The 43rd President of the United States of America, George Walker Bush (known colloquially as "W" to distinguish himself from his father, George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the U.S.), was born two days after the national holiday of the Fourth of July, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut where his father was attending Yale College in the Class of 1949. His mother was the former Barbara Pierce, whom his father had married on January 6, 1945. "W" was their first child named after his father. Bush disliked being called "Junior" or Bush II, or even having the term "Jr." abbreviated next to his name.
Initially, W's prospects of living up to his illustrious pedigree were dim. Possibly hobbled by dyslexia (a condition little understood and seldom treated during his childhood), Bush proved an uninspired student in high school. He did maintain a gentlemanly "C+" average at Yale and acquired a Masters of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School, but until he turned 40, he seemed to be floundering. He admittedly had a drinking problem in his youth, but a late marriage to Laura Welch helped stabilize him. His rebirth as a believing Christian (he is a Methodist whereas his parents were Episcopalian) in 1986 helped put him on the straight and narrow path that led him to the Presidency.
Bush has been discounted many times in his life and career for being wooden and unintelligent due to his fractured speaking style, but in fact, his academic performance was on par if not slightly better than that of his better-spoken, fellow Yalie John Kerry. As Bush's test scores and subsequent achievements suggest an above average intelligence, it is appropriate to believe that he likely has benefited from other's underestimation of his gifts. This was apparent in the first televised debate with Al Gore in 2000, when Bush held his own against the condescending vice president, and in doing so, triumphed in the eyes of the political handicappers.
After W. turned his life around in the late 1980s, he began achieving success on his own, though that success inevitably was indebted to his social position and his father's business and political connections, particularly after he himself ascended to the Presidency after the expiration of Ronald Reagan's second term. The first President Bush (Bush 41, as he is colloquially known) had great connections in the Middle East, particularly with the Saudi royal family and the powerful Bin Laden clan. Using his father's Saudi connections, Bush Jr. became a millionaire twice over through Middle Eastern oil projects. His most notable achievement in private life was in becoming president and chief operating partner of the Texas Rangers professional baseball team, which was financially invigorated by the building of a new stadium with taxpayers' funds. For a man whose greatest ambition was not the presidency but to be baseball commissioner, the "job" of Rangers owner suited him just fine, and his stint as the amiable owner of the team helped generate good publicity that wiped out his past image as a playboy. When he cashed out his ownership stake, Bush had a $14 million profit. More importantly, ownership of the Rangers positioned him financially and in the public eye for a successful run for the governorship of Texas, which proved to be his springboard to the presidency.
Under the quirky Texas constitution, the governor of Texas is primarily a ceremonial position, somewhat akin to that of the president in a Parliamentary system. The true political power in Texas lies with the lieutenant governor, who acts as a prime minister (or provincial premier in Canada) in that that he/she runs the legislature. In a life characterized by luck, the capricious Bush was luckier still in that he was told by the lieutenant governor, a Democrat, that he would make Bush a great governor if he would let him. Bush did and established an enviable reputation, one that crossed both party lines in Texas, where it would have been futile for the governor to act in a partisan fashion.
With his father's Eastern Establishment credentials that linked him to the "Rockefeller Republicans" (conservative on financial matters, liberal on social issues) and his mother's own noted social liberalism, Bush was seen as being a moderate with a difference. That difference was his connections to the powerful evangelical Christian wing of the Republican Party, due to his own rebirth as a believing Christian and his immersion in day-to-day Texas politics. In the Sun Belt, fundamentalists and evangelicals were considered ordinary, run-of-the-day folk, not the exotics that Washington and the Eastern Establishment looked at them as.
With a foot in both wings of the party, Bush was seen as a natural candidate for president after Bob Dole's dolorous 1996 candidacy. That he was a "straight shooter" with no scandal attached to him since his misbegotten youth (which he had confessed to and had put behind him) made him attractive to the Republicans, who had tried to terminate William Jefferson Clinton's presidency through impeachment due to his lies linked to his "bimbo eruptions." Bush seemed like a "Man for All Seasons" that would be the GOP's best shot of unseating the Clintonistas as represented by Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election.
