|January 20, 2001 - January 20, 2009|
|Vice President||Dick Cheney|
|Preceded by||Bill Clinton|
|Suceeded by||Barack Obama|
New Haven, Connecticut
Jenna and Barbara
George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He was the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000 before being sworn in as President on January 20, 2001. Bush is the eldest son of 41st U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. After graduating from Yale University, Bush worked in his family's oil businesses. He married Laura Welch in 1977 and unsuccessfully ran for the United States House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He later co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team before defeating Ann Richards to become Governor of Texas in 1994. In a close and controversial election, Bush was elected President in 2000 as the Republican candidate, receiving a majority of the electoral votes, but losing the popular vote to then Vice-President Al Gore. Eight months into his first term as President, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred and 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, President Bush promoted policies on the economy, health care, education and social security reform. He signed into law massive tax cuts, the No Child Left Behind Act and Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors. His tenure saw a national debate on immigration. Bush successfully ran for re-election against Democratic Senator John Kerry in 2004, garnering 50.7% of the popular vote to his opponent's 48.3%. After his re-election, Bush received increasingly heated criticism. In 2005, the Bush administration was forced to deal with widespread criticism of its handling of Hurricane Katrina. In December 2007, the United States entered the second-longest post-World War II recession, and his administration took more direct control of the economy, enacting multiple economic stimulus packages. Though Bush was a popular president for much of his first term, his popularity declined sharply during his second term to a near-record low.
Childhood to mid-lifeEdit
Born in New Haven, Connecticut on July 6, 1946, Bush was the first child of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush (born Pierce). He was raised in Midland and Houston, Texas, with his four siblings, Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. Another younger sister, Robin, died from leukemia at the age of three in 1953. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a Senator from Connecticut. Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, served as U.S. President from 1989 to 1993. Bush is also the fourth cousin five times removed of Franklin Pierce, who was President from 1853 to 1857. Education As a child, Bush was not accepted for admission by St. John's School in Houston, Texas, a prestigious private school. Instead, he attended The Kinkaid School, the private school from which St. John's had broken away Bush attended Phillips Academy, an all-boys private high school in Andover, Massachusetts, where he played baseball and during his senior year was the head cheerleader Bush attended Yale University from 1964 to 1968, receiving a Bachelor's degree in history in 1968 As a college senior, Bush became a member of the secretive Skull and Bones society. He characterized himself as an average student. In 1970, Bush applied to, but was not accepted into, the University of Texas School of Law. Beginning in the fall of 1973, Bush attended Harvard University, where he earned an MBA.
Texas Air National GuardEdit
In May 1968, Bush was commissioned into the Texas Air National Guard.] After training, he was assigned to duty in Houston, flying Convair F-102s out of Ellington Air Force Base Critics allege that Bush was favorably treated due to his father's political standing, citing his selection as a pilot and his irregular attendance.In June 2005, the United States Department of Defense released all the records of Bush's Texas Air National Guard service, which remain in its official archives. In late 1972 and early 1973, he drilled with the Alabama Air National Guard, having moved to Memphis to work on the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Winton M. Blount. In October 1973, Bush was discharged from the Texas Air National Guard and transferred to the Air Force inactive reserves. He was discharged from the Air Force Reserve on November 21, 1974, at the end of his six-year service obligation.
Marriage and familyEdit
In 1977, he was introduced by friends at a backyard barbecue to Laura Welch, a schoolteacher and librarian. Bush proposed to her after a three-month courtship and they were married on November 5 of that year. The couple settled in Midland, Texas. Bush left his family's Episcopal Church to join his wife's United Methodist Church. In 1981, Laura Bush gave birth to twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara; 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 accounts of alcohol abuse. In one instance, he was arrested near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine for driving under the influence of alcohol at the age of thirty on September 4, 1976. He pleaded guilty, was fined $150 and had his Maine driver's license suspended until 1978. Bush says his wife has had a stabilizing effect on his private life, and attributes to her influence his 1986 decision to give up alcohol.] 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."
