George Walker Bush was
the 43rd President of the United States. His four-year term as
President began on January 20, 2001. Bush won a second term as
president and will pass on the presidency in January 2009.
the presidency, Bush was an oil businessman and served as Governor
of Texas from 1995 to 2000. He is the son of former
President George Herbert Walker Bush and the brother of
Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
life, service, and education
George W. Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut to parents
and Barbara Bush, and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas.
He has four younger siblings: Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy.
A younger sister, Robin, died of leukemia in 1953 at the age
father, Bush was educated at Phillips Academy (Andover)
(September 1961June 1964) and Yale University (September
1964May 1968). While at Yale he joined Delta Kappa Epsilon
(where he was president from October 1965 until graduation),
and the Skull and Bones society. He played baseball during his
freshman year and rugby during his freshman and senior years.
He received a bachelor's degree in history in 1968.
After graduating from Yale, Bush enlisted in the Texas Air National
Guard on May 27, 1968 during the Vietnam War, with a commitment
to serve until May 26, 1974. He served as an F-102 pilot until
1973 and was twice promoted during his service, first to second
lieutenant and then to first lieutenant. In November 1970, Lt.
Col. Jerry B. Killian, the commander of the Texas Air National
Guard, recommended that Bush be promoted to first Lieutenant,
calling him "a dynamic outstanding young officer"
who stood out as "a top notch fighter interceptor pilot."
He said that "Lt. Bush's skills far exceed his contemporaries,"
and that "he is a natural leader whom his contemporaries
look to for leadership. Lt. Bush is also a good follower with
outstanding disciplinary traits and an impeccable military bearing."
1973 he received permission to end his six-year commitment six
months early in order to attend Harvard University. He transferred
to inactive reserve status shortly before being honorably discharged
on October 1, 1973.
political opponents of the Bush administration began to raise
questions about his service record in 2000, particularly as
to whether he fulfilled his obligations.
Harvard Business School in 1973. He was awarded a Master of
Business Administration (MBA) in 1975, making him the first
U.S. president to hold an MBA degree.
Laura Welch in 1977. In 1986, at age 40, he became a born-again
Christian, converting from Episcopalian Christianity to his
wife's denomination, Methodism. They have twin daughters, Barbara
and Jenna Bush, born in 1981.
Day weekend, September 4, 1976, Bush was pulled over by police
near his family's Kennebunkport summer home in Maine. He was
arrested and fined $150 and temporary suspension driving privileges
in the state for driving under the influence of alcohol. News
of the arrest was released five days before the 2000 presidential
election by the Kennebunkport police department.
described his days before his religious conversion as his "nomadic"
period and "irresponsible youth". Bush admitted to
drinking "too much" in those years. He gave up drinking
for good shortly after his 40th birthday celebration. A number
of reasons were cited for the change including a 1985 meeting
with Rev. Billy Graham. CNN reported during the 2000 campaign
that Bush said "I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had
a drop since then."
addressed the issue of his alleged cocaine abuse on several
occasions. The 2000 campaign initially refused to answer on
principle, but later Bush told the press that, as a condition
of Federal employment, he had signed a form averring he had
not taken drugs in the previous seven years. When asked if he
could have signed it when his father was president, he paused
to think, and then answered that he could have. But Bush refused
to answer if he had ever taken cocaine.
sometimes referred to as Dubya (which is an old Texan variation
of "Double U"), a play on his middle initial "W".
and political career
In 1978, Bush ran for the U.S. House of Representatives but
lost to State Sen. Kent Hance, a Democrat.
