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. Breaking News

    Our values were to be upheld not this criminals.Values?You mean how much money he and his friends made from wars and big oil?

    November 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Norman

    I voted for Al Gore the first time around and President Bush when pitted against John Kerry. I have never regretted that since I now realize had Kerry won, Obama would not be President Elect today. Thank God!

    I have to say as a Republican, I am thoroughly disappointed in Bush. I used to this he was a moron, and just did not understand....I now know better. He is a not a stupid, yet completely and utterly out of touch. What is more sinister is that he knew exactly what he was doing. Has all along. I used to think that Cheney was the one pushing all these terrible, Cheney was merely an extension of Bush.

    I will be glad to see him go. Not everything he did was bad, yet there was a certain incompetence, he missed the details....and only led on the premise of the bigger picture. Well the bigger picture can never come together if you cannot master the details!

    November 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. jon


    November 28, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. DSW

    Oh W, I will always fondly remember you as one of the most inadequate people to every be elected President; don't you worry.

    November 28, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. Jana

    bush's comments speak to his utter concrete stubbornness to look beyond his "values" (?). Because he chooses to not hear others viewpoints, ideas and suggestions – he operated in his and Cheney's ivory tower - safely away from the country they destroyed.

    November 28, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. Anne-VA

    "Values"? hahahahahahahahhaa....oh hold me down...hahahahhaa!

    "I'm leaving with the same values I came with"...

    That doesn't surprise me...look at the mess your "Values" have gotten this country in...

    You illiterate, lame brain!!!

    November 28, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. Christian

    Don't let the door hit you in the ...

    November 28, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. Ivan

    Which set of values, the ones he speaks about or the values of his actions? It's the "do as I say not as I do" approach to living one's life.

    November 28, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. abraxis

    Georgie Boy where are you?

    The cry of the village in Texas calling for their village idiot!

    November 28, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Finally, he said something I liked!

    'I'm leaving...!"

    The rest was just blah, blah, blah.

    November 28, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Mark G.

    January 20th is not early enough. Obama is already acting like a president that only Bush could dream of every being. Go back to the ranch permanently and don't come back to Washington.

    November 28, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |

    Same Values, but a country in RUINS and worse off than he found it.

    History will judge him as one of the worst Presidents in history. Go back to Texas and stay there...You Inarticulate, Inept, Aristocratic Rube.

    November 28, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. Bill

    Oh yeah, his "values" of torture, fear, division, wild spending, etc., are still in tact. This is a dull, man-child that would not have been elected dog-catcher in Waco had his father not been President of the United States.

    The next time a set of cynical spin doctors tries to market a folksy, down-home, "non-intellectual" presidential candidate to this country (Sarah Palin, anyone?), hopefully they will be run out of town.

    The damage this fool has done to America is beyond anything Osama bin Ladin could have ever imagined or dreamed. Hopefully we will not hear about a member of the faux-populist, entitled Bush clan running for office in this country ever again. Just go far, far away!

    November 28, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Jamie

    What? He didn't sell his soul to accommodate the political process?
    The country begs to differ, did he not notice the results of the election 3 weeks ago and how they were a complete rejection of him and his failed administration?

    November 28, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. Louis

    Set of values? Oh, right. Dumb and dumber!

    November 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Dawn, Fort Mill SC

    Good riddance. I voted Democrat for the first time in my 48 years on this planet. And you Mr. Bush had a lot to do with that. Whatever values you had, I wish you would have checked them at the door.

    You ruined this country beyond belief. If there was any positive out of this, you finally woke up the nation that the status quo will no longer DO!

    Amazing, you had so much I know that was the packaging.

    November 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. russ in pa

    oh yes. resigning would make things so much better. lets annoint the messiah right now

    November 28, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. David, Israel

    You must have a very different set of values that most decent people.

    November 28, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. RAR

    Mr. President please tell us the values you came into office with. You tried to sell us a "war of choice" by invading Iraq by lieing to us about "the pending mushroom cloud". You lied to us in your "State of the Union" speech. You came into office the most intellectually detached President in modern history. You appointed policitcal cronies; rewards for their loyality to you rather than their intelligence and experience. You promised to "work together for the common good" yet presided over the most partisan White House in history. Your "fiscal conservatism" turned budget surpluses into a mountain of debt. And now as you leave office you want to be remember as someone who didn't sacrifice their values. Perhaps the outcome would be differnt if you had. May history be fair to you. Your presidency is a colossal failure!!

    November 28, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. Robert in raleigh

    So long President Bush, it's been one hell of a ride, have a nice life..

    November 28, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. Paul

    Did not "sell his soul", unlike the current PEOTUS. Now that's a demon in a suit.

    November 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. Joshua College Station Texas

    "I'm leaving with the same set of values."

    That's depressing. I guess he didn't learn anything.

    I can't wait till we put him in prison!

    November 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. Steve in WY

    George, in your case "The Process" was the Constitution. I know how you'd like to be remembered; but I don't live in the same bubble that you do – so there's a chance that my perception of your Presidency will be different from yours.

    November 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. darrell

    Ran the country in the ground, just like he did his other business.

    November 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. Ramon Chicago

    I don't understand since Obama wouldn't take office until January 20 Bush let the country fall apart. If Bush doesn’t what to do anything we could remember about his legacy then resign today and let Obama move in and have full presidential power

    November 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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