With the Republican Establishment firmly behind him as a kind of "Great White Hope" of the Grand Old Party, Bush managed to wrap up the nomination easily, after stumbling initially when confronted with the candidacy of the renegade Republican senator from Arizona, John McCain. Although viewed by most Republicans as a RINO (Republican in name only), McCain dominated the early primaries in states that allowed cross over voting by attracting middle-of-the-road independents and conservative Democrats, but stumbled himself when the primary season headed South. He was badly defeated by Bush in South Carolina, a deeply conservative state that had voted for favorite son (and segregationist) Strom Thurmond in 1948, uber-conservative Barry Goldwater in 1964, and segregationist George Wallace in 1968. McCain also was victimized by smear tactics, such as the whispering campaign started by Mississippi Senator Trent Lott that claimed the renegade McCain had been mentally discombobulated by his seven years as a POW in Vietnam. The dirty tricks used against McCain by Bush campaign manager/major domo Karl Rove would prove to be harbingers of the paranoid style of politics that would come to fruition during Bush's first term.)
McCain, a maverick senator with the support of many moderate Republicans and Independents as well as a following among conservative Democrats, was not only smeared, but his attempts to get on the ballot in such states as New York were stymied until the federal courts stepped in. (In 2004, even though he endorsed Bush against Kerry, McCain found himself smeared again by elements connected with Karl Rove when he defended Kerry's war record and patriotism.) The Republican Establishment were determined to give the nomination to a true blue Republican who could win (the color red was not associated with the GOP until Election Night 2000, when it was used as the map color for the Party after a century wherein the Republicans were blue and the Democrats red). After his defeat of McCain in South Carolina, Bush had as easy a time wrapping up the nomination as if he had been an incumbent.
At the beginning of the fall campaign, what with the U.S. still enjoying the tail end of almost eight years of prosperity under President Bill Clinton, his vice president, Al Gore, started out as a prohibitive favorite to win the presidency. Gore, whoever, turned out to be unable to shed his past reputation as an uninspiring campaigner, and failed to fire up the uncommitted. Bush, on the other hand, a relative unknown commodity who had enjoyed good press for the past decade as a baseball owner and governor, did not make many errors after appearing at Bob Jones University several weeks after it had banned interracial dating during the early Republican primaries (for which he apologized). He capitalized on the low expectations others had for him, and won respect - and votes - for going the distance without stumbling or embarrassing himself, while Gore had to live down the bimbo eruptions of his past running mate and his own faux pas, such as his claim to have invented the "Information Superhighway" (Internet). His stiff, "Wooden Indian" style came off as pompous on the campaign trail, giving Bush's persona a boost as it could have been portrayed as bumbling if he had been up against a natural born campaigner such as Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan.
In the game of politics as played in the US, Gore had everything to lose and Bush had everything to gain. Gore had to rise and exceed expectations while Bush merely had to live up to lowered expectations to rise above them and gain credence, and he did, beginning with the first debate. Going into the first debate, pundits expected the better-spoken Gore to eviscerate the syntactically challenged Bush (whose intelligence they disparaged), but it did not happen. Gore was haughty, and since Bush held his own, the governor of Texas was adjudged the winner. From there to the end of the campaign, Gore could never consolidate his early lead, which slipped away.
On election day, Bush and Gore were locked in a dead heat. In the closest election in a century, it all came down to a matter of 537 votes in Florida. Out of the nearly six million votes cast in the Sunshine State (5,861,785 total, only 36,742 of which were won by third party candidates), Bush won by a margin representing 0.0087%. That's less than nine one-thousandths of a percentage point.
After a long drawn-out process involving recounts and court challenges, Bush took the oath of office on January 20, 2001 and won re-election in November 2004 to become the first son of a president to win two terms in office.
|Laura Bush||(5 November 1977 - present) 2 daughters|
Elected to two terms as Texas Governor.
Served in the Texas Air National Guard.
Arrested in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol, in Kennebunkport, Maine. Pled guilty, paid fine, and had driver's license suspended for 30 days.
He began his career in the oil and gas business in Midland, Texas in 1975 and worked in the energy industry until 1986.
He was the managing general partner of the Texas Rangers baseball team from 1989-1994.
Graduated from Yale University with a degree in history, and then earned an MBA from Harvard University.
Only the second President in history to be the son of a former President.
Named Time magazine's "Person of the Year 2000" on 18 December 2000.
Collects autographed baseballs and owns over 250.
Daughter Barbara Bush is attending Yale University, her father's alma mater. [Fall 2000]
Arrested twice for college pranks (charges dropped) for celebrating a Yale football victory by pulling up Princeton goal posts and for "borrowing" a large Christmas wreath from a store door (source: Washington Post).
Is the only U.S. president ever to father twins.
