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. Paul Christison

    Pathetic. Just pathetic.

    November 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. katiec

    After leaving office would imagine Bush will have hard time mentally for all the diasters he has created for our country. Know he never
    admits he is wrong, but he has to realize deep down that he made
    many costly mistakes.
    But, it appears during his remaining days he will continue to
    to support and do all possible to help big business, regardless
    of what it does to our country and our environment.

    November 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Mark

    What about OUR values as a country that he absolutely flushed down the drain. Illegal and immoral wars, torture, spying on U.S. citizens, trashing of the Constitution. Values? Are you kidding? January 20: the long national nightmare ends and the long road to recovery begins.

    November 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Shucks

    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 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Ron of Baltimore

    For one thing, a legacy is not something you keep yourself. It is something you leave for those behind to either hold or reflect upon.

    W sold his soul, knowingly or not, at least by the time of 9/11, and repeatedly after that. Here he is trying to kid himself, but it won't work for long. He and his fellow devils-in-waiting had been looking for an excuse to hit Iraq, and 9/11 provided dishonest, soul-sold-long-ago cover.

    His too-little heralded support of helping fight HIV/AIDS in Africa should buy him a few days in limbo, then on to purgatory while the crimes against humanity (which he could have stopped it he'd had those kinds of values) are counted up, and then eternity in you know where. That is what humanity's collective memories of him will be, and how history books will remember him. Sad but all too true.

    November 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Joe Regis

    Usually we learn from our forefather's mistakes and yet this administration was unprecedented in the anal of historic failures.

    I would rather look at his father's records a 1000 times than casting a glimpse at this dark moment of America.

    November 28, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. MBFLA

    Peace? Somehow there are lots of people in Iraq and Afghanistan (as well as Pakistan, Iran and and Syria) who would argue about how much peace Bush has created in their lives. How many civilians are dead in those countries on his watch? How much infrastructure has been decimated? How does this man sleep at night knowing what he has done?

    November 28, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. The Truf

    I say Congress denies him a Presidential Library...Give him a Presidential Arby's or Chuck E. Cheese. Degenerate man has led the country down an abyss and ruined his once-proud party for a long time to come.

    November 28, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Don

    What you will be remembered as is a monster who killed thousands on whim and lies, abused power every step of the way, tortured people, told constant lies to the people you were to serve.........the list goes on and on. Yeah, You sold out Buddy, but too which God.

    November 28, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Army Vet 2005-2008

    Delusional to the very end: how typical. I think his legacy is more likely to be the huge disconnect between the White House and the people that make up this great country. Whether it was in the war mongering policies or in the denial of the devastated economy – George W Bush has shown he knows nothing about the true state of this country or of the world. I for one will be glad to see him go.

    November 28, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. Ellen

    It would be nice if the moderator would exclude some of the hateful, liberal comments instead of the ones that appreciate the fact that Bush was our President in our darkest hour. I seriously doubt that Clinton or Obama would have been as decisive in protecting our country in 2001. I am also appalled at the number of posters that continually blame Bush for Katrina. That disaster was an act of God not man made. If the residents of NO had not taken to firing on the rescue teams from roof tops, they might have received help sooner.

    Are all you liberals so arrogant as to think you would have had all the correct answers if you were in Bush's position?

    November 28, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. slimjim66

    Impeach this war terrorist , and then hang him ...

    November 28, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Darron, Temple, GA

    God bless you, Mr. President. You did a great job with what you had to work with. It's great to see that Christian values can still be upheld even in the biggest trials and tribulations that can occur. Great job sticking to those values and principles. I pray you and Mrs. Bush enjoy some times of rest and relaxation now. God's speed!

    November 28, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. Dennis

    Bush will be remembered as the President who did everything in his Power to stop us from bringing out to the Public our Clean Green Technologies ! 2 People from the White House went to NJ and saw we had the Mileage increase perfected and were licking the Manufactures Computer systems on Cars & Trucks. Now we have them all licked ! So 2009 will be our breakout finnaly to the Public as soon as Bush is gone. He will be know as the Crooked President who screwed Americans for 8 yrs. The Truth will set you Free July 10th 2009 < 100mpgtodaydotcom

    November 28, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. teesha

    With a war that you start for your self just your self selfish. Go now with in your mind what the mess you left...

    November 28, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. WBW OHIO

    You have to have a soul. POS

    November 28, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Barbara

    Dumbya's just as delusional as ever.

    November 28, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. Bob Bledsoe

    As a fourth generation Texan I would like to say that Bush is as clueless today as he was the day he was inaugurated in 2000. He still couldn't pour piss out of a boot with the directions written on the heel. He went in dumb riding on his daddy's money and he's coming out dumb. He has totally destroyed the Republican party.

    November 28, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. Patrick

    LOL.....if Bush resigned today Cheney would be president until obama's inauguration.

    November 28, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  20. Obama in North GA

    Thanks for all the great work...NOT!!!

    November 28, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. REG in AZ

    A Reality to Remember: The last eight years, with the Bush-Cheney policies, have proven beyond any doubt that cutting taxes for the wealthy and/or patronizing Special Interests neither stimulates the economy nor does it create jobs. What we have experienced really indicates the exact opposite. Small businesses and all businesses simply do not thrive and hire people because their taxes are lower but rather grow because the economy is good and because people are spending money; that is simply Business 101 honesty. Then the reality is that the way to increase income for businesses and even for the wealthy is to simply insure more people have more money to spend. The ‘trickle down’ theory is a fraud as our economy has always been more of a ‘bubble up’ action and then stimulating it at the bottom really does benefit everyone. The rationalizing that more consideration for the top end stimulates the economy is not only false but it causes the focus to be in the wrong place and to be counter-productive for everyone. Giving more money to those who already spend all they want on whatever they want only makes the wealthy wealthier and likely stimulates campaign contributions but not the economy. That is one thing the Republican Party under GWBush’s leadership has thoroughly and clearly demonstrated and is something that should be remembered.

    November 28, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. Sean in MA

    I totally agree with W! It's true that he didn't sell his soul. Problem is that he (and a good chunk – can't say all – of his administration) just sold everybody else's!

    Liberate 50M people... Delusion is a curious and wonderful thing for those who wear it, and a painful reality for the rest of us who have to deal with its aftermath.

    I agree with Bloomfield NJ – could he please be so kind to resign today?

    November 28, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  23. barfly

    This guy has caused more trouble for the world and he is clueless to the effects.

    November 28, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. Sari, Mpls MN

    Thank you Mr. President! I have always admired you.

    November 28, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Sally, San Antonio

    Bush has lousy values. That's his problem. They include helping the rich with favorable taxes...allowing business to run roughshod over the economy by eliminating barriers...instituting strict laws about personal behavior...telling the rest of the world how to behave and insulting them. In other words, he is saying "I haven't learned nothing!"

    November 28, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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