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George W. Bush (The Capitol Burns)

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George W. Bush
Official portrait of George W. Bush
43rd President of the United States
In office:
January 20, 2001 - January 29, 2002
Vice President: Dick Cheney
Preceded by: Bill Clinton
Succeded by: Gale Norton
46th Governor of Texas
In office:
January 17, 1995 – December 21, 2000
Lieutenant:

Bob Bullock (1995 – 1999)
Rick Perry (1999 – 2000)
Preceded by: Ann Richards
Succeded by: Rick Perry
Biography
Born: July 6, 1946
New Haven, Connecticut
Died: January 29, 2002 (aged 55)
Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Nationality: American
Political party: Republican
Spouse: Laura Bush
Children: Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Welch Hager
Residence: White House (official)
Crawford, Texas (private)
Alma mater: Yale University
Harvard Business School
Occupation: Businessman (oil, baseball), Politician
Religion: United Methodist
Signature: George W. Bush Signature
Military service
Allegiance: United States of America
Service/branch: Texas Air National Guard
Alabama Air National Guard
Years of service: 1968 – 1973
Rank: First Lieutenant

George Walker Bush (July 6, 1946 - January 29, 2002) served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2002. He was the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 until 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 Al Gore.

Childhood to mid-life

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.

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 Guard

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 family

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."

Early career

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 Texas

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 candidacy

Primary

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, and 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.


The Bush Administration (2001-2002)

Year in Office (January 20-September 10, 2001)

In President Bush's first eight months in office before 9/11, the administration's focus was largely on matters concerning the economy, relations with North Korea and their nuclear efforts, stem cell research, and the job of uniting a nation still bitter over the controversy that surrounded the 2000 presidential election. In that election, Bush actually lost the nationwide popular vote to Vice President Al Gore, yet narrowly defeated Gore in the Electoral College (by a narrow 271-266 margin). The five-week battle over the extremely close results in Florida ended when the U.S. Supreme Court abruptly terminated the state's month-long recounts on December 13, 2000. As a result, Bush won the state by a mere 537 votes, confirming the results of a November 27 recount that was certified by Florida's Secretary of State, Katharine Harris. This judicial resolution was disputed by the Gore campaign and many other Democrats. Various recounts done following the November 27 certification by Harris showed Bush's lead had narrowed to just 125 votes until the U.S. Supreme Court declared Bush the winner in their December 13th ruling.

Bush's first eight months were dominated by public disenchantment with his controversial and unusual election, something reflected in his rainy inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C., where 10,000 protesters rallied against the president. Much talk circulated over how to deal with North Korea during Bush's first eight months as well how to handle the stem-cell research debate. On August 8, 2001, in a televised address to the nation from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Bush announced that the federal government would fund the research, yet only use human embryos which had already been destroyed. From the start of his first term, economic indicators were predicting a recession, thus Bush enacted massive tax cuts in July 2001 which changed the way federal taxes were paid and introduced changes to retirement and pension plans of senior citizens. The most public aspect of this act was that most Americans received a check from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as "reconciliation" for paying more tax than was necessary.

After the 2000 election, the U.S. Senate was split between 50 Democrat-held seats and 50 Republican-held seats while the Republicans still had an extremely slim majority in the House of Representatives. The Vice President, however, is given the constitutional authority in his role as presiding officer of the Senate to break 50-50 ties in the Senate, which meant the 50-50 split was actually a majority for Republicans since Republican Vice President Dick Cheney would cast the deciding vote. However, this situation changed on May 24, 2001, when liberal Republican Senator Jim Jeffords switched his party affiliation to become the only Independent senator in the U.S. Senate and announced that he would caucus with the Democrats. This gave the Democrats a narrow one-seat majority in the Senate until the November 2002 midterm elections in which Republicans easily won back Senate control.

On February 9, 2001, A US submarine, the USS Greeneville, collided with a Japanese fishing ship and killed 9 people on board the boat. Bush soon apologized to the Japanese for the incident.

In April 2001, a U.S. military spy plane was forced to land at a Chinese military airport. The U.S.-China spy plane incident or Hainan Island incident was one of the first major international challenges that the new administration faced. President Bush also heavily promoted his No Child Left Behind education program, visiting schools across the country. His program was surprisingly endorsed by longtime liberal Democrat, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. During this time period Bush's approval ratings fluctuated from 48 percent to 63 percent.

Cabinet

  • President: George W. Bush
  • Vice President: Dick Cheney
  • Secretary of State: Colin Powell 2001 - January 29, 2002 Assassinated
  • Secretary of the Treasury: Paul O'Neill 2001 - January 29, 2002 Assassinated
  • Secretary of Defense: Donald Rumsfeld 2001 – January 29, 2002 Assassinated
  • Attorney General: John Ashcroft 2001–January 29, 2002 Assassinated
  • Secretary of the Interior: Gale Norton 2001 – 2002 become President by Line of Sucesion
  • Secretary of Agriculture: Ann Veneman 2001 – 2005
  • Secretary of Commerce: Donald Evans 2001 – 2005
  • Secretary of Labor: Elaine Chao 2001 – 2009
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services: Tommy Thompson 2001 – 2005
  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Mel Martinez 2001 – 2003
  • Secretary of Transportation: Norman Mineta 2001 – 2006
  • Secretary of Energy: Spencer Abraham 2001 – 2005
  • Secretary of Education: Rod Paige 2001 – 2005
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Anthony Principi 2001 – 2005
  • Secretary of Homeland Security: Michael Chertoff
  • Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: Christine Todd Whitman 2001 – 2003
  • Director of the Office of Management and Budget: Mitch Daniels 2001 – 2003
  • White House Chief of Staff: John Weaver
  • National Security Advisor: Condoleezza Rice
  • Chief of Staff: Andrew Card 2001 – 2006
  • Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy: John Walters 2001 – 2009
  • United States Trade Representative: Robert Zoellick 2001 – 2005

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