By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2008 ( – In a White House interview conducted by the president’s sister, Doro Bush Koch, President Bush reflected upon the impact of his faith and his family on his presidency, and gave a rare glimpse into his hopes for his own legacy.

“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,” Bush told his sister.  “I came to Washington with a set of values, and I’m leaving with the same set of values. And I darn sure wasn’t going to sacrifice those values; that I was a President that had to make tough choices and was willing to make them.”

In addition to being remembered for liberating Iraqis from dictatorship rule and advancing health care both at home and abroad, Bush said he wanted to be known as the president that “focused on individuals rather than process; that rallied people to serve their neighbor,” and 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.”

The president also pointed to his father, former president George H. W. Bush, as an exemplar of moral integrity and commitment to family amid the turbulence of his political career. 

“I think that the gift our dad gave to all of us is unconditional love,” said Bush.  “It is the greatest gift a father can give a child.”  Bush said that, in addition to always making time for his family, the elder Bush taught his children “that you can go into politics with a set of values and you don’t have to sell your soul once you’re in the political system. And you can come out with the same set of values.”

On the impact of his faith during his days as president, Bush, who is an evangelical Christian, emphasized the indispensible role of his Christian beliefs.  “I’ve been in the Bible every day since I’ve been the President, and I have been affected by people’s prayers a lot,” he said.  “I have found that faith is comforting, faith is strengthening, faith has been important.”

Bush sent out a final word of warning to politicians not to judge citizens of differing faiths.

“They should recognize – as (at) least I have recognized I am a lowly sinner seeking redemption, and therefore have been very careful about saying ‘(accept) my faith or you’re bad.’”  Bush added that the freedom of religion is of paramount importance – a freedom that any president must “jealously protect, guard, and strengthen.” 

Excerpts of Bush’s interview were released by the White House on Friday.  The full interview, given for the national oral history initiative StoryCorps, will be archived in the Library of Congress.