George W. Bush

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Portrait, George Walker Bush George Walker Bush

43rd President of the United States
(January 20, 2001 to January 20, 2009)

Nicknames: “W”

Born: July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut

Father: tiny U.S. flag George Herbert Walker Bush [Ran as the Republican candidate in the 1988 presidential elections and won. However, he lost the 1992 race to tiny U.S. flag Bill Clinton.]
Mother: Barbara Pierce Bush
Married: Laura Welch Bush (1946- ), on November 5, 1977
Children: Barbara Pierce Bush (1981- ), Jenna Welch Bush (1981- )

Religion: Methodist
Education: Graduated from Yale University (1968); Graduated from Harvard Business School (1975)
Occupation: Businessman
Political Party: Republican
Other Government Positions:

  • Governor of Texas, 1995-2000

Presidential Salary: $400,000/year + $50,000 expense account

Only the second time the son of a US president also won the presidency himself (tiny U.S. flag John Quincy Adams was the first), George W. Bush’s tenure in the office was marked by some of the most significant events in recent American history. 

Coming to the White House on a platform dubbed “compassionate conservatism”, Bush inherited a treasury in surplus. The divisive 2000 election notwithstanding, the country looked to be in a relatively comfortable and prosperous position. Tax cuts and reform in various fields such as healthcare, education and social security were promised. 

However, less than a year into his tenure, the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center took place – arguably, the single most impactful event in recent history. They made Bush a wartime president as the US launched its War on Terror with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, two of the longest-raging conflicts the country was a combatant in. The Patriot Act was passed, the Department of Homeland Security was created, and the US stepped up its surveillance and intelligence gathering activities at home and abroad.

Meanwhile, domestic policy was proving to be a field of deep division. Legislation on issues such as abortion, environmental regulations and stem cell research drew much attention and criticism from different sections of the political spectrum. The President’s attempts to pursue social security reform did not yield results. On the other hand, certain policies did receive bipartisan support, such as the No Child Left Behind Act. 

The high approval ratings Bush had received during his first term, expressing appreciation of the administration’s handling of a post-9/11 world, began to take a dive shortly into his second, beginning with the response to Hurricane Katrina. They continued to dip as the Iraq War drew out and thousands of American soldiers continued to die on foreign soil. The final year of his tenure was dominated by the Wall Street and banking crisis that triggered the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression (Great Recession). It took a federal bailout to prevent a complete collapse of the industry. The increased spending coupled with substantial tax cuts resulted in a  budget in deficit.

Presidential Election Results:
Year Popular Votes Electoral Votes
2000 George W. Bush 50,456,002 271
Albert Gore, Jr. 50,999,897 266
(Vote Not Cast) 1
2004 George W. Bush 62,040,003 286
John Kerry 59,027,335 251
John Edwards 1

Vice President: Richard B. Cheney (2001-09)

Cabinet:

Secretary of State
Colin Luther Powell (2001-05) [The first African-American to hold this position]
Condoleezza Rice (2005-09) [The first African-American woman to hold this position]
Secretary of the Treasury
Paul O’Neill (2001-02)
John W. Snow (2003-06)
Henry M. Paulson, Jr. (2006-09)
Secretary of Defense
Donald H. Rumsfeld (2001-06)
Robert M. Gates (2006-09)
Attorney General
John Ashcroft (2001-05)
Alberto Gonzales (2005-07)  [The first Hispanic American to serve in this position]
Michael Mukasey (2007-09)
Secretary of the Interior
Gale Norton (2001-06) [The first woman to hold this position]
Dirk Kempthorne (2006-09)
Secretary of Agriculture
Ann Veneman (2001-05) [The first woman to hold this position]
Mike Johanns (2005-07)
Ed Schafer (2008-09)
Secretary of Commerce
Donald Evans (2001-05)
Carlos Gutierrez (2005-09)
Secretary of Labor
Elaine Chao (2001-09) [The first female Asian American in the Cabinet]
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Tommy Thompson (2001-05)
Michael O. Leavitt (2005-09)
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Mel Martinez (2001-04)
Alphonso Jackson (2004-08)
Steve Preston (2008-09)
Secretary of Transportation
Norman Y. Mineta (2001-06) [The only Democratic Party member in the Bush cabinet]
Mary E. Peters (2006-09)
Secretary of Energy
Spencer Abraham (2001-05)
Samuel W. Bodman (2005-09)
Secretary of Education
Roderick R. Paige (2001-05) [The first African-American to hold this position]
Margaret Spellings (2005-09)
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Anthony Principi (2001-05)
R. James Nicholson (2005-07)
James B. Peake (2007-09)
Secretary of Homeland Security
Tom Ridge (2003-2005) [The first US Secretary of Homeland Security]
Michael Chertoff (2005-09)

Supreme Court Appointments:

Chief Justice
John G. Roberts, Jr. (2005- )
Associate Justice
Samuel A. Alito, Jr. (2006- )

Notable Events:

  • 2001
    • On October 7 the War in Afghanistan begins with the military operation “Operation Enduring Freedom”, launched by the United States with the United Kingdom in response to the September 11 attacks.
    • Enron files for bankruptcy, revealing one of the US’s biggest corporate scandals.
    • The US withdraws from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
  • 2002
    • The bipartisan education reform bill No Child Left Behind is signed into law.
    • Former president Jimmy Carter visits Cuba, marking the first such visit in 40 years. The trade embargo against Cuba, however, continues to remain in place.
    • The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty is signed between presidents Bush and Putin at the Kremlin.
    • President Bush calls for new Palestinian leadership to replace Yasser Arafat.
    • The President addresses Congress and then the UN Security Council, calling for support to attack Iraq. Congress authorizes use of force.
    • The Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is set up and begins to receive those suspected of being members of terror groups.
  • 2003
    • The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates while reentering the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all its crew members.
    • On March 20 the Iraq War (or the Second Persian Gulf War) begins with the invasion of Iraq by a multinational coalition of forces, led by the United States and the United Kingdom.
    • The President announces that the mission in Iraq has been accomplished. However, the search for weapons of mass destruction will continue.
    • President Bush holds a summit with Israel’s Ariel Sharon and Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas.
    • The Iraq Survey Group, a US Weapons Inspection team reveals that they did not find any WMD in Iraq.
    • Late term abortions are banned.
    • Saddam Hussein is captured in Tikrit.
  • 2004
    • Sectarian conflicts erupt in Iraq.
    • CBS reports on the torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad by the US Army during the early stages of the Iraq War.
    • The state of Massachusetts legalizes same-sex marriage. President Bush responds by requesting Congress to pass a constitutional amendment banning it.
    • The end of the occupation of Iraq is formally declared. However, US troops remain on the ground.
    • George W Bush is reelected.
  • 2005
    • Denuclearization of North Korea is discussed with President Roh Moo-hyun.
    • On August 28 Hurricane Katrina hits the southern coast of the United States, causing thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in damage.
    • The Saddam Hussein trial, charging him of crimes against humanity begins, held by the interim government.
  • 2006
    • President Bush announces that all US troops cannot be withdrawn from Iraq yet.
    • An outbreak of the H5N1 virus or the bird flu threatens to become a pandemic.
    • Approval is granted for the construction of a fence along the US-Mexico border.
    • Saddam Hussein’s trial ends in conviction and he is hanged to death.
  • 2007
    • The US begins conducting airstrikes against militant groups in Somalia.
    • The number of US troops in Iraq is increased.
    • A student, Seung-Hui Choi goes on a shooting spree on the campus of Virginia Tech.
    • The US Supreme Court agrees to hear the appeals of detainees at Guantanamo Bay who have been denied court access.
    • The Dow Jones climbs to an all-time high (at the time) before beginning a steep decline.
    • The Annapolis Conference takes place.
  • 2008
    • Six Guantanamo Bay detainees are charged on counts related to the 9/11 attacks.
    • The Democratic Party nominates the first African-American presidential candidate, Barack Obama.
    • The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence rules that the evidence cited by the administration to justify attacking Iraq had been greatly exaggerated.
    • The US Treasury takes control of mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to keep them and over half of all American mortgages from going bankrupt.
    • A Nuclear Cooperation Deal between India and the US is agreed to.
    • The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 is signed – the largest bailout in US history.
    • Barack Obama wins the 2008 presidential elections.
    • Interest rates plummet to 0%.
    • Auto giants Chrysler and General Motors are bailed out by the government.

Internet Biographies:

George W. Bush — from The Presidents of the United States of America
Compiled by the White House.
George W. Bush — from American Presidents: Life Portraits — C-SPAN
Biographical information, trivia, key events, video, and other reference materials. Website created to accompany C-SPAN’s 20th Anniversary Television Series, American Presidents: Life Portraits.
George W. Bush — from U.S. Presidents
From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
George W. Bush: Easy to underestimate — from USA Today
Some history of Bush and his stance on major campaign issues. Written by the Associated Press.
The Life of George W. Bush — from The Washington Post
Photo album of Bush’s life from childhood until he ran for president.

Historical Documents:

First Inaugural Address (2001)
Second Inaugural Address (2005)

Media Resources:

Audio & Video
The American Presidency Project site
Inaugural Address from CNN.com

Other Internet Resources:

Bush Presidency — from CBS News
An interactive overview of Bush’s first term in office, with timelines, photo essays, and summaries of important events for each year.
W. — from the Internet Movie Database
Synopsis, cast & crew information, pictures, and reviews for the 2008 biographical drama film chronicling the life of George W. Bush. Directed by Oliver Stone.

Points of Interest:

  • Bush was one of two managing general partners of the Texas Rangers baseball club from 1989-1994.
  • Of the 6 million votes cast in Florida in the 2000 election, Bush won the state’s 25 electoral votes by 537 votes.

FAQs:

  • Who ran against George W. Bush?

The Democratic candidate in the 2000 presidential elections was Al Gore, who had previously served as tiny U.S. flag Bill Clinton’s vice president. 

The race became a very close one in Florida, and the state’s electoral college votes were to decide who won the election. Bush was declared the winner by a very narrow margin, and the Democratic Party sued for a recount. The case went through multiple courts before ending up in the US Supreme Court which ruled in favor of halting the recount, essentially declaring George W Bush to be the winner.

In the 2004 presidential elections, Democratic candidate John Kerry ran against President Bush.

  • Who was George W Bush’s vice president?

George W Bush’s vice president was Richard Bruce Cheney, more commonly known as Dick Cheney. He had previously served as the Secretary of Defense in the senior tiny U.S. flag  Bush’s administration, and before that, as the White House chief of staff for President Ford from 1975 to 1977. Between these two bouts in the executive branch, Cheney had served as the US Representative for Wyoming from 1979 to 1989. 

He is often regarded as the most powerful vice-president in US history due to the key role he played in the government’s response to 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq.

Related Resources:


Previous President: tiny U.S. flag William Jefferson Clinton | Next President: tiny U.S. flag Barack Hussein Obama


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