George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) was the 43rd President
of the United States, succeeding Bill Clinton in 2001. He was first elected
President in 2000 and his term began in January 2001. He was re-elected
in November 2004 and his second term will expire in 2009.
Bush was the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000 and is a lifelong
George W. Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut 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 of three.
Like his father, Bush was educated at Phillips Academy (September, 1961
- June, 1964) and Yale University (September, 1964 - May, 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 junior and senior years.
He received a bachelor's degree in history in 1968. Although he had an
SAT score of 1206, 200 points below that of the average Yale freshman of
1970, he benefitted from an admissions policy which gave preference to
the children of alumni (his score was at roughly the 70th percentile nationwide).
He then earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard Business
School, making him the first president to hold a MBA degree.
Bush married 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, born in 1981.
Barbara is currently a student at her father's alma mater, Yale University,
while Jenna attends the University of Texas at Austin .
Bush is the second person to become U.S. President whose father was
also President. ( John Adams, the second President, and John Quincy Adams,
the sixth, were father and son.) Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, was
the 41st President of the United States. There was also one grandfather-grandson
pair, William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison .
Controversies about early life
Bush had problems with alcohol for years after college, an issue on which
he had been open, according to his spokeswoman Karen Hughes. He gave up
drinking after his daughters were born, the day after his 40th birthday.
CNN reported during the 2000 campaign that "at a campaign appearance at
a charity center in San Jose, California, that helps people deal with addictions,
Bush said, 'I was able to share with some of the men and women here that
I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then.'"
1976 arrest for DUI
When Bush was 30, he was arrested and fined for driving under the influence
of alcohol (DUI), on September 4 , 1976 in Kennebunkport, Maine . Bush
was pulled over by police for driving too slowly near his family's Kennebunkport,
Maine, summer home during the Labor Day weekend in 1976. Bush was driving
with three passengers: his sister, Dorothy, tennis champion John Newcombe
, and Newcombe's wife. After the arrest, Bush pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor
DUI charge, paid a $150 fine, and had his driving privileges briefly revoked
in the state of Maine . The charge was unearthed by Tom Connolly , a former
Democratic candidate for Governor of Maine . Connolly said he received
the information the Thursday before the 2000 election from an undisclosed
Maine Democratic Party official. Connolly said he confirmed Bush's arrest
by obtaining a copy of the court docket and gave it to a local television
reporter, who was standing nearby. It then became an issue in the 2000
presidential election campaign five days before the vote.
National Guard controversy
Whether Bush fulfilled his service to the Texas Air National Guard was
also an issue that has dogged him in both his presidential campaigns.
Business and political career
In 1978 Bush ran for the House of Representatives and was defeated by the
Democratic State Senator Kent Hance .
Bush began his career in the oil industry in 1979 when he began active
operations of Arbusto Energy , an oil and gas exploration company he formed
in 1977 with leftover funds from his education trust fund. The oil crisis
of the late '70s hurt Arbusto Energy 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.
Bush was accused of using insider knowledge when selling stock while
serving on the board of directors of Harken Energy Corp. in 1990 . After
his sale of the stock, Harken reported a $23.2 million quarterly loss.
An SEC investigation, alleged to be influenced by the fact Bush's father
was President of the United States, declared "the investigation has been
terminated as to the conduct of Mr. Bush, and that, at this time, no enforcement
action is contemplated with respect to him." but noted that this did not
mean that he was exonerated on that future charges might not brought. No
further action has resulted, despite the fact that Bill Clinton, of the
opposing political party, had been President for eight years between the
administration of Bush and his father. As President, Bush has refused to
authorize the SEC to release its full report on the investigation.
After working on his father's successful 1988 presidential campaign
, he assembled a group of partners from his father's close friends and
purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989 . Critics of Bush
allege improprieties in the venture, which earned $170 million, including
tactics in acquiring both the team and the stadium and land it played on,
as well as its later sale to a family friend who would donate money to
the Bush campaign in 2000.
He served as managing general partner of the Rangers until he was elected
Governor of Texas on November 8 , 1994 over incumbent Ann Richards . When
the team was sold in 1998 , Bush had earned $15 million.
