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.