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 He returned to the oil industry, and began a series of small, independent oil exploration companies He created Arbusto Energy, and later changed the name to Bush Exploration. In 1984, his company merged with the larger Spectrum 7, and Bush became chairman. The company was hurt by a decline in oil prices, and as a result, it folded into Harken Energy. Bush served on the board of directors for Harken. 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. Bush moved his family to Washington, D.C. in 1988 to work on his father's campaign for the U.S. presidency. He worked as a campaign adviser and served as liaison to the media; he assisted his father by campaigning across the country. 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. He actively led the team's projects and regularly attended its games, often choosing to sit in the open stands with fans. The sale of Bush's shares in the Rangers in 1998 brought him over $15 million from his initial $800,000 investment. 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." The prior month, Bush had been asked by his father to tell White House chief of staff John H. Sununu that he should resign.
Governor of TexasEdit
Governor Bush with wife, Laura, and father, former President George H. W. Bush at the dedication of the George Bush Presidential Library, November 1997 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, crime reduction, and education improvement. Bush's campaign advisers were Karen Hughes, Joe Allbaugh, and Karl Rove. After easily winning the Republican primary, Bush faced popular Democratic incumbent Governor Ann Richards. In the course of the campaign, Bush pledged to sign a bill allowing Texans to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons. Governor Richards had vetoed the bill, but Bush signed it after he became governor. 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." The Atlantic, and others, connected the lesbian rumor to Karl Rove, but Rove denied being involved. Bush won the general election with 53.5 percent against Richards' 45.9 percent. Bush used a budget surplus to push through Texas's largest tax-cut ($2 billion). He extended government funding for organizations providing education of the dangers of alcohol and drug use and abuse, and helping to reduce domestic violence. In 1998, Bush won re-election with a record 69 percent of the vote. He became the first governor in Texas history to be elected to two consecutive four-year terms. For most of Texas history, governors served two-year terms; a constitutional amendment extended those terms to four years starting in 1975. In his second term, Bush promoted faith-based organizations and enjoyed high approval ratings. 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." 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. Throughout Bush's first term, national attention focused on him as a potential future presidential candidate. Following his re-election, speculation soared. Within a year, he decided to seek the Republican nomination for the presidency.
2000 Presidential candidacyEdit
In Concord, New Hampshire after filing to run for the Presidency 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. Along with Bush, that field of candidates consisted 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. By early 2000, the race had centered on Bush and McCain. Bush won the Iowa caucuses, but, although he was heavily favored to win the New Hampshire primary, he trailed John 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. The South Carolina campaign was controversial for the use of telephone poll questions implying that McCain had fathered an illegitimate child with an African-American woman. General election On July 25, 2000, Bush surprised some observers by asking the Halliburton corporation's chief executive officer Dick Cheney, a former White House Chief of Staff, 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, he was officially nominated by the Republican Party at the 2000 Republican National Convention. Bush continued to campaign across the country, and touted his record as Governor of Texas. Bush's campaign criticized his Democratic opponent, incumbent Vice President Al Gore, over gun control and taxation. As the election returns came in on November 7, Bush won twenty-nine states including Florida. The closeness of the Florida outcome led to a recount. Two initial counts went to Bush, but the outcome was tied up in courts for a month until reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. 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. The machine recount stated that Bush had won the Florida vote by a margin of 537 votes out of six million cast. Bush received 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266. However, he lost the popular vote by 543,895 votes, surpassing the previous 1876 election record. This made him one of three Presidents elected without receiving a plurality of the popular vote.