He went on to become the first Texas governor to be elected for two
consecutive four-year terms. His tenure in office featured a positive reputation
for bipartisan leadership.
Bush became President on January 20 , 2001 , as the winner of one of
the closest general elections in American history - defeating Democratic
Vice President Al Gore by only five electoral votes, while Gore won a plurality
of the nationwide popular vote of more than 500,000 votes. The outcome
was ultimately decided by only a few hundred popular votes in Florida,
where Bush's brother Jeb was governor. (Until then, the most recent election
in which a candidate lost the popular vote and won the election was in
The election results were hotly contested by Gore for several weeks
until a U.S. Supreme Court ruling ended his efforts in mid-December. These
election results are still contested by some, who claim Bush rigged the
George W. Bush began his term with the aftermath of the contested 2000
presidential election hanging over his head. Both houses of Congress were
split approximately evenly between the Republican and Democratic parties.
In the first few months, the president enacted few policies and his approval
ratings were not high. In April of 2001 a U.S. military spy plane was forced
to land at a Chinese military airport. The incident was one of the first
major international challenges the new administration faced. During this
period, the The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001
was drafted, passed, and enacted under his direction. This act changed
the way taxes were paid, and also introduced changes to retirement and
pension plans amongst senior citizens. The most public result of this act
was most Americans getting a check in the mail from the IRS as "reconciliation"
for paying too many taxes.
Handling of the aftermath of 9/11
On September 11, 2001, eight months after Bush had taken office, terrorists
hijacked and flew airplanes into iconic buildings in the United States,
specifically the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. This attack has come
to be known as 9/11. The attack sparked widespread fear and confusion in
the American people. The night of the attacks, however, the president declared
a war on terror. The president's approval rating soared to 85%, its highest
Bush's first policy-related response to 9/11 came on October 8, 2001,
when during a speech to Congress he announced the creation of the Office
of Homeland Security and appointed Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania
as its director. This was the first executive level office to be created
since 1988, when President Reagan appointed a head to the The Department
of Veterans Affairs. The stated goal of the homeland security office was
"To develop and coordinate the implementation of a comprehensive national
strategy." and "To secure the United States from terrorist threats or attacks."
The department's most public accomplishment came on March 12, 2002 with
the unveiling of the Homeland Security Advisory System. This system was
a color coded scale created to illustrate the probable level of threat
currently posed by terrorists, based on various intellegence reports. The
"terror alert" level was and still is posted on a daily basis.
Bush's military response to the terrorist attacks began in October of
2001 with the deployment of 11,000 troops to invade Afghanistan. The invasion
was supported by Australia, The United Kingdom, and The Northern Alliance.
The stated goal of the invasion was to overthrow the Taliban government,
an Islamic fundamentalist group thought to be harboring Osama Bin Laden
the leader of Al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization blamed for (and later
claiming responsibility for) the 9/11 attacks.
The Taliban described Bin Laden as their guest, and refused to place
him in United States custody. Some contemplators of the issue currently
believe, however, that bin Laden was hiding out of the reach of the Taliban
in the mountains of Afghanistan. The Taliban were overthrown in Afghanistan,
and a United States approved government was installed. Unfortunately, the
majority of Al-Qaeda members, including Osama Bin Laden, escaped and some
are still active to this day. Some have criticized the president for not
sending enough troops into Afghanistan to accomplish the manhunt, but others
During this time the Bush administration was successful in freezing
Al-Qaeda funds and shutting down many training camps for new members. The
US has also captured many Al-Qaeda leaders and members in the ensuing months,
but Osama Bin Laden remains at large.
Invasion of Iraq
In the fall of 2002 during, in his State of the Union Address Bush set
forth what has come to be known as the Bush Doctrine. Although the doctorine
was technically used for justifying the invasion of Afghanistan, it was
not clearly stated until the address. Simply put, because of the "new world"
we live in, and the reality of massive terrorist attacks orchestrated by
organizations that exist in multiple places all over the world, the United
States no longer has the luxury of thinking of the world as exclusively
made up of sovereign nations. Because of this, the United States would
now implement a policy of preemptive strike (or attacking without provocation
or imminent threat, ostensibly to prevent an expected attack) against any
nation it saw as a threat, a complete reversal of United States foreign
policy. The United States now intended to take every measure necessary
to remain the only military super power in the world. He also outlined
what he called the Axis of Evil, three nations that were posing a threat
and the United States would not hesitate attacking. These nations were
Iraq, North Korea, and Iran. The 2002 State of the Union Address was a
major turning point for the Bush Administration and a reorientation of
the goals of the United States.