Bush began his career in the oil industry in 1979 when he established
Arbusto Energy, an oil and gas exploration company he formed
in 1977 with leftover funds from his education trust fund and
money from other investors. (Actually, Arbusto is Spanish for
"shrub", not "bush".) The 1979 energy crisis
hurt Arbusto and, after a name change to Bush Exploration Co.,
Bush sold the company in 1984 to Spectrum 7, another Texas oil
and gas exploration firm. Under the terms of the sale, Bush
became CEO of Spectrum 7. History was repeated as the oil crisis
of 1985-1986 bankrupted Spectrum 7. Spectrum 7 was subsequently
saved by a buyout from Harken Energy Corp in 1986 with Bush
becoming a director of Harken.
accused of using insider knowledge when selling stock while
serving on the board of directors of Harken Energy Corp. in
1990. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ended a 1992
investigation with a memo stating "it appears that Bush
did not engage in illegal insider trading", but noted that
the memo "must in no way be construed as indicating that
the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately
result." Critics allege that the investigation was influenced
by the fact that Bush's father was President at the time, although
no action was taken during Bill Clinton's presidency either.
As President, Bush has refused to authorize the SEC to release
its full report on the investigation.
on his father's successful 1988 presidential campaign, he assembled
a group of partners from his father's close friends and in 1989
purchased the Texas Rangers, an Arlington-based Major League
Baseball franchise. (Bush later appointed one of these partners,
Tom Schieffer to the post of Ambassador to Australia.) Critics
expressed concern about the propriety of the purchase, charging
use of political influence and favoritism involving a family
friend. Bush personally earned US$14.9 million in the 1998 sale
of the team (in total, the sale earned US$170 million).
as managing general partner of the Rangers until he was elected
Governor of Texas on November 8, 1994 over incumbent Democrat
Ann Richards. He went on to become, in 1998, the first Texas
governor to be elected for two consecutive four-year terms.
His tenure in office featured a positive reputation for bipartisan
leadership. Among issues attracting national and international
attention during his terms was Texas' use of the death penalty,
a policy seen in most American constituencies. He signed the
death warrants of 152 criminals, including that of Karla Faye
2000 presidential election campaign, he campaigned on, among
other issues, allowing religious charities to compete on an
equal basis for participation in federally funded programs,
reducing taxes, promoting the use of education vouchers, supporting
oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and restructuring
of the armed forces. In foreign policy, he stated he was against
using the U.S. armed forces in "nation building" attempts
President on January 20, 2001 as the winner of one of the closest
general elections in U.S. history, defeating Democratic Vice
President Al Gore in 30 of 50 states for a narrow victory by
five electoral votes. Gore won a plurality of the nationwide
popular vote by approximately 540,000 votes out of 105 million,
a margin of barely one-half of one percent. This was the third
consecutive presidential election in which no candidate received
a majority of the popular vote. It was the first presidential
election since the 1888 election in which a candidate lost the
popular vote while winning the electoral college vote. The electoral
college outcome could have been altered by a difference of only
a few hundred (537/2) popular votes in Florida.
vote, which favored Bush by a tiny margin in the initial count,
was heavily contested after concerns were raised about flaws
and irregularities in the voting process, and became the subject
of a series of contentious court cases. After a Supreme Court
decision in mid-December favoring Bush, Gore conceded the election.
The election results are still disputed by many, though no longer
contested in any legal venue. See U.S. presidential election,
Foreign policy and security
During his campaign, Bush's foreign policy platform included
support of a stronger economic and political relationship with
Latin America, especially Mexico, and a reduction in involvement
in "nation-building" and other small-scale military
engagements. However, after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist
Attacks, the administration focused much more on foreign policy
in the Middle East.
after the attacks, a war was launched against Afghanistan to
topple the Taliban, accused of harboring Osama bin Laden. This
action had fairly strong international support, and the Taliban
government folded quickly after the invasion. However, subsequent
nation-building efforts in concert with the United Nations under
Hamid Karzai have proved troublesome, and bin Laden was never
apprehended nor believed to have been killed. A large contingent
of troops and advisors remains in hopes of forming a functional
democratic government, a stated goal of the Bush administration.