2004 Presidential candidacyEdit
Main article: United States presidential election, 2004
Bush commanded broad support in the Republican Party and did not encounter a primary challenge. He appointed Kenneth Mehlman as campaign manager, with a political strategy devised by Karl Rove. Bush and the Republican platform included a strong commitment to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for the USA PATRIOT Act, a renewed shift in policy for constitutional amendments banning abortion and same-sex marriage, reforming Social Security to create private investment accounts, creation of an ownership society, and opposing mandatory carbon emissions controls. Bush also called for the implementation of a temporary guest-worker program for immigrants, which was criticized by conservatives. 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 war in Iraq, perceived excesses of the USA PATRIOT Act and for allegedly 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, and claimed Kerry lacked the decisiveness and vision necessary for success in the war on terrorism. Bush carried thirty-one of fifty states for a total of 286 electoral votes. He won an absolute majority of the popular vote (50.7% to his opponent's 48.3%). The last President to win an absolute majority of the popular vote had been 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 congressional majorities in both Houses. Bush's 2.5% margin of victory was the narrowest for a victorious incumbent President up for re-election since Woodrow Wilson's 3.1% margin of victory against Charles Evans Hughes in 1916.
During his campaign for election as President, Bush's foreign policy platform included support for a stronger economic and political relationship with Latin America, especially Mexico, and a reduction of involvement in "nation-building" and other small-scale military engagements. The administration pursued a national missile defense. In response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President Bush launched the War on Terrorism, in which the United States military and an international coalition invaded Afghanistan. In 2003, President Bush launched the invasion of Iraq, which President Bush viewed as being part of the War on Terrorism. Those invasions led to the toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq as well as the deaths of many Iraqis, with surveys indicating between four hundred thousand to over one million dead, excluding the tens of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan. Bush began his second term with an emphasis on improving strained relations with European nations. He appointed long-time adviser Karen Hughes to oversee a global public relations campaign. Bush lauded the pro-democracy struggles in Georgia and Ukraine. In March 2006, he visited India, leading to renewed ties between the two countries, particularly in areas of nuclear energy and counter-terrorism cooperation. Midway through Bush's second term, it was questioned whether Bush was retreating from his freedom and democracy agenda, highlighted in policy changes toward some oil-rich former Soviet republics in central Asia.
September 11, 2001Edit
The September 11 terrorist attacks were a major turning point in Bush's presidency. That evening, he addressed the nation from the Oval Office, promising a strong response to the attacks but emphasizing the need for the nation to come together and comfort the families of the victims. On September 14, he visited Ground Zero, meeting with Mayor Rudy Giuliani and firefighters, police officers, and volunteers. Bush addressed the gathering via a megaphone while standing on a heap of rubble, to much applause.
War on TerrorismEdit
After September 11, Bush announced a global War on Terrorism. The Afghan Taliban regime was not forthcoming with Osama bin Laden, so Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime. In his January 29, 2002 State of the Union address, he asserted that an "axis of evil" consisting of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq was "arming to threaten the peace of the world" and "pose[d] a grave and growing danger". The Bush Administration proceeded to assert a right and intention to engage in preemptive war, also called preventive war, in response to perceived threats. This would form a basis for what became known as the Bush Doctrine. The broader "War on Terror", allegations of an "axis of evil", and, in particular, the doctrine of preemptive war, began to weaken the unprecedented levels of international and domestic support for Bush and United States action against al Qaeda following the September 11 attacks. Some national leaders alleged abuse by U.S. troops and called for the U.S. to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and other such facilities. Dissent from, and criticism of, Bush's leadership in the War on Terror increased as the war in Iraq expanded. In 2006, a National Intelligence Estimate expressed the combined opinion of the United States' own intelligence agencies, concluding that the Iraq War had become the "cause celebre for jihadists" and that the jihad movement was growing
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)Edit
P On October 7, 2001, U.S. and Australian forces initiated bombing campaigns that led to the arrival on November 13 of Northern Alliance troops in Kabul. The main goals of the war were to defeat the Taliban, drive al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, and capture key al Qaeda leaders. In December 2001, the Pentagon reported that the Taliban had been defeated but cautioned that the war would go on to continue weakening Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders. Later that month the UN had installed the Afghan Interim Authority chaired by Hamid Karzai. Efforts to kill or capture al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden failed as he escaped a battle in December 2001 in the mountainous region of Tora Bora, which the Bush Administration later acknowledged to have resulted from a failure to commit enough U.S. ground troops. Bin Laden and al Qaeda's number two leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as the leader of the Taliban, Mohammed Omar, remain at large. Despite the initial success in driving the Taliban from power in Kabul, by early 2003 the Taliban was regrouping, amassing new funds and recruits. In 2006, the Taliban insurgency appeared larger, fiercer and better organized than expected, with large-scale allied offensives such as Operation Mountain Thrust attaining limited success. As a result, President Bush commissioned 3,500 additional troops to the country in March 2007.
