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. Joe

    I think it's easy to critize him because he has made a lot of mistakes. But I believe he made the mistakes with right intentions for a greater good. People should not judge without waiting to see how the results of his actions play out in several years.

    November 28, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. Dan W in Iowa

    Thank you, President Bush, for not giving into the popularity polls and the America haters among us. The loser Liberals can't rise above targeting their hate, but they'll have to find someone new now. There are many, many of us who will remember President Bush as the president who didn't cave.

    November 28, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. Kyle

    Thank you President Bush! After 9/11 you made me feel safer! You did what you had to do to keep our great country safe from attack. I hope Obama will make the same decisions even though it might hurt his apporval rating. Thanks Bush!

    November 28, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Jeffer65

    Only his sister will interview him because the rest of the media and most of us, don't care about what he has to say. Did he really do anything relieve AIDS/HIV in Africa? I don't remember that.

    November 28, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Jeff

    Had two HUGE disasters while in Office. I enjoyed my life under George W. May God bless President Bush and his family.

    November 28, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. bill williams


    November 28, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. DClaire

    May God be with him-

    May he in The Light of Day and The Dark of Night reflect and take a look inside his Heart and Mind-

    We as americans, as individuals will we change, within our Hearts and Mind-

    November 28, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. Courtney

    Bush reminds me of a child who is incapable of looking at the bad and good of all of his decisions. I am positive that he would like for those things he mentioned to be his legacy. What he has never understood is that the American people and scholars will determine what his legacy is. If he checked on his approval rating now and then he might get some idea what people actually think of his horrific reign.

    Unfortunately, like Cheney, he will ride of into the sunset with the money that they have made off of their terrible policies, not caring a bit how much the American people despise them. How bad is it when you have your little sister interview you about your Presidential legacy? What next, an exclusive interview from Barney, the dog?

    November 28, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. Milhouse van Houten

    Well,first off you,must have a soul to sell and I doubt this man has possessed one over the last eight years.Liberating 50 million people?
    Excuse me,I'll leave that one for those people to decide.His legacy is bereft of any meaningful accomplishments and will be littered with
    disappointment after disappointment.

    November 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Johnny V

    Of course George Bush didn't sell his soul.....

    First, you gotta have a soul.

    November 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. Brian MacDougall

    The man is delusional.

    November 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Aaron

    If anything, the fact that he's held the same values even while they've failed our country miserably is a BAD THING.


    This man is going to be remembered as the worst US President in history, and I hope to GOD him and his cronies are tried for war crimes once Obama takes office.

    November 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Archie h.

    What a perfect little spot for all the rabid Bush haters to vent their hysterical venom on Bush!

    November 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. mike in PA


    November 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. Kim

    He will be known as the President who *shoud* have been impeached. How's that for a legacy, Georgie?

    November 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Ralph Dupree

    Fear Not, The Chosen One, The Messiah, Barack Hussein Obama, will restore legitimacy to the office of the President.

    November 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. Mary

    Liberated 50 million people? Say what??????? Oh, you mean after obliterating their country for no sane reason. Mr. Bush, you are a sad, sad person.

    November 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Lisa P

    ...that focused on individuals rather than process...

    Yup, he sure got that right - he focused on rich powerful individuals who were his friends or agreed with him on ideological grounds and ignored or neglected the processes and institutions that serve and protect the rest of us (see: FEMA, OSHA, FDA, the Federal Reserve, Congress, the Constitution...). Great job, George! Now go away...

    November 28, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. REG in AZ

    In eight long years we have rarely heard honesty or even a conscience from George W Bush and there is no reason that we should expect to now. The sociopathic personality does not change!

    November 28, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Maya in East Chatham, NY

    Gone and forgotten by history. Bush leaves behind many bodies, many people with not jobs, factories closing, outsourcing, a ruined country Iraq.
    He leaves behind the worst legacy of any presidency.
    No wonder is mother had to have ulcer surgery.

    November 28, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    *sigh*.... he admits that he has not learned from his mistakes...

    November 28, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. Randy, San Francisco

    The poor man just doesn't get it. His sin was his stubborness in not questionning his dogmatic ideologies and values. His lack of intellectual inquisitiveness led to holding on to failed policies and incompetent people like Rumsfeld and Gonzalez.

    November 28, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. sharkcellar

    I hope this man either descends into madness or an alcoholic spiral once he leaves office. Or, to be more conciliatory, I hope he has an epiphany and realizes what a tremendous disservice he has done this country through his epic failure as a president.

    November 28, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Joyce

    I think you people should be ashamed to talk about a president that way. He may have done a lot of things wrong but he had a lot of help doing them.
    If he was so bad it seems you should have been smart enough to figure that out before he was elected for a second term.
    People forget the president can do only so much without the help of the Congress

    November 28, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. PDX Gal

    Will he ever be in a position in life where he is not completely surrounded by cronies telling him how great he is all the time? Will he ever see for a minute in his life the total devastation he has left behind?
    The only thing he has ever "valued" is his own ability to justify his horrific behaviors.
    What a miserable, disgraceful and appalling black mark Bush has smeared onto our American history.

    November 28, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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