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. mom2

    he sold more than his soul – he sold the whole darn country...he was egged on the way in – let's cheer when he goes...

    November 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. kim

    Values evolve; hopefully one learns and becomes clearer from experiences and outcomes. Why wasn't he impeached? Can the world still bring him up for crimes against humanity?

    November 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Bush an idiot

    in ur dreams!

    November 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Maggie Muggins

    The poor simpleton is dillusional and completely out of touch with reality. He made Cheney and his pals rich by injuring and killing hundreds of thousands of people. I hope he is charged with war crimes as does 99% of the rest of the world.

    November 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. KCBob

    You will be remembered as the president who betrayed his oath to uphold the constitution.

    You will be remembered as a torturer and war criminal who escaped justice. I will be sure thats how my children remember you also...scumbag

    November 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. tom

    i am sure hitler thought he had good values also.... worst president in american history...

    November 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. JL

    I guess if his values have always been greed and corruption, then he is leaving with the same values. I'll leave the rest of his statement for the comedians to comment on.

    November 28, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Robert in raleigh

    If you can't think of something nice to say don't say anything,, Just think of all the laughter he brought , on almost a daily basis...

    November 28, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. Landon

    The first 3 individuals to comment provided emotional responses... decisions need to be logical. Bush's decisions (though many were wrong) were, in fact, logical.

    We as Americans are short-sighted and impatient - all good things take time. Many of Bush's decisions, while not popular, will be proven logically sound ones in the years to come.

    November 28, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. FL for Obama

    I have great respect for the office of the POTUS. But individuals have to earn my respect. He lost mine when the world discovered that Iraq did not have any WMD. He lied to the world and took us into a war where thousands of our American heroes, and thousands of innocent Iraqis have died. That's some legacy, Mr. Bush. I hope you picture those innocent faces – and those who are not jobless and hopeless because of Wall Street deregulation – while you retire in Texas.

    November 28, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. KD

    As the head Republican in charge, he sucks and he knows he sucks, but just like McCain his senile friend, he believes if he keeps saying something then eventually it becomes true, WELL IT DIDNT WORK THEN AND IT WONT WORK NOW !

    November 28, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Michael Turner GA

    The worse thing is to start believing one's own lies.

    November 28, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Julio

    God bless you President. Thank you for leading this country through 9/11 with dignity and honor.

    We'll forever remember the best president this country has ever had.

    November 28, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. honestly

    I didn't think he had any values.

    Only 52 more days. Can we hold out?

    November 28, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Bob in NC

    Thank you Mr. President for sticking up for us. I will always appreciate you.

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

    He is kidding, right? He really thinks we don't see thru the lies, the rogue ways he conducted himself in the service of the American people. We were not serviced, we were deceived. Be gone already, we have had enough. Anyone in Congress know how to spell IMPEACHMENT? TREASON, WAR CRIMES?

    November 28, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Chuck

    I'd say that Bushes values are very askewed. Hence the conditions for which he is leaving the next president. But it's OK. He has good "christian" values that he tried to use to take freedoms away from millions of Americans. Boy what values! I guess if you say you are a "Christian", whether your values are evil or not really is irrelevant and we should all be thankful. NOT!!!

    November 28, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. Susan

    in order to sell your soul you must have one to begin with...

    November 28, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Jesse Callahan

    It is my belief that one must have a soul before he can sell it.

    Brookeland, Tx

    November 28, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Kimberly from Houston, TX

    No, instead, he sold American to China!

    November 28, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. HoldenLitgo

    You were soulless when you came in, you'll be soulless when you leave.

    November 28, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. SJC

    The man has no values. Now he claims we went to war to "liberate" the Iraqi people while we were at war in Afghanistan. That's not what we heard when Powell made his speech to the UN in Feb. 2003. It was WMD! What kind of man sends 4100 soldiers to their deaths and constantly changes the reason why they went to war? A man without an ounce of conscience. George Bush will be remembered as a president with no redeeming presidential qualities. None.

    November 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. David in Houston

    Worst. President. Ever.

    November 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. Ryan

    I have to laugh when people say Bush 'is the worst president in the history of this nation' because apparently they do not know their history. Try reading about and learning about Grant and Hoover. Andrew Jackson was impeached as well as Grant due to corruption. I am not going to say any of these are the 'worst in history' because I am smart enough not to make a blanket statement that is in no way verifiable or even close to being an educated statement.

    November 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. Obama saves the world

    You want to be remembered for the success for the war Iraq, what the hell is Bush talking about, we have destroyed a country and turned it into war zone where tens of people are still dying everyday, we have lost more than 4000 american sons and daughters, and there is still no end insight. the best thing Mr Bush can do is leave quitely, and just drift off into the sunset , and let Obama do his thing

    November 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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