See U.S. invasion of Afghanistan for details.
after a long disarmament crisis, a war was launched against
Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein, accused of developing weapons
of mass destruction. The war proved extremely divisive, with
some of the U.S.'s long-term allies strongly opposing it and
it being the subject of record protests worldwide. However,
with at best only ambiguous support from the United Nations,
the war was launched with a coalition of the willing of about
forty countries, most notably the United Kingdom. The difficulties
in the occupation and implementation of a democracy, the failure
to find Saddam's alleged weapons, and claims about information
having been allegedly spun or distorted to support the war have
all been used to challenge the Bush administration both domestically
and from abroad. Nevertheless, Bush states that he still believes
it was the right decision, and that a demonstrably brutal tyrant
has been overthrown and can no longer threaten the world. See
2003 invasion of Iraq for full coverage.
14, 2001, Bush scrapped the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty,
which had been a bedrock of U.S.-Soviet nuclear stability during
the Cold War, arguing it was no longer relevant. Instead, Bush
focused resources on a ballistic missile defense system. Although
some claim the system is unworkable, there have been numerous
successful tests of the system and it is scheduled to start
deployment in 2005.
first presidential visit to Europe in June 2001, Bush came under
harsh criticism from European leaders for his rejection of the
Kyoto Protocol, which is aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions
that may contribute to global warming. The treaty, however,
had already been rejected by the United States Senate on the
grounds that it would exempt polluting nations classified as
"developing", such as China. Currently, the treaty
has not been ratified by the required minimum of nations to
put it into force, and it is increasingly unlikely that this
of a tariff on imported steel was controversial in light of
his pursuit of other free market policies, and attracted criticism
both from his fellow conservatives and from nations affected.
The tariff was later rescinded under pressure from the WTO.
of 2002, Bush cut off all U.S. government funding to the United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Bush claimed that the UNFPA
supported forced abortions and sterilizations in China.
policy is influenced by the largey inactive neo-conservative
think tank Project for the New American Century, many of whose
members have prominent positions in the Bush administration.
Many would argue that the administration is far more inspired
by the Heritage Foundation, and to a lesser degree the Cato
George W. Bush speaks to firefighters on November 4, 2003, as
California Governor-Elect Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov. Gray
Davis listen.President Bush has endorsed an amendment to the
United States Constitution that defines marriage as being between
a man and a woman, which would ban same-sex marriage, but leaves
open the possibility of civil unions. Bush has tended to be
opposed to forms of affirmative action, but expressed appreciation
for the Supreme Court's ruling upholding selecting college applicants
for purposes of diversity. Although President Bush did meet
with the National Urban League, he is the first sitting President
not to meet with the NAACP since Herbert Hoover.
Bush has implemented three tax cuts during his term in office
that eliminated the "marriage penalty", the "death
tax" and reduced marginal tax rates. These cuts were enacted
by Congress with large bipartisan majorities, but were later
criticized as regressive give-aways. Bush advocates the partial
privatization of Social Security wherein an individual would
be free to invest a portion of his Social Security taxes in
personal retirement accounts.
the Medicare Act of 2003, which added prescription drug coverage
to Medicare, subsidized companies that sell these drugs, and
prohibited the Federal government from negotiating discounts
with drug companies.
Of the US$2.4
trillion budgeted for 2005, about US$450 billion are planned
to be spent on defense.
of 2003, Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, which targets
supporting early learning, measures student performance, gives
options over failing schools, and ensures more resources for
schools. Critics say schools were not given the resources to
help meet new standards. Some state governments are refusing
to implement provisions of the act as long as they are not adequately
have repeatedly criticized the Bush administration for reducing
funding for scientific research, setting restrictions on stem
cell research, ignoring scientific consensus on critical issues
such as global warming, and hampering cooperation with foreign
scientists by employing deterring immigration and visa practices.
In February 2004, over 5,000 scientists (including 48 Nobel
Prize winners) signed a statment "opposing the Bush administration's
use of scientific advice". They felt that "the Bush
administration has ignored unbiased scientific advice in the
policy-making that is so important for our collective welfare".
Bush's environmental record has been largely criticized by environmentalists,
who charge that his policies cater to industry demands to weaken
George Bush Junior Quotes