The Bush administration began announcing that they had discovered that
there were weapons of mass destruction (or WMDs) in the country of Iraq.
The description of these weapons ranged from chemical to nuclear weapons.
The administration supported their claim with intelligence documents as
well as aerial photography. Saddam Hussein, president of Iraq, was cast
as a ruthless dictator and a threat to the world and his own people as
long as he remained in power -- especially with access to WMDs. Very little
attention was payed to the fact that the United States had supplied Iraq
with weapons during the 1980s, and Hussein had been on the CIA's payroll
prior to the Persian Gulf War.
After unsuccessfully attempting to gain approval from the United Nations,
the United States invaded Iraq, beginning a conflict there that continues
on to this day, entitled "Operation Iraqi Freedom".
On May 2, 2003, from the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, in
front of a huge banner that read "Mission Accomplished", Bush declared
that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended." This move also drew
criticism, as many American troops were and still are fighting and dying
The group charged with finding the WMDS was the Iraq Survey Group (here
after ISG) made up of 1,200 members of British and American experts. October
3 they released their Interim report. In this report they stated that they
had found lots "WMD related material" but no actual WMDS. It was evident
that Iraq had been cheating the United Nations weapons inspectors and had
had plans of returning to making WMDs at some later date possibley when
the UN sanctions had been lifted. But no actual WMDs had been found yet.
On November 27, the president made a surprise visit to Iraq to share
Thanksgiving dinner with the troops in an effort to raise low morale. He
spent two hours eating with troops in Baghdad airport before returning
to the US. The visit was kept top secret, and even the troops had no idea
he was coming. Most media saw this as a potentially dangerous political
stunt. However, the trip went over without incident.
A few weeks later, December 13, Saddam Hussein, the now deposed president
of Iraq, was found and captured by US forces. Pictures of the now bearded
former leader, looking severly dazed, being poked and proded by medical
examiners circulated in newspapers and on the internet around the world
further demoralizing him. This was a definite boost to the Bush presidency
and most Americans were glad that Hussein had been found and captured.
On January 23, 2004, David Kay resigned as head of the ISG. His reason
for resigning was that he didn't beleive WMDs would ever be found.
By the summer of 2004 no WMDs had been found in the country of Iraq.
In May of 2004, Bush's approval rating had fallen to 46%. By then, George
W. Bush had become one of the most hated or loved public figures in recent
memory. Then on September 30 2004 the ISG released the Duelfer Report,
its final report, confirming David Kays assertion that there were no WMDs
in Iraq.. Some said that the WMDs were a lie to get access to oil reserves
in Iraq, and Bush had commited young Americans lives for financial gain.
Others felt that the president had adequate reason to attack, and that
he truly believed there were WMDs there, and was acting in the best interest
of the United States. These disagreements led to a deep division in the
country, and fueled a renewed interest in politics that had long been dormant
In January 2005 the ISG announced the conclusion of its search. They
stated that they had failed to find WMDs.
Build-up to re-election
It was these intense conflicts of interest that fueled the fire for
the 2004 election. During his campaign, Bush's platform did not change
from that of the 2000 election in any significant way, although he added
his success in fighting the war on terror and preventing another attack
like that of 9/11. His Democratic opponent John Kerry, was cast as soft
and said to "flip-flop" or change opinions on issues for political gain,
while Bush was portrayed as rigid and unyielding in his views. The campaign
was bitterly fought, and each candidate was accused of attacking the other
in some form or another almost on a daily basis. The polls remained neck-and-neck
most of the way to the election. The only time either candidate was significantly
ahead in the polls was after their political parties' conventions. After
the the Republican's convention most polls showed an eleven point lead
for President Bush, which kept dwindling as time went on. Despite outcries
by law enforcement agencies across the country, Bush allowed the Federal
Assault Weapons Ban to sunset on September 13; this did not substantially
affect his approval rating, but went virtually unnoticed. Polls were very
close to dead even by the first presidential debate on September 30, 2004.
