WOMEN SHUT UP PLEASE.

    November 28, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Critical Thinker

    I call shenanigans.

    November 28, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. Katy

    How scary is it that this President could do so much harm to this country in 8 years.

    How scary is it that "we" the people (not me the person) voted him in the second time.'

    November 28, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. jeff

    For God sake there are certain good things that Mr. Bush will be remembered for, like liberating the Iraqis and fighting terrorism.

    November 28, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Matt

    Fight against AIDS. what?

    His stance on spreading condom use says it all. He's an idealist. And just look where his ideals got you America.

    There's something to be said about sticking to your values.

    There's also something to be said about evolving with the times.

    November 28, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. BobInTulsa

    President Bush was dealt a tough hand on 9-11 and did the best anyone could have done. The rabid attacks from the Left began the day after the 2000 election was decided. The ferocity of his opponents never changed and he had little choice but to insulate himself from the hate-mongers. Just reading the responses already made tells the tale. Chastize, Denigrate, and Demonize is what his detractors do best. Pointless stuff.

    November 28, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Mark Bloxsom

    He may not have sold his soul, but he sold out America.

    November 28, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Jonathan

    It will take awhile to wash off all the blood on his hands. Bush's intentions are irrelevant when paired up with what has been carried out against humanity in order to achieve them. His "legacy" will be one of a man who's naivety and poor judgement allowed others to effectively run their own agenda. One that was representative of a narrow sliver of special interests and certainly not in the interests of the american people. This is what happens when we elect a president who as a man has fallen short at every venture and prospect he has come across. A man who did not earn his position by selflessness, and hard work, but by riding the coattails of his father, and the repbulican election machine.

    November 28, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. James

    How nice to know that he feels ok with sending our troops to die in Iraq when the attackers where in afg/Pakistan. Nice to know he feels no regret for the 30,000 plus soldiers who sufferer in hospitals to this day. How nice to know he doesn't regret ending the Iraq occupation before he leaves office, how nice for him.

    November 28, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. former gop

    Um... In order to sell his soul, Bush would first need to have one.

    November 28, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. vJ

    He will be remembered one of the unqualified and ignorant president in the history of the United states. No one is going to think of him after January 20,2009.

    November 28, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. davit

    That's one way of looking at it.

    November 28, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. New Day

    I agree with Bush 100% on this. He bankrupted a couple companies before becoming president, and he has just about bankrupted this country.

    November 28, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. fat john

    You did too

    November 28, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. S Callahan

    Who are we to judge if he sold his soul, that will come from God.
    From my view though, God is a spirit of peace and this world seems to be lacking that despite desiring it. God doesn't give a leader a position of authority to abuse it but to make this world better.

    November 28, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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