Beginning with his January 29, 2002 State of the Union address, Bush began publicly focusing attention on Iraq, which he labeled as part of an "axis of evil" allied with terrorists and posing "a grave and growing danger" to U.S. interests through possession of weapons of mass destruction. In the latter half of 2002, CIA reports contained assertions of Saddam Hussein's intent of reconstituting nuclear weapons programs, not properly accounting for Iraqi biological and chemical weapons, and that some Iraqi missiles had a range greater than allowed by the UN sanctions. Claims that the Bush Administration manipulated or exaggerated the threat and evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities would eventually become a major point of criticism for the president. In late 2002 and early 2003, Bush urged the United Nations to enforce Iraqi disarmament mandates, precipitating a diplomatic crisis. In November 2002, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei led UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, but were forced to depart the country four days prior to the U.S. invasion, despite their requests for more time to complete their tasks. The U.S. initially sought a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of military force but dropped the bid for UN approval due to vigorous opposition from several countries.
In January 2005, free, democratic elections were held in Iraq for the first time in fifty years. According to Iraqi National Security Advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie, "This is the greatest day in the history of this country."Bush praised the event as well, saying that the Iraqis "have taken rightful control of their country's destiny." This led to the election of Jalal Talabani as President and Nouri al-Maliki as Prime Minister of Iraq. A referendum to approve a constitution in Iraq were held in October 2005, supported by the majority Shiites and many Kurds. On January 10, 2007 Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office regarding the situation in Iraq. In his speech he announced a surge of 21,500 more troops for Iraq, as well as a job program for Iraqis, more reconstruction proposals, and $1.2 billion for these programs.] On May 1, 2007, Bush used his veto for only the second time in his presidency, rejecting a congressional bill setting a deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Five years after the invasion, Bush called the debate over the conflict "understandable" but insisted that a continued U.S. presence there is crucial. In March 2008 Bush praised the Iraqi government's "bold decision" to launch the Battle of Basra against the Mahdi Army, calling it "a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq". He said he will carefully weigh recommendations from his commanders General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker about how to proceed after the military buildup ends in the summer of 2008. He also praised the Iraqis' legislative achievements, including a pension law, a revised de-Baathification law, a new budget, an amnesty law and a provincial powers measure that, he said, sets the stage for the Iraqi governorate elections, 2008. On July 31, 2008, Bush announced that with the end of July, American troop deaths had reached their lowest number—thirteen—since the war began in 2003. Due to increased stability in Iraq, Bush announced the withdrawal of additional American forces, which reflected an emerging consensus between the White House and the Pentagon that the war has "turned a corner". He also described what he saw as the success of the 2007 troop surge.
On May 10, 2005, Vladimir Arutyunian threw a live hand grenade toward a podium where Bush was speaking at Freedom Square in Tbilisi, Georgia. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was seated nearby. It landed in the crowd about 65 feet (20 m) from the podium after hitting a girl, but it did not detonate. Arutyunian was arrested in July 2005, confessed, was convicted and was given a life sentence in January 2006.
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. 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. They bought a home in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas, Texas, where they planned to settle down. His first speaking engagement will occur on March 17, 2009 in Calgary, Alberta. He will be speaking at a private event titled "A conversation with George W. Bush" at the Telus Convention Centre.