During the three presidential debates, reactions to Bush's performance
were mixed. He was said to have scowled during the first debate several
times, which he later made light of. Most media sources agree that he lost
the first two debates. But by the third debate, he had noticeably straightened
up and appeared as firm and confident as he had during past performances.
The third debate came out as a tie, although many still disagree.
In 2003, Bush's approval ratings continued their slow descent from the
2001 highs. By late 2003, his approval numbers were in the low to middle
50s, around the lows of his Presidency. Nevertheless, his numbers were
still historically solid for the third year of a Presidency, when the President's
opponents typically begin their campaigns in earnest. Most polls tied the
decline to growing concern over the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and the
economy's slow recovery from the 2001 recession. Late during the Democratic
primary, most major polls showed Bush losing to the various Democratic
challengers by a narrow margin. Despite this, President Bush was
re-elected in November 2004 winning both the popular and electoral vote.
On December 19, 2004, Time Magazine chose George W. Bush for its annual
Person of the Year issue. Time gives the award to "the person or persons
who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied
what was important about the year, for better or for worse," and said they
gave to it Bush "for sticking to his guns (literally and figuratively),
for reshaping the rules of politics to fit his 10-gallon-hat leadership
style and for persuading a majority of voters this time around that he
deserved to be in the White House for another four years." Bush was also
Person of the Year in 2000 and his father received the title 1990.
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks the Bush administration asked
Congress to approve a series of laws that it stated were necessary to prosecute
the War on Terror . These included a wide variety of surveillance programs,
some of which came under heavy fire from civil libertarians who criticized
the Bush administration of scaling back civil liberties. On the other hand,
the administration has been criticized for refusing to back security measures
such as port security, allocating no money for it in 2003 and 2004, and
vetoing all $39 million for the Container Security Initiative .
Bush security initiatives
Through an act of Congress, the creation of a Department of Homeland Security
(DHS), a cabinet -level agency designed to streamline and co-ordinate the
various agents of federal government bureaucracy charged with protecting
the American homeland from foreign attacks. (The White House had opposed
the creation of this department for several months.)
A Total Information Awareness (TIA) program was proposed by the Defense
Department . The TIA program did not receive funding from Congress, however,
and is not currently operating. (Reports of similar [ARDA] program surfacing)
The USA PATRIOT Act which greatly expands the government's powers of surveillance
and arrest. The act passed soon after September 11, 2001 .
Creation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review which
will review government acts of domestic spying .
" Project Lookout ", which distributes "watch lists" of people alleged
to be suspicious, or have ties to terrorist groups to a variety of different
organizations and institutions. These included specific "No-fly" lists
of American residents who should not be allowed to board any aircraft into
or out of the United States.
" Operation TIPS ", which would encouraged people who have access to American
homes, like plumbers, to report suspicious activity. This proposal was
rejected after an initial outcry.
The Worldwide Attack Matrix , an intelligence document describing covert
operations abroad to defuse terrorist threats to American interests.
" NewRuleSets.project ", which provides a strategic framework for intervening
in countries to move them into the "functioning core" of world societies
and out of the "non-integrating gap" from which national security threats
Creation of First Amendment Zones , where political protesters are allowed
to exercise their free speech rights.
Some accused the Bush administration of using the threat of terrorism as
an excuse to clamp down on political dissent; indeed, many of Bush's critics
were quick to allege that they were being unfairly targeted by the new
security measures. Defenders of the President's security policies have
said that the continual criticism of his policies in both print and visual
media shows there is no such crackdown, and point out that other presidents
used legal means to stifle dissent during wartime as well.
Others accused the administration of over-reacting to the threat of
terrorism, and participating in Big Brother style tactics with little justification.
Critics of that view say that the prior administration under-reacted to
the World Trade Center bombing on February 26 , 1993 , treating it as a
criminal matter rather than an act of war.
