George Bush contemplated his legacy in a hard-hitting interview conducted by his sister. It's fun to see how different news outlets address or avoid what may soon enough be known as the Bush Problem.
The NY Times does not want to spoil the holiday mood for its readers:
The interviewer asked no bothersome questions about the financial crisis, wars overseas or Republican setbacks in the elections. Chances are that the interviewer, Doro Bush Koch, already knew how her brother the president felt about those and other weighty issues of the day.
“I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process,” Mr. Bush said. “I came to Washington with a set of values, and I’m leaving with the same set of values.”
Mrs. Bush said she would “always have a special place in my heart” for the women and girls of Afghanistan, able in the post-Taliban era to go to school or walk outside without male chaperones.
The AP is comparably coy with their coverage, ducking the legacy question entirely:
WASHINGTON -- President George W. Bush is relishing the chance to see "the klieg lights shift somewhere else," although he admits he'll miss perks like White House cooking and flying on Air Force One.
"Frankly, I'm not going to miss the limelight all that much," Bush said in an intimate family conversation with his sister, Doro Bush Koch, about how he'll feel when he leaves the White House to make way for Barack Obama on Jan. 20.
The AFP gets after it:
Bush wants history to see him as a liberator of millions
WASHINGTON (AFP) — George W. Bush hopes history will see him as a president who liberated millions of Iraqis and Afghans, who worked towards peace and who never sold his soul for political ends.
"I'd like to be a president (known) as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace," Bush said in excerpts of a recent interview released by the White House Friday.
"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.
Well. I will have a hard time overlooking the dismal planning of the initial post-liberation phase in Iraq, but if, ten or twenty years from now, a stable and more-or-less democratic Iraq has become a beacon of hope and change in the Middle East it will be harder to sustain Bush's ranking as worst President ever. Hmm - we lost New Orleans and all our investment banks but not Iraq! Some scorecard. That will be the Bush Problem. If he's lucky.