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. James B.

    For once I agree with George W. Bush, we all feel liberated since he left office.

    May 22, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. Shrikant Phadke

    It is certainly a "liberating feeling" -- the country has been liberated from him and his arrogant, incompetent and anti-intellectual style of governing

    May 22, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Scott

    "Liberating feeling?"

    Dubya, the feeling is mutual.

    May 22, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Louis

    We feel liberated as well...

    May 22, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. Marie in Texas

    Thats because the real president during the Bush years is Cheney ! no wonder bush feels liberated, and no longer has to obey Cheney !

    May 22, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. The Voice

    Chenney is just trying to down talk the new policies since he is afraid of being found guilty of torture and going to prison for life.

    What does he care what Obama thinks or says. Looks like someone is getting a little scared nowdays.

    May 22, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. Fitz in Texas

    I bet it is Mr. Bush, "liberating" to get away from "burdens of governance." Now if we can just get the liberals liberated from their hateful comments towards you and liberate Mr. Obama from blaming you for everything that's wrong in the world, maybe we can get some things done.

    I may not have agreed with everything you did Mr. Bush, but thank you so much for your eight years of service to this country.

    Welcome back to Texas!

    May 22, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. TJJ

    That's funny–I feel a strong sense of liberation with him not being in office too! (the sinking feeling I got in my stomach listening to Cheney talk yesterday not withstanding).

    May 22, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Jason

    It feels liberating to you because NO ONE LIKED YOU. Except Laura.

    May 22, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. John, Rochester MN

    He can't feel nearly as liberated as we do.

    May 22, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Todd

    Good for you, Mr. President. You took way more than anyone should have to have taken after leading our country through thw worst attack on our soil in history. Fortunately, once this fool that's in there now is through, you won't look so bad!!

    May 22, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. RickM

    In time even liberal historians will have to begrudge that he did a fine job. He's also got way more dignity than either Bill Clinton or Al Gore with their shrill denounciations of him literally from the time he took office. But now its simply not possible to have a balanced look at his time in office.

    May 22, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. Kevin

    We are all feeling Liberated Mr. Bush...too bad you are too self absorbed to acknowledge the damage you and your administration caused this great country. Thank you for staying quiet. Now if only Darth Vader would do the same.

    May 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Jake

    now you know how WE FEEL!

    May 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Independent voter in PA

    I'm sure it is a liberating feeling. I didn't agree with his policies as President and voted for the other guy twice, but I have to say now that he's out of office I like the guy a whole lot more. He's adapting to his new role and displaying some integrity – as opposed to his former VP, who is obviously attempting to cling to power and control in a manner that's downright classless.

    May 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. bob

    I totally agree. It is a liberating feeling to have YOU out of office.

    May 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. louis

    just walk away from the smoldering mess you made.


    May 22, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Wanderer

    Former president Bush is now a wise man. Everybody could be a wise man at some point of their life time. Being smart or intelligent has nothing to do with wisdom, however.

    May 22, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Thank you very much, now go home!

    May 22, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. former republican

    George you were never in office...DICK was!

    May 22, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Kim

    Gee, I'm sorry the Office of the President burdened you with so much, Dubya.

    May 22, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. M.R. in L.A.

    I hear ya buddy...I tried really hard to liberate you four years earlier. Think of how much less hard work you would have had to think about doing!

    May 22, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. Cystem Phailure

    I'll bet it's liberating. By his 6th year, DUHbya had gotten tired of being President and pretty much lost interest in everything. He didn't care a whit when he was in office, and he cares even less now. Good riddance!

    Now if we could just get blabbermouth Cheney to fade away . . .

    May 22, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. donttreadonme

    Other than the liberal spending policies you were a great President. You did what you thought was best for this country without care of approval ratings and politics. You removed a tyrant from power.
    I find it ironic that some want put you on trial for warterboarding when the evil dictator Sadam who slaughtered 100s of thousands of people was never put on trial at all.
    Rest easy freind many of us will defend you!

    May 22, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Joe

    Never thought I'd say this, but I miss Bush. Yes, he was horrible, terrible, worthless and dumb. But I'd take that over what we have now.

    May 22, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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