Bush years: Impressions of the man in office

January 19, 2009

Bush has faced many battles in his tenure. Record low approval ratings, a failing economy, the September 11 attacks, a war with no near end in sight, and for the last year, most of the world was looking more to his successor, than to the sitting President himself.

But when I look back over my three years here in Washington, I come away with two impressions of the man in the office.

One impression is that of a man carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, an insurmountable burden. As from my first image of Bush, making the long, slow walk back to the Oval Office, head and hands hanging low.

In November 2007, Bush met with Lance Cpl. Isaac Gallegos during a visit to the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He met with many of the soldiers, visibly scarred and injured from the war under his presidency. Although he seemed very confident in his actions, you could not help but feel that it was a hard eight years as the 43rd President.

The other impression is the playfulness of the man. Fun-loving silliness. The next two images come from the same day on a presidential trip to Africa in February 2008. It was probably the most fun I have seen the President have, and it gave me some of my favorite memories covering Bush. Joining a group of singing and dancing Massai Warriors during a stop at school in Arusha, Tanzania. He really seemed to be enjoying himself, surrounded by people who really were making every effort to make him feel loved and appreciated. He could have been anyone that day, just a guy wrapped up in the beautiful music, having a great time, and living in the moment.

The last photo came on a tour of a plant that manufactured mosquito netting. The girls were working underneath the mesh netting looking for holes and Bush surprised them by popping up underneath the netting to join them. The girls looked up to him in admiration and they appeared to sway in slow motion, like moving through water, calm, and for a brief moment he seemed happy and playful, like the kids themselves.

As his term comes to a close, one wonders what the future holds for him, and the affect he had on the world over the last eight years. After spending months with President-elect Barack Obama on the campaign trail last year, I think we are all anxiously awaiting for him to be sworn in, and to turn a new page. I expect the next four years will certainly be interesting.
In the end, I come away with a greater understanding of Bush and respect for the office he holds, and not sure why anyone would want that job. But someone always steps in, and will continue to face the troubles of the world and maybe find a time to laugh and be happy, just like the rest of us.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I’ll never forget the impression he had on my life. I cannot say that I respect him at all.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

The first and second photos say it all. Who in the Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld families resemble the man in the second photo? Think that military man will live much longer? I bet the three musketeers listed above hope he does not.

What has Bush and Company done for our country? Disgraced it, shamed the presidency, ignored and violated laws, inserted fear and hostility into the White House when the president should have been above that!

Bush disgraced America; the photo of the military man says it all! Who would want to change places with that soldier? Bush? Cheney? Rumsfeld? I am so relieved that those three are gone, along with C. Rice! Another disgrace ignoring Darfur!!!!!!!!!

Posted by r | Report as abusive

Are you kidding me? Bush and all of his cronies should have left Washington with head held down in shame over how he left this country.

Posted by Lisa | Report as abusive

We should all thank President Bush for keeping America safe these past 7 years. I hope Obama will be as successful

Posted by tim | Report as abusive

great posting: thanks for sharing that.