At his final Cabinet meeting Jan. 13, the president added to that sentiment, saying, "I tell people I leave town with a great sense of accomplishment and my head held high. ... This administration has had a good, solid record. ... I'm proud of the job that we've done."
In an interview with Charles Gibson last month, Bush stressed that he was unprepared for war and that he never compromised his principles.
"I think when the history of this period is written, people will realize a lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over a decade or so, before I arrived..." he said.
Moving out of the White House after eight years was not as difficult for the Bushes as one might expect.
"Mrs. Bush did express that she knew when she moved here that she would have lovely historic pieces to choose from, so she did not bring a lot of furniture," communications director Sally McDonough said. "She did bring a piece that was important to her, and it is a chest of drawers that belonged to President Bush's grandmother."
The Obama family's belongings will be delivered to the White House at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, right before former President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in as president. The White House will be cleaned by a crew of more than 95, who -- among other tasks -- will clear out any remaining boxes, throw out food in the refrigerator, clear out the Bushes' furniture and paint the residence. However, the sunburst carpet designed by president and Laura Bush might stay as Obama has said he "loves" that rug.
The Bushes are leaving the White House but they might not be exiting the limelight for some time, and the president certainly doesn't plan on simply lounging and relaxing.
"I'm a Type-A personality. ... I just can't envision myself, you know, the big straw hat and a Hawaiian shirt sitting on some beach, particularly since I quit drinking," Bush told a news conference last week.
Bush has said he plans to write a book, although he has not been specific about the focus. Plans are also under way for the George W. Bush presidential library and center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, for which Bush has tapped his former adviser, Michael E. Meece, as chief of staff.
"He's eager to continue to promote the unwavering ideals and principles for which he has stood while serving as president of the United States," Perino said last week.
Bush documents were removed from the National Archives last week and taken to Dallas for the Bush Library.
In Texas, the Bushes have tapped former White House aide Rob Saliterman as their press secretary. Saliterman is a public affairs specialist for international affairs at the Treasury Department.
Whatever his legacy, Bush certainly left the White House on a upbeat note.
"...The president ends up carrying a lot people's grief in his soul during a presidency," he told ABC News' Charles Gibson in December. "One of the things about the presidency is you deal with a lot of tragedy, whether it be hurricanes, or tornados, or fires, or death, and you spend time being the comforter-in-chief. But the idea of being able to serve a nation you love is -- has been joyful."