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

    Oh George,,,,some people have the necessary intelligence to be President. You're one of those who didn't. You should have resigned after your first term.

    November 28, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. David, Ventura, calif

    I trully believe Bush may simply be ignorant – he helped no one to be in a better place today then when he took office – there has been no advancement on the cure of AIDs – no help to any desperate country unless they had oil – the economy is in ruins – equally for all under his administration was a fantasy – the environment has decaded rapidly – was else can one administration ruin – no much more then the infamous Bush/Cheney – that's what your legacy really is – and it's nothing good

    November 28, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Sumaya Conners, East Chatham, NY

    Gone and forgotten by history. Bush leaves behind death and destruction, many killed, many bodies, many people with no jobs, factories closing, outsourcing, a ruined country Iraq, a ruined economy.
    He leaves behind the worst legacy of any presidency.
    No wonder is mother had to have ulcer surgery.

    November 28, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. David

    Remembered as the president who presided over the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, who never caught those responsible. Remembered for having cake while thousands drowned in New Orleans. Remembered for lying to get us into an illegal war in a country that never attacked us. Remembered for never being able to pronounce the word nuclear. Remembered for leading the country into the worst economic crisis since the last Rebublican Great Depression. Remembered as the worst president in United States history.

    November 28, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    As much as you all like to bash Bush and call him everything under the sun, you sure do make yourselves look just as bad if not worse for your childlike behavior and name calling. Most likely you all will be the same people who will jump on the boards and start defending Obama against those who do the same as you are doing to Bush. Which in the end, under a literal meaning of the term, is Hypocrisy.

    November 28, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. Dave

    He's leaving with the same set of values..before, he lived off the largess of his daddy and his daddy's friends and he was a failure; for the last 8 years, he's looted the friggin country (along with Darth Vader who came with no values and leaves with no values) and he was a failure. He's continue to be a failure supported by the American public until his dying day.

    November 28, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. Buck

    Yeah, but you sold the soul of America.

    November 28, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. J.C.

    I am no Republican, but comparing G.W. Bush with B. Clinton, I still trust Bush much more. However, we have had enough of Bush and Clinton. I wish them a good retirement.
    Let's give other American talents their fair turn in a democracy that is highly looked upon by the rest of the world.

    November 28, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. Gazela

    "I'd like to be a President (known) as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace". PEACE?? Are you kidding me?!?

    If the world never hears from G.W. Bush never gain, it will be too soon. Sadly, the effects of his failed policies will be felt for years. I hope he burns in hell.

    November 28, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. Charles Douglas Lemay

    It's so funny to read all the bitter haters here.

    What pathetic, sad, empty lives they must lead...

    November 28, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. Mick

    "did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process."

    You mean the Constitution?

    November 28, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. Juge

    Mr Bush your values are skewed! Your values were therefore, not in the best interest of the country as you should be able to recognize if you look around you at the state of the USA and the World.

    November 28, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. Tarin

    How do you feel Mr. President with all the lives you destroyed because of the war you started out of vengence?

    November 28, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. M E Janssen

    Of course, Bush's values remained the same. Like when he said it would be easier if this was a dictatorship and he was dictator. He was pretty consistent about stomping all over the Constitution. I'll give him a point for consistency. Oh, and, yes, he will be known for the Iraq war, but maybe not as positively as he thinks.

    November 28, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. What?

    What exactly are your values?

    Obfuscation? Lying? Torture? Preemptive and unnecessary wars?

    This guy is a complete joke.

    Go away as soon as possible.

    November 28, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. alexx

    Another month and a half. I'm sad – the liberals won't have anything to be hateful, ugly or to QQ about then.

    No more tasty tears. I'm a sad, sad panda.

    November 28, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. Mark

    Either he lacks a conscience or is in deep denial. GIven his alcoholism, it's probably the denial. What a sad little delusional man. I hope some day he realizes the enormous damage he has left in his wake.

    And I hope that those who voted for him realize the mistake they made.

    Worst President ever.

    November 28, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. andyoo

    The same people that blame president are those idots that shoots presidents.
    The only thing Bush starts is the iraq war which was trying to bring down the idot sadam that kills thousands of his own people by poison gas. And stoping that is inhuman?
    What war doesn't have people got killed?
    we lose a million american life to stop Hitler and Japanese Emperor
    when they killed millions of Europeans and Asians. We we have known eariler that Hitler will invade Europe...would we had stoped them right when they started invading Poland?
    Would we have stoped the Japanese when they first started invading China?....then you would have save millions?
    How do you not know that Saldam if unstopped will not have killed millions of Middle East people...since he killed so many of his own countryman?
    And about the Econmy...people had been making that stupid trades for years since or before Clinton year and the housing market had been bubbling for a long's good when you get cheap credit for people that don't even qualify to pay for them and now it blows up and you blame it on president? It had been years of making and you shared the blame for taking out loans that you cannot pay for.
    Take some responsibility Americans and grow up!!
    You are sick!

    November 28, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. G.R.I.T.S - Girl Raised in the South

    G.W. Bush says he didn't sell his soul? Oh, he sold it alright, to the lowest bidder. He liberated people who did not ask us to come to their country and kill civilians. He failed to address the problem of al Queda properly, but invaded a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11. He "focused on individuals rather than process" because the individuals were friends, corporate comrades and other wealthy Americans, not the majority of us. He didn't focus on the process because he couldn't understand it. Granted, Bush made progress as far as HIV/AIDS in Africa, but he is the President of the United States, not Africa, and did nothing here but hurt the average citizen. His legacy will be one of failure and lies, deception and warmongering, profiteering and destruction. No matter how he spins it to his sister, he failed each and every average American.

    November 28, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. mark

    I'm afraid actions speak louder than words President Bush. You cannot have it both abused power and got America into a terrible mess with lies, unnecessary wars, cover ups, and incompetence. History may be kinder than those of us who lived through it, but it won't be all that have to face the consequences of your decisions.

    November 28, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. SMK

    Wow, show some respec. He is the President after all. You may not like the man, but respec the position that he was elected to. I wonder, in 4 years if/when Obama leaves office you will show him the same respec you have shown Bush in these last few months.

    The Economy falling apart had NOTHING to do with Bush, but you blamed it on him anyway. It started over seas first then spread global.

    The housing market crash you can thank Pres. Clinton for. He wanted everyone in a house, which is a real great idea and I applaud him for it, but giving loans to people who could never afford it was just a bad way of doing business.

    The War in Iraq, sure blame Bush. But also blame the House and Congress for voting to go to war based on the info we had at the time. I guess you forgot that they had a part in it too. You also need to blame VP-Elect Biden and Sen. Hilary, because they too supported it. Blame everyone who voted for it, not just Bush.

    Who cares if we liberated a Country and gave freedom to millions of people being tormented and killed under Saddam's rule. They don't matter, just the self-centered people of the USA.

    Everyone else seems to forget that 9/11 happened during Bush's term, which changed the face of this country. He has kept us safe ever since and I thank him for that and every single one of you should too.

    November 28, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. John NY

    He actually did liberate 2 nations and help millions more people in africa he deserves some credit before his presidency the people of Iraq and Afghanistan didnt know what freedom was so he did some goood

    November 28, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. loribee

    53 days and counting! Good-bye, George!

    November 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. William, Alpharetta, GA

    This joke will be remembered as the president that ruined the world!

    November 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. sam NJ

    you were worst president ever.............

    November 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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