His twin daughters have been in trouble with the law in recent months. In October 2000, Barbara Bush tried to use a fake ID to buy alcohol at a bar in New Haven, CT, but was not served and was not arrested. In February 2001, Jenna Bush sent her Secret Service agents to bail her friend out of jail after he had been arrested for underage drinking. In April 2001, Barbara gave her Secret Service agents the slip while on her way to a WWF match in NYC. Also in April 2001, Jenna was cited for underage drinking at an Austin bar and pleaded no contest to the charges. She paid $51.25 in court costs, performed eight hours of community service doing clerical and research work at the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, and attended eight hours of alcohol awareness classes. In May 2001 both Barbara and Jenna were cited for alcohol offenses. Barbara pleaded no contest to being a minor in possession of alcohol and was sentenced to probation, eight hours of community service, alcohol awareness classes, and a $100 fine. Jenna pleaded innocent to trying to buy alcohol with a fake ID and will be tried in Austin on July 31, 2001. [June 2001]
Named one of People Magazine's "25 Most Intriguing People of 2001."
Is the first US president to hold an MBA.
His 1500-acre Crawford, TX, ranch is named Prairie Chapel.
Is the cousin of Billy Bush.
Has his look-alike puppet in the French show "Les guignols de l'info" (1988).
His succession to the Presidency was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, after a month-long battle over who actually won the election.
Lost the popular vote, just like John Quincy Adams, the first president to be the son of a former president. However, Adams did not win the electoral college; that election was decided by Congress. Bush was able to win the electoral college.
Recognized as President-elect of the United States on December 13, 2000, following a concession of Vice President Al Gore, ending over a month of controversy over the result of the election.
He played baseball and was a cheerleader at Phillips Academy at Andover. One of his classmates was Dick Wolf.
Enjoys playing golf.
He, his father, and grandfather, all hold membership in Yale University's Skull and Bones.
9th cousin twice removed of John Kerry, his rival in the 2004 election. Both are descended from Edmund Reade (1563-1623).
His SAT score was 1206 (566 verbal, 640 math).
His cumulative undergraduate GPA at Yale was 2.35.
Was the first president in over a decade to win the majority of the popular vote (51%). The last Presidential nominee to do so was his father, George Bush.
Is the first father or son of a president to serve two terms. John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and his own father, George Bush, all lost their bids for re-election.
Since 1932, the fate of the incumbent party has always paralleled the outcome of the final pre-election football game played by the Washington Redskins. In 2004, he became the first presidential candidate to break that pattern, by winning a second term as president despite a Redskins loss.
Was re-elected as President of the United States on Tuesday, November 2, 2004, receiving 59,459,765 votes (51% of the popular vote) and 286 electoral votes to Democratic challenger John Kerry's 55,949,407 votes (48% of the popular vote) and 252 electoral votes. Headed a Republican Party that controlled the White House, Senate and Congress, and also has a majority (28 of 49, with one to-be-announced) of Governors in the U.S. until the 2006 mid-term congressional elections, at which time the Republican party lost control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Brother of Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida.
Named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2004.
Is the first U.S. President to receive an acting nomination and then subsequently the win, from the Razzie Awards. He was nominated for and won Worst Actor in the film Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004). Though technically he was not acting in the film, merely playing himself via archive footage.
He is the first president whose actions have prompted the release of a major motion picture (Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)), the launch of an entire radio network (Air America Radio), and the premiere of a television series (Sundance Channel's "The Al Franken Show" (2004)).
Unlike his father, he has no sons to pass on the name of George Bush. Instead, he has a nephew named George P. Bush, who is the son of his brother Jeb Bush.
His favorite movie is Saving Private Ryan (1998).
Is a member of the Phi chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity from his days at Yale.
A statement Bush made in January 2001 referred to the "operating location near Groom Lake", which is the first official recognition of the existence of Area 51.
Is the only U.S. President to date to have multiple African-American cabinet members.
In the late 1960s attended Yale University along with future Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau and both served on the same dormitory social committee together.
Is the only serving U.S. President to never have been portrayed on "The Simpsons" (1989). The only exception was when Homer Simpson used a crude cut-out of him to fool his father, ex-President George Bush, in episode "The Simpsons: Two Bad Neighbors (#7.13)" (1996). At the time, he was the Governor of Texas.
Has been portrayed by Brent Mendenhall, Timothy Bottoms, Darrell Hammond, Will Ferrell, Chris Parnell, Will Forte, Christian Duguay, Will Sasso, Frank Caliendo, Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, James Adomian, Steve Bridges, Roger Abbott, Elon Gold, Jon Culshaw and many others.
Is the only US President to visit the Olympic games outside the United States while in office. He went to the 2008 Games in Beijing, China.
