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George Walker Bush was the 43rd President of the United States Wikipedia, serving from 2001 to 2009, and the 46th Governor of Texas, serving from 1995 to 2000.

Bush is the eldest son of President George H. W. Bush Wikipedia, who served as the 41st President, and Barbara Bush Wikipedia, making him one of only two American presidents to be the son of a preceding president.[1] After graduating from Yale University Wikipedia in 1968 and Harvard Business School Wikipedia in 1975, Bush worked in oil businesses. He married Laura Welch Wikipedia in 1977 and unsuccessfully ran for the House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He later co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team before defeating Ann Richards in the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election Wikipedia. In a close and controversial election Wikipedia, Bush was elected President in 2000 as the Republican candidate, defeating then-Vice President Al Gore in the Electoral College Wikipedia.[2]

Eight months into Bush's first term as president, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred. In response, Bush announced a global War on Terrorism, ordered an invasion of Afghanistan that same year and an invasion of Iraq in 2003. In addition to national security issues, Bush promoted policies on the economy, health care, education, and social security reform. He signed into law broad tax cuts Wikipedia,[3] the No Child Left Behind Act Wikipedia, and Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors. [4]

Bush successfully ran for re-election against Democratic Senator John Kerry in 2004 Wikipedia, in another relatively close election. After his re-election, Bush received increasingly heated criticism from conservatives[5] [6] [7] and liberals. [8] In December 2007, the United States entered its longest post-World War II recession.[9][10] This prompted the Bush Administration to take more direct control of the economy, enacting multiple economic programs intended to preserve the country's financial system. Though Bush was popular within the U.S. for much of his first term,[11] his popularity declined sharply during his second term.[12][13][14][15]

After leaving office, Bush returned to Texas and purchased a home in a suburban area of Dallas, Texas. He is currently a public speaker and is writing a book about his presidency.[16]

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Childhood to mid-life Edit

Main article: Early life of George W. Bush

Texas Air National Guard Edit


In May 1968, Bush was commissioned into the Texas Air National Guard Wikipedia.[17] After two years of active-duty service while training,[18] he was assigned to Houston, flying Convair F-102s Wikipedia with the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group Wikipedia out of Ellington Air Force Base Wikipedia.[17][19] Critics, including former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Russ Baker, have alleged that Bush was favorably treated due to his father's political standing, citing his selection as a pilot despite his low pilot aptitude test scores and his irregular attendance.[20] In June 2005, the United States Department of Defense Wikipedia released all the records of Bush's Texas Air National Guard service, which remain in its official archives.[21]

In late 1972 and early 1973, he drilled with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group Wikipedia of the Alabama Air National Guard Wikipedia, having moved to Montgomery, Alabama Wikipedia to work on the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Winton M. Blount Wikipedia.[22][23] In October 1973, Bush was discharged from the Texas Air National Guard and transferred to inactive duty in the Air Force Reserve Wikipedia. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserve on November 21, 1974, at the end of his six-year service obligation.[24]

Marriage and family Edit

File:Bush daughters.gif

In 1977, he was introduced by friends at a backyard barbecue to Laura Welch, a school teacher and librarian. Bush proposed to her after a three-month courtship and they were married on November 5 of that year.[25] The couple settled in Midland, Texas. Bush left his family's Episcopal Church to join his wife's United Methodist Church.[26] In 1981, Laura Bush gave birth to fraternal twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara;[25] they graduated from high school in 2000 and from the University of Texas at Austin and Yale University, respectively, in 2004.

Prior to his marriage, Bush had multiple episodes of alcohol abuse.[27] In one instance, on September 4, 1976, he was arrested near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine for driving under the influence of alcohol. He pleaded guilty, was fined $150 and had his Maine driver's licens] suspended until 1978.[28] Bush's alleged usage of drugs is less clear; when asked questions about past alleged illicit drug use, Bush has consistently refused to answer. He defended his refusal to answer in a publicized casual conversation with a friend saying that he feared setting a bad example for the younger generation.[29][30][31]

Bush says his wife has had a stabilizing effect on his life,[25] and attributes influence to her in his 1986 decision to give up alcohol.[32] While Governor of Texas, Bush said of his wife, "I saw an elegant, beautiful woman who turned out not only to be elegant and beautiful, but very smart and willing to put up with my rough edges, and I must confess has smoothed them off over time."[25]

