May 22nd, 2009
01:23 PM ET
11 years ago

'Liberating feeling' to be out of office, says Bush

Former President George W. Bush told a high school audience Thursday that it's a 'liberating feeling' to no longer be president.

Former President George W. Bush told a high school audience Thursday that it's a 'liberating feeling' to no longer be president.

(CNN) - Yesterday - as his former vice president and his successor both gave major national security speeches in Washington, DC - former President Bush was nearly 1,900 miles away, telling a high school audience how "liberating" it felt to get some distance between himself and the burdens of governance.

"I no longer feel that great sense of responsibility that I had when I was in the Oval Office," he told listeners at New Mexico's Artesia High School, according to the Roswell Daily Record. "And frankly, it's a liberating feeling."

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, famously reluctant to grant mainstream interviews while still in office, has become an outspoken presence on the airwaves in recent months. In Washington Thursday, he offered a vigorous defense of the Bush administration's policies on national security and interrogation of terror suspects - and criticism of President Obama's approach - at a conservative think-tank in downtown Washington, just minutes after the new commander-in-chief addressed the same issues in an address at the National Archives.

But Bush has been conspicuously silent on the president– and told prospective graduates Friday he was glad to be back to a lower-key existence, at a comfortable remove from the national spotlight.

Walking his dog Barney recently, "I realized this was the first time I'd been walking in a neighborhood for 14 years," he said. "It's not all that hard, by the way. You take one step, and then you take another.

...And there I was, former President of the United States of America, with a plastic bag on my hand. Life is returning back to normal."

Bush sounded just a few familiar, non-partisan policy notes, saying a soldier who had lost both legs because the president ordered him into battle had made his sacrifice for a "noble and necessary reason."

No video cameras were allowed into the president's speech. He has not granted any interviews since leaving office.

Filed under: George W. Bush
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Republicans are the American Taliban

    I'm so glad to be away from all that governininceship... cue stupid smerk....

    May 22, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Eleanor, Port Orchard, WA

    Enjoy it as long as you can W. Your prison cell is awaiting you in Gitmo!

    May 22, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    It just keeps getting better. Please oh please Bush, keep talking. Maybe you and Cheney shoudl do a reunion tour and go around the country inciting fear and hatred to help out your drowning GOP. As it is, they're so desperate they pushed up their first "daisy" the other day.

    May 22, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Dave in Houston

    Bush was such a disaster as President, he says his new goal is to be a better Former President than Lincoln, Kennedy and FDR!

    May 22, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  5. Former Republican Supporting Obama from Tennessee

    Bush is shameful!

    May 22, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Josh

    You're right Mr. Bush it is liberating not to see you in office anymore. I think I like him better now that he isn't in charge.

    May 22, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I feel liberated now that your out of office Junior.

    May 22, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Blah blah blah

    We feel liberated too George, really we do. Stay out of the limelight and we'll all be happy.

    May 22, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Stephen (Baldwin Park, CA)

    I feel liberated as well, now, that he is out of office.
    He was good on defense, and I am grateful for his efforts to protect the US. However, in my opinion, he performed miserably in all other areas, from the economy to the wide open borders.

    May 22, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. NMAPhiDelt484

    Gee. Bush's first speech after leaving office is to a bunch of high school kids? Must be a real letdown. I wonder how much Bush had to pay them to get the gig?

    May 22, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. barking republican ankle biters

    Most of the American people feel the same way George.They are thankful you and Cheney are finally gone. It nice to be able to preach to the choir.I think that think tanks should be taxed,on both sides of the isle.Why should they be exempt?

    May 22, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. B.H.

    This guy should be Liberated to PRISON ASAP along with Cheney .

    May 22, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. rob

    Here comes the hate from the posters on this site.

    May 22, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. txleadhead

    The lights are on but nobody's home.

    May 22, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  15. AJB

    Believe me George – no one feels more liberated than the American people. We've been "liberated" from your incompetence – and it feels great!

    May 22, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Rich from Az

    The country feels liberated too now that your gone.

    May 22, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Michele

    Enjoy your liberty now, sir, it may not last much longer. If we don't prosecute for torture, the Hague is more than willing to.

    Evil in the name of good is still evil.

    May 22, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Franky

    Take it easy Mr Prez, I'm sure is very, very difficult and quite honestly, complex as well.

    Ohh and by the way, you think it was kind of tough with a Conservative in office, huh? Just look at my boy! LOL!!! Believe it or not, is like seeing the same thing but opposites, we've talked about here for many months. It is pretty unique, there's no doubt that my boy and former boy are different but they definitely have the same demeanor styles, it impresses us.

    Is pretty amazing what you find out in this world and how small it is...

    May 22, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. P. D.

    President Bush? Responsibility? Since when has Bush been held responsible for his decisions? The entire time he was in office I always heard the following mantra. "It wasn't Bush's fault for 911! It wasn't Bush's fault for the response to hurricane Katrina! It wasn't Bush's fault for the economic meltdown!" All his life, Bush had people constantly backing him up and paving his way. Now that he is out of office, I shall breathe a sigh of relief.

    May 22, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. tim

    We are all happy that POS is no longer in the White House, but wished he had left much earlier.

    May 22, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    The utter nonchalance of this man is overwhelming. He sunk this country down to a level I have never seen before in my lifetime and now having left office, he wipes his hands freee of all responsibility and feels "liberated" to be a civillian? Liberated in the same way we "liberated" Iraq no doubt . . . oh well, there is one higher than I who will eventually judge our previous president for his deeds.

    May 22, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Simmy

    Sure you feel liberated........But you left a binding MESS behind, including Cheney........You should have taken him and his family with you.......

    May 22, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. David Newport, OR

    Gives him more time to read comics. But really...I do not fault this man for his decisions...I fault America for putting him in office not once, but twice. GW simply did what he thought was right. I would do the is just my opinion of what is right is very different.

    May 22, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    We also feel liberated now that you are no longer in power.

    May 22, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. JT

    This is one presidency that should never had happened.

    May 22, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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