Went to Yale University with Lanny Davis. They were close friends and fraternity brothers.
The first President in 112 years to win the Electoral College and lose the popular vote.
Was an F-102 pilot with the Air National Guard.
Quit smoking cigarettes in the 1980s, but continues to smoke occasional cigars.
Had both the highest and lowest approval ratings of any president according to Gallup polls. Bush enjoyed a 90 percent approval rating following the 9/11 attacks, but by the end of his presidency his approval ratings were around 25 percent in late 2008 as his presidency was nearing its end.
[Lacrosse, WI, Oct. 18, 2000] Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.
[Greensboro, NC, Oct. 10, 2000] Our priorities is our faith.
[St. Louis, MO, Oct. 18, 2000] If affirmative action means what I just described, what I'm for, then I'm for it.
Quotas are bad for America. It's not the way America is all about.
Mr. Vice President, in all due respect, it is - I'm not sure 80 percent of the people get the death tax. I know this: 100 percent will get it if I'm the president.
I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun.
It's one thing about insurance, that's a Washington term.
Drug therapies are replacing a lot of medicines as we used to know it.
If I'm the president, we're going to have emergency-room care, we're going to have gag orders.
The very act of spending money can be expensive.
I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe - I believe what I believe is right.
Actually, I--this may sound a little West Texan to you, but I like it. When I'm talking about--when I'm talking about myself, and when he's talking about myself, all of us are talking about me.
More and more of our imports come from overseas.
The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants.
This administration is doing everything we can to end the stalemate in an efficient way. We're making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end.
It's your money. You paid for it.
I think if you know what you believe, it makes it a lot easier to answer questions; I can't answer your question.
I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.
One of the common denominators I have found is that expectations rise above that which is expected.
[To rescue workers at the World Trade Center, New York, September 14, 2001] I can hear you! I hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked down these buildings will hear all of us soon!
The United States has no truer friend than Great Britain.
America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
[During a televised address on the night of September 11, 2001] We will prevail.
I hope I stand for anti-bigotry, anti-Semitism, anti-racism. This is what drives me.
[June 14, 2001, speaking to Swedish Prime Minister Lars Göran Persson, unaware that a live TV camera was running] It's amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity, and incumbency.
Is our children learning?
The presidency is more than an honor, it is more than an office, it is a charge to keep and I will give it my all.
I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation.
I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent in waging the struggle for freedom and security for the American people.
Our priorities are our faith. Our priorities are our family. Our priority is a country we love dearly called America.
[on his hopes for Saddam Hussein's interrogation] He's a deceiver, he's a liar, he's a torturer, he's a murderer. I can't imagine why he would change his attitude, since he'll be treated humanely by US troops. And, you know, I would be very skeptical of anything he said one way or the other.
[on the fate of Saddam Hussein after trial] I've got my own personal views. This is a brutal dictator. He's a person who killed a lot of people. But my personal views are not important in this matter. It's going to be up to the Iraqis to make those decisions.
[on his hopes for Saddam Hussein's interrogation] I don't believe he'll tell the truth. He didn't tell the truth for over a decade. I just can't believe he's going to change his ways now just because he happens to be captured.
[Announcing his run for re-election] I have come to realize this job is a magnificent job.
[on Saddam Hussein's fate] This is a disgusting tyrant who deserves justice, the ultimate justice.
[State of the Union address, Jan. 28, 2003] Freedom is not America's gift to the world. It is God's gift to humanity.
[October 2002] If we know Saddam has WMDs - and we do - does it make sense for the world to wait to confront him?
We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease, and it suffers from poverty as well.
This is still a dangerous world. It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mental losses.
[Discussing the website GWbush.com, which parodies him] There ought to be limits to freedom. We're aware of this site, and this guy is just a garbage man, that's all he is.
[Regarding 9/11, from the 2004 State of the Union address] In grief, we found the grace to go on.
[During an interview about the recent death of Ronald Reagan, former US President and former Governor of California] . . . of course I think he was underestimated. People, mostly people on the East Coast, were saying that an actor couldn't be President. But what they were forgetting was that he was the governor of the largest state in the Union.
Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long.
I don't think I was clinically an alcoholic; I didn't have the genuine addiction. I don't know why I drank. I liked to drink, I guess.
In the corporate world, sometimes things aren't exactly black and white when it comes to accounting procedures.
My job is to lead.
My job is to, like, think beyond the immediate.
My views are one that speaks to freedom.