Early career Edit

Main article: Professional life of George W. Bush

In 1978, Bush ran for the House of Representatives from Texas's 19th congressional district. His opponent, Kent Hance, portrayed him as being out of touch with rural Texans; Bush lost the election by 6,000 votes (6%) of the 103,000 votes cast.[33] He returned to the oil industry and began a series of small, independent oil exploration companies.[34] He created Arbusto Energy,[35] and later changed the name to Bush Exploration. In 1984, his company merged with the larger Spectrum 7, and Bush became chairman.[34] The company was hurt by a decline in oil prices, and as a result, it folded into Harken Energy.[34][36] Bush served on the board of directors for Harken.[34] Questions of possible insider trading involving Harken arose, but the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) investigation concluded that the information Bush had at the time of his stock sale was not sufficient to constitute insider trading.[34][37]

Bush moved his family to Washington, D.C. in 1988 to work on his father's campaign for the U.S. presidency.[38][39] He worked as a campaign adviser and served as liaison to the media;[34] he assisted his father by campaigning across the country.[34] Returning to Texas after the successful campaign, he purchased a share in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in April 1989, where he served as managing general partner for five years.[40] He actively led the team's projects and regularly attended its games, often choosing to sit in the open stands with fans.[41] The sale of Bush's shares in the Rangers in 1998 brought him over $15 million from his initial $800,000 investment.[42]

In December 1991, Bush was one of seven people named by his father to run his father's 1992 Presidential re-election campaign as "campaign advisor".[43] The prior month, Bush had been asked by his father to tell White House chief of staff John H. Sununu that he should resign.[44]

Governor of Texas Edit

Main article: George W. Bush as Governor of Texas
File:George H. W. Bush, Laura Bush, George W. Bush 1997.jpg

As Bush's brother, Jeb, sought the governorship of Florida, Bush declared his candidacy for the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. His campaign focused on four themes: welfare reform, tort reform Wikipedia, crime reduction, and education improvement.[34] Bush's campaign advisers were Karen Hughes, Joe Allbaugh, and Karl Rove.[45]

After easily winning the Republican primary, Bush faced popular Democratic incumbent Governor Ann Richards.[34][46] In the course of the campaign, Bush pledged to sign a bill allowing Texans to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons. Richards had vetoed the bill, but Bush signed it after he became governor.[47] According to The Atlantic Monthly, the race "featured a rumor that she was a lesbian, along with a rare instance of such a tactic's making it into the public record — when a regional chairman of the Bush campaign allowed himself, perhaps inadvertently, to be quoted criticizing Richards for appointing avowed homosexual activists' to state jobs".[48] The Atlantic, and others, connected the lesbian rumor to Karl Rove,[49] but Rove denied being involved.[50] Bush won the general election with 53.5% against Richards' 45.9%.[51]

Bush used a budget surplus to push through Texas's largest tax-cut ($2 billion).[45] He extended government funding for organizations providing education of the dangers of alcohol and drug use and abuse, and helping to reduce domestic violence.[52] Critics contended that during his tenure, Texas ranked near the bottom in environmental evaluations, but supporters pointed to his efforts to raise the salaries of teachers and improved educational test scores.[34]

In 1998, Bush won re-election with a record[34] 69% of the vote.[53] He became the first governor in Texas history to be elected to two consecutive four-year terms.[34] For most of Texas history, governors served two-year terms; a constitutional amendment extended those terms to four years starting in 1975.[54] In his second term, Bush promoted faith-based organizations and enjoyed high approval ratings.[34] He proclaimed June 10, 2000 to be Jesus Day in Texas, a day on which he "urge[d] all Texans to answer the call to serve those in need".[55]

Throughout Bush's first term, national attention focused on him as a potential future presidential candidate. Following his re-election, speculation soared.[34] Within a year, he decided to seek the Republican nomination for the presidency.

Presidential campaigns Edit

2000 Presidential candidacy Edit

Main article: United States presidential election, 2000
File:George W. Bush in Concord, New Hampshire signing papers for presidential run.jpg
File:George W. Bush in Concord, New Hampshire.jpg

Primary Edit

In June 1999, while Governor of Texas, Bush announced his candidacy for President of the United States. With no incumbent running, Bush entered a large field of candidates for the Republican Party presidential nomination consisting of John McCain, Alan Keyes, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Orrin Hatch, Elizabeth Dole, Dan Quayle, Pat Buchanan, Lamar Alexander, John Kasich, and Robert C. Smith.

