Bush Transitions From President to Retired

One staff member who didn't join in the inaugural festivities? Robert Gates. The defense secretary skipped the inauguration because he was designated the "successor during inauguration day" -- the person who will be in charge should a catastrophe kill the president, vice president, speaker of the house, senate president pro tempore and cabinet members who can succeed the president and will be attending the inaugural ceremony.

After the inauguration, Bush spoke to more than 4,000 friends and supporters at Andrews Air Force base in a private event, before flying back to Texas. On the airplane, they were accompanied by friends and some longtime staffers, including former adviser Karl Rove, White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and Joel Kaplan, deputy chief of staff for policy.

Closing Time

Bush, who has occupied the country's most-prized residence for eight years, spent Monday, his last full day in office, calling world leaders and saying goodbye to his staff. He also granted more pardons, setting free through his executive power two former Texas border patrol agents who were convicted of shooting a drug smuggler.

The final supper at the White House was a family event -- Bush dined with wife Laura, twin daughters Jenna and Barbara, and parents George H.W. and Barbara Bush.

Bush and his wife, Laura, retreated for the weekend to the seclusion of Camp David, a place that the Bushes have used to spend some quiet time and get away from Washington. He also used the weekend to say goodbye to his staff -- with a lunch for the White House crew on Friday and a dinner Sunday organized by former Chief of Staff Andy Card.

Among the international leaders Bush called were President Shimon Peres of Israel, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and President Lee Myung-Bak of South Korea.

"President Bush expressed his gratitude for the kind hospitality all these leaders showed him and Mrs. Bush over the years, and told them how much he enjoyed working with them during his two terms," said spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

Bush's Legacy

Bush's two terms in the White House have been marked by two wars and a recession. An ABC News/Washington Post poll last month showed that 68 percent of Americans disapproved of Bush's job performance overall. But the former Texas governor has tried to frame his presidency as one filled with challenges and accomplishments.

"There have been good days and tough days," Bush said in his 33rd and final prime-time address as president to the nation. "But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country and uplifted by the goodness of our people."

Bush spent much of his past few weeks in office defending his record and his administration's policies.

At his final news conference with White House correspondents Jan. 12, Bush admitted he made some mistakes but said he did what he believed was necessary to strengthen the economy and protect the United States.

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