Cabinet and advisors
Secretary of State - Colin Powell (2001-2005), Condoleezza Rice (2005-)
Secretary of Defense - Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary of the Treasury - Paul O'Neill (2001-2003), John William Snow
Attorney General - John Ashcroft (2001-2005), Alberto R. Gonzales (2005-)
Secretary of the Interior - Gale Norton
Secretary of Agriculture - Ann Veneman (2001-2005), Mike Johanns (2005-)
Secretary of Commerce - Donald Evans (2001-2005), Carlos M. Gutierrez (2005-)
Secretary of Labor - Elaine Chao
Secretary of Health and Human Services - Tommy Thompson (2001-2005), Michael
O. Leavitt (2005-)
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - Mel Martinez (2001-2003),
Alphonso R. Jackson (2004-)
Secretary of Transportation - Norman Mineta
Secretary of Energy - Spencer Abraham (2001-2005), Samuel W. Bodman (2005-)
Secretary of Education - Roderick Paige (2001-2005), Margaret Spellings
Secretary of Veterans Affairs - Anthony J. Principi (2001-2005), Jim Nicholson
Secretary of Homeland Security - Tom Ridge (2003-2005), Michael Chertoff
Among the more criticized appointments have been John Negroponte, Elliot
Abrams, Otto Reich, and John Poindexter for their roles in the Iran Contra
Scandal and for covering up human rights abuses in Central and South America
. Additionally, some appointments have been accused of being nepotism,
including (in addition Michael Powell, son of Secretary of State Colin
Powell): 28-year-old J. Strom Thurmond Jr (Sen. Strom Thurmond 's son)
as South Carolina's US Attorney, Eugene Scalia (Supreme Court Justice Antonin
Scalia 's son) as Solicitor for the Labor Department, Janet Rehnquist (Supreme
Court Justice William Rehnquist 's daughter) as Inspector General of the
Department of Health and Human Services (later fired for firearms charges
and inappropriate job terminations), and Elizabeth Cheney (Dick Cheney's
daughter) to the newly-created position Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
for Near-East Affairs.
Supreme Court appointments
- John G. Roberts, Jr. Chief Justice, 2005
- Harriet E. Miers 2005
Among Bush's most important legislation were several tax cuts , the No
Child Left Behind Act , and the Medicare reforms. While Bush's supporters
claim that the tax cuts increase the pace of economic recovery and job
creation, his opponents accuse them to favor the wealthy and special interests
and that Bush reversed a national surplus into a historic deficit. Of the
$2.4 trillion budget for 2005 about $450 billion are planned to be spent
on defense. Congress approved $87 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan in November,
and had approved an earlier $79 billion package last spring. Most of those
funds were for U.S. military operations in the two countries. (  )
No Child Left Behind targets supporting early learning, measures student
performance, gives options over failing schools, and ensures more resources
for schools. Critics state schools were not given the resources to help
meet new standards. Concerning health care plans some claim that they still
are not affordable for every American but Bush states his policies offered
more choice and help with the high costs of health care and prescription
June 7 , 2001 : Economic Recovery and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of
September 18 , 2001 : Authorization for Use of Military Force
September 28 , 2001 : United States-Jordan Free Trade Area Implementation
October 26 , 2001 : USA PATRIOT Act
November 28 , 2001 : Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act
January 8 , 2002 : No Child Left Behind Act
March 9 , 2002 : Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002
March 27 , 2002 : Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002
May 13 , 2002 : Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002
July 30 , 2002 : Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
October 16 , 2002 : Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States
Armed Forces Against Iraq
November 25 , 2002 : Homeland Security Act of 2002
March 11 , 2003 : Do-Not-Call Implementation Act
April 30 , 2003 : PROTECT Act of 2003 
May 27 , 2003 : United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis
and Malaria Act of 2003
May 28 , 2003 : Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003
September 3 , 2003 : United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation
September 3 , 2003 : United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Implementation
November 5 , 2003 : Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003
December 8 , 2003 : Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization
Act of 2003
December 16 , 2003 : Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography
and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM)
April 1, 2004: Unborn Victims of Violence Act (Laci and Conner's Law)
February 18, 2005: Class Action Fairness Act of 2005
April 20, 2005: Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005
August 2, 2005: Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade
August 8, 2005: Energy Policy Act of 2005
August 10, 2005: Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation
Equity Act of 2005 (SAFETEA)