Bush portrayed himself as a compassionate conservative. He campaigned on a platform that included increasing the size of the United States Armed Forces, cutting taxes, improving education, and aiding minorities.[34] By early 2000, the race had centered on Bush and McCain.[34]

Bush won the Iowa caucuses, but, although he was heavily favored to win the New Hampshire primary, he trailed McCain by 19% and lost that primary. However, the Bush campaign regained momentum and, according to political observers, effectively became the front runner after the South Carolina primary, which according to The Boston Globe made history for its negativity; The New York Times described it as a smear campaign.[56][57][58]

General election Edit

On July 25, 2000, Bush surprised some observers by asking Dick Cheney, a former White House Chief of Staff Wikipedia], U.S. Representative, and Secretary of Defense, to be his running mate. Cheney was then serving as head of Bush's Vice-Presidential search committee. Soon after, Cheney was officially nominated by the Republican Party at the 2000 Republican National Convention Wikipedia.

Bush continued to campaign across the country and touted his record as Governor of Texas.[34] Bush's campaign criticized his Democratic opponent, incumbent Vice President Al Gore, over gun control and taxation.[59]

When the election returns came in on November 7, Bush won 29 states, including Florida. The closeness of the Florida outcome led to a recount.[34] The initial recount also went to Bush, but the outcome was tied up in courts for a month until reaching the U.S. Supreme Court.[60] On December 9, in the Bush v. Gore case, the Court reversed a Florida Supreme Court ruling ordering a third count, and stopped an ordered statewide hand recount based on the argument that the use of different standards among Florida's counties violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.[34] The machine recount showed that Bush had won the Florida vote by a margin of 537 votes out of six million cast.[61] Although he received 543,895 fewer individual votes than Gore nationwide, Bush won the election, receiving 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266.[61]

2004 Presidential candidacy Edit

Main article: United States presidential election, 2004
File:Bush 43 10-19-04 Stpete.jpg

In 2004, Bush commanded broad support in the Republican Party and did not encounter a primary challenge. He appointed Kenneth Mehlman Wikipedia as campaign manager, with a political strategy devised by Karl Rove.[62] Bush and the Republican platform included a strong commitment to the war in Iraq Wikipedia and Afghanistan Wikipedia,[63] support for the USA PATRIOT Act Wikipedia,[64] a renewed shift in policy for constitutional amendments banning abortion and same-sex marriage,[63][65] reforming Social Security to create private investment accounts,[63] creation of an ownership society,[63] and opposing mandatory carbon emissions controls.[66] Bush also called for the implementation of a guest worker program for immigrants,[63] which was criticized by conservatives.[67]

The Bush campaign advertised across the U.S. against Democratic candidates, including Bush's emerging opponent, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Kerry and other Democrats attacked Bush on the Iraq War, and accused him of failing to stimulate the economy and job growth. The Bush campaign portrayed Kerry as a staunch liberal who would raise taxes and increase the size of government. The Bush campaign continuously criticized Kerry's seemingly contradictory statements on the war in Iraq,[34] and argued that Kerry lacked the decisiveness and vision necessary for success in the war on terrorism Wikipedia.

In the election, Bush carried 31 of 50 states, receiving a total of 286 electoral votes. He won an outright majority of the popular vote (50.7% to his opponent's 48.3%).[68] The previous President to win an outright majority of the popular vote was Bush's father in the 1988 election. Additionally, it was the first time since Herbert Hoover's election in 1928 that a Republican president was elected alongside re-elected Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress. Bush's 2.5% margin of victory was the narrowest ever for a victorious incumbent President, breaking Woodrow Wilson's 3.1% margin of victory against Charles Evans Hughes in the election of 1916.[69][70]

Presidency Edit

Main article: George W. Bush presidency

Post-presidency Edit

File:George & Laura Bush board Air Force One 1-20-09 hires 091220-F-0194C-001a.jpg

Following the inauguration of Barack Obama, Bush and his family boarded a presidential helicopter typically used as Marine One to travel to Andrews Air Force Base.[71] Bush, with his wife, then boarded an Air Force Boeing VC-25 for a flight to a homecoming celebration in Midland, Texas. Because he was no longer President, this flight was designated Special Air Mission 28000, instead of Air Force One. After a welcome rally in Midland, the Bushes returned to their ranch in Crawford, Texas, by helicopter.[71]

