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The legacy of George W. Bush: How our view of a president changes after he retires

by AirTalk®

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Former President George W. Bush hugs his wife, Laura Bush, during the George W. Bush Presidential Center Topping Out Ceremony on October 3, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Former president George W. Bush is stepping back into the public eye after spending nearly all of his retirement avoiding media scrutiny. The Bush Presidential Library opens tomorrow in Dallas and both Democrats and Republicans are taking the opportunity to reflect on the legacy of the Bush presidency.

A Washington Post poll taken just days ago shows the former president's approval rating hitting 47 percent, way up from the 33 percent Bush had when leaving office. Has the Bush legacy rebounded only five years after he left office? How does that compare to past presidents?

Does the way a former president spends their retirement change how we view them?


Julian Zelizer, Professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University; he is the author of many books on American political history, including the editor of "The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment" (Princeton University Press, 2010)

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