Since leaving office, Bush has kept a relatively low profile.[72] However, he has made appearances at various events throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area, most notably when he conducted the opening coin toss at the Dallas Cowboys Wikipedia first game in the team's new {wplink|Cowboys Stadium}} in Arlington.[73] An April 6, 2009, visit to a Texas Rangers game, where he gave a speech thanking the people of Dallas for helping them settle in (and specifically, the people of Arlington, where the game was held), was met with a standing ovation.[74]

His first speaking engagement occurred on March 17, 2009, in Calgary, Alberta. He spoke at a private event entitled "A conversation with George W. Bush" at the Telus Convention Centre and stated that he would not criticize President Barack Obama Wikipedia and hoped he succeeds, specifically stating, "[President Obama] deserves my silence."[75][76] During his speech, Bush announced that he had begun writing a book, which is expected to be published under the title Decision Points in 2010.[16] The book will focus on "12 difficult personal and political decisions" Bush faced during his presidency.[16] On May 29, 2009, Bush and former President Bill Clinton appeared at a policy discussion at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, moderated by Frank McKenna, the former Canadian Ambassador to the United States.[77]

Bush made a video-taped appearance on the June 11, 2009, episode of The Colbert Report during the show's trip to Baghdad, Iraq. Bush praised the troops for earning a "special place in American history" and for their courage and endurance. He joked that it would come in handy, saying, "I've sat through Stephen's stuff before," in reference to Colbert's performance at the 2006 White House Correspondents' Association dinner as well as The Colbert ReportTemplate:'s history of satirising Bush's administration.[78]

Bush made his debut as a motivational speaker on October 26 at the "Get Motivated" seminar in Dallas.[79]

In the aftermath of the shooting that took place on November 5, 2009, at the Fort Hood U.S. Army post in Texas, Fox News revealed that Bush and his wife had paid an undisclosed visit to the survivors and victims' families the day following the shooting, having contacted the base commander requesting that the visit be private and not involve press coverage.[80] The Bushes own a property less than 30 minutes from Fort Hood and spent one to two hours at the base.

In January 2010, at President Barack Obama Wikipedia's request, Bush and former President Bill Clinton established the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Wikipedia to raise contributions for relief and recovery efforts following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[81]

When asked in February 2010 about his low profile since leaving office, Bush replied "I have no desire to see myself on television... I don't want to be a panel of formers instructing the currents on what to do. ... I'm trying to regain a sense of anonymity. I didn't like it when a certain former president — and it wasn't 41 (George H. W. Bush) or 42 (Bill Clinton) — made my life miserable." Bush was referring to 39th President Jimmy Carter, who was an outspoken critic of Bush throughout his presidency.[82]

Also on June 2, 2010, during a speaking engagement at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bush referred to the waterboarding Wikipedia of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by saying, "I'd do it again to save lives."[83]


Main article: George W. Bush:Timeline

See also Edit

References Edit

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  5. Associated Press (May 5, 2006). "Republican right abandoning Bush". MSNBC. Retrieved June 23, 2009. 
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  7. Kelley Beaucar Vlahos (February 13, 2006). "Illegal Immigration, Unchecked Spending Siphon Conservatives From GOP Base". Retrieved May 11, 2008. 
  8. Kevin Baker "Second-Term Blues: Why Have Our Presidents Almost Always Stumbled after Their First Four Years?," American Heritage, Aug./Sept. 2006.
  9. "SF Fed Economics see longest recession since WW2". Reuters. April 24, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2009. 
  10. Emily Kaiser (2009-01-10). "Economists see longest recession since World War Two, Reuters, January 10, 2009". Retrieved 2010-04-20. 
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  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Motoko Rich (March 19, 2009). "Bush Book on Decisions Is Set for 2010". The New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2009. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Romano, Lois (February 3, 2004). "Bush's Guard Service In Question". The Washington Post: pp. A08. Archived from the original on May 24, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2008. 
  18. Lardner, George Jr. and Lois Romano. "At Height of Vietnam, Bush Picks Guard" Washington Post, July 28, 1999.
  19. York, Byron (August 26, 2004). "The Facts about Bush and the National Guard". National Review Online. Retrieved September 1, 2008. 
  20. Lois Romano (February 3, 2004). "Bush's Guard Service In Question". Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2008. 
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  22. "Winton Blount, 81, a Founder Of the New Postal Service", The New York Times, October 26, 2002. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
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  30. "Bush feared past ‘mistakes’ would cost him". Microsoft. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
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  34. 34.00 34.01 34.02 34.03 34.04 34.05 34.06 34.07 34.08 34.09 34.10 34.11 34.12 34.13 34.14 34.15 34.16 34.17 34.18 34.19 "George Bush". George Bush. MSN Encarta. Retrieved August 3, 2008. 
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  57. Hook, Janet; Michael Finnegan (March 17, 2007). "McCain loses some of his rebel edge". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 23, 2009. 
  58. Steinhauer, Jennifer (October 19, 2007). "Confronting Ghosts of 2000 in South Carolina" (Registration required). The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2009. 
  59. Sack, Kevin and Toner, Robin (August 13, 2000). "The 2000 Campaign: The Record; In Congress, Gore Selected Issues Ready for Prime Time". The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2009. 
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  64. "2004 Republican Party Platform: on Civil Rights". Retrieved August 20, 2008. 
  65. After initial comments made in March, there was no statement on the latter issue until June. Rosenberg, Debra (June 28, 2004). "A Gay-Marriage Wedge". Newsweek 143 (26): p. 8. 
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Further reading Edit

  • Abramson, Paul R., John H. Aldrich, and David W. Rohde. Change and Continuity in the 2004 and 2006 Elections (2007), 324pp excerpt and text search
  • Allard, Scott W. "The Changing Face of Welfare During the Bush Administration." Publius 2007 37(3): 304-332. Issn: 0048-5950
  • Barone, Michael. The Almanac of American Politics (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010), highly detailed coverage of electoral politics and Congress.
  • Berggren, D. Jason, and Nicol C. Rae. "Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush: Faith, Foreign Policy, and an Evangelical Presidential Style." Presidential Studies Quarterly. 36#4 2006. pp 606+. online edition
  • Campbell, Colin, Bert A. Rockman, and Andrew Rudalevige, eds.. The George W. Bush Legacy Congressional Quarterly Press, 2007, 352pp; 14 essays by scholars excerpts and online search from
  • Congressional Quarterly. CQ Almanac Plus highly detailed annual compilation of events in Congress, White House, Supreme Court, summarizing the weekly "Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report". (annual, 2002–2009)
  • Conlan, Tim and John Dinan. "Federalism, the Bush Administration, and the Transformation of American Conservatism." Publius 2007 37(3): 279-303. Issn: 0048-5950
  • Corrado, Anthony, E. J. Dionne Jr., Kathleen A. Frankovic. The Election of 2000: Reports and Interpretations (2001) online edition
  • Daynes, Byron W. and Glen Sussman. "Comparing the Environmental Policies of Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush." White House Studies 2007 7(2): 163-179. Issn: 1535-4738
  • Desch, Michael C. "Bush and the Generals." Foreign Affairs 2007 86(3): 97-108. Issn: 0015-7120 Fulltext: Ebsco
  • Eckersley, Robyn. "Ambushed: the Kyoto Protocol, the Bush Administration's Climate Policy and the Erosion of Legitimacy." International Politics 2007 44(2-3): 306-324. Issn: 1384-5748
  • Edwards III, George C. and Philip John Davies, eds. New Challenges for the American Presidency New York: Pearson Longman, 2004. 245 pp. articles from Presidential Studies Quarterly
  • Edwards III, George C. and Desmond King, eds. The Polarized Presidency of George W. Bush (2007), 478pp; essays by scholars; excerpt and online search from
  • Fortier, John C. and Norman J. Ornstein, eds. Second-term Blues: How George W. Bush Has Governed (2007), 146pp excerpt and online search from
  • Graham John D. Bush on the Home Front: Domestic Policy Triumphs and Setbacks (Indiana University Press, 2010) 425 pages; covers taxation, education, health care, energy, the environment, and regulatory reform.
  • Greenstein, Fred I. ed. The George W. Bush Presidency: An Early Assessment Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003
  • Greenstein, Fred I. “The Contemporary Presidency: The Changing Leadership of George W. Bush A Pre- and Post-9/11 Comparison” in Presidential Studies Quarterly v 32#2 2002 pp 387+. online edition
  • Gregg II, Gary L. and Mark J. Rozell, eds. Considering the Bush Presidency Oxford University Press, 2004. 210 pp. British perspectives
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