The signal we ought to send to our children is that in spite of what happened in the '60s and '70s, we have learned some lessons. And the lessons ought to be: don't be using drugs and alcohol.
Tribal sovereignty means that, it's sovereign. You're a -- you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity. And, therefore, the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities.
Uh, I never ran for governor of Texas to be president. It didn't enter my mind when I was 21. It didn't enter my mind when I was 31 or 41. Truthfully. I mean, I didn't conduct my life to try to figure out how to be president. And so when all this speculation started, it caught me, and my mother, totally by surprise. But I am interested. I'm interested because, um, I'm concerned about the future of our country. That's why I'm interested.
We've been attacked for where I was born, for who my family is, and where my money has come from. I don't think that's fair.
[March 11, 2004] Human life is a creation of God, not a commodity to be exploited by man.
[September 20, 2001] I will not forget the wound to our country and those who inflicted it. I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.
We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. And the job is this: We'll help the Iraqis develop a democracy.
[Washington, DC, May 17, 2007] We understand the fright that can come when you're worried about a rocket landing on top of your home.
[on British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Washington, D.C., May 17, 2007] My relationship with this good man is where I've been focused, and that's where my concentration is. And I don't regret any other aspect of it. And so I--we filled a lot of space together.
Washington, DC, May 2, 2007] The question is, who ought to make that decision? The Congress or the commanders? And as you know, my position is clear--I'm a commander guy.
[on benefits provided to military personnel, Tipp City, OH, April 19, 2007] One of my concerns is that the health care not be as good as it can possibly be.
[Discussing the continuing need for heightened airline security, Washington, DC, April 3, 2007] That's why we are inconveniencing air traffickers, to make sure nobody is carrying weapons on airplanes.
[Washington, DC, April 3, 2007] Iraq is a very important part of securing the homeland, and it's a very important part of helping change the Middle East into a part of the world that will not serve as a threat to the civilized world, to people like-or to the developed world, to people like-in the United States.
[on comparisons between the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, Tipp City, OH, April 19, 2007] There are some similarities, of course-death is terrible.
[Tipp City, OH, April 19, 2007] My job is a job to make decisions. I'm a decision- if the job description were, what do you do-it's decision maker.
[Washington, DC, May 2, 2007] Information is moving-you know, nightly news is one way, of course, but it's also moving through the blogosphere and through the Internets.
[Tipp City, OH, April 19, 2007] And everybody wants to be loved-not everybody, but-you run for office, I guess you do. You never heard anybody say, 'I want to be despised, I'm running for office.'
[September 20, 2001 - Speech to joint session of Congress]: Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice *will* be done.
[to a reporter who asked him, after the Lewis 'Scooter' Libby trial was over, to talk about the Valerie Plame Wilson leak case--Plame was an undercover CIA officer whose identity was leaked by Bush administration sources--which he promised he would do after the trial was over] It's run its course. Now we're going to move on. Next question.
I do tears. I've got God's shoulder to cry on. And I cry a lot. I do a lot of crying in this job. I'll bet I've shed more tears than you can count, as president. I'll shed some tomorrow.
Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
[December 5, 2005 - on Julie Harris, just 3 days after she celebrated her 80th birthday]: It's hard to imagine the American stage without the face, the voice, and the limitless talent of Julie Harris. She has found happiness in her life's work, and we thank her for sharing that happiness with the whole world.
I truly believe that the decisions I made will make the world a better place. Unfortunately, if you're doing big things, most of the time you're never going to be around to see them. And I fully understand that. If you aim for big change, you shouldn't expect to be rewarded by short-term history.
[from his address to the nation, September 11, 2001] Tonight I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: 'Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me'. This is a day when all Americans, from every walk of life, unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do it this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
[dedicating a new American embassy in China, 2008] Its quite an honor, to be introduced by your dad. This has got to be a historic moment, father and son, two presidents, opening up an embassy. I suspect it's the first, although I must confess I haven't done a lot of research in the itinerary of the Adams boys.
[on modeling his own retirement on this father's] I watched him carefully and how he moved on with his life. He didn't linger. He didn't have a sense of needing to hang on to the presidency. I learned from him that when it's over, its over. One you're off the stage, you're off the stage.
[on the reasons for the invasion of Iraq] Nobody was lying. The reality was that I had sent American troops into combat based in large part on intelligence that proved false. No one was more shocked or angry than I was when we didn't find the weapons. I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it. I still do.
[justifying a preemptory attack on Iraq] Fearing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof - the smoking gun - that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.
(November 2004) 43rd President of the United States.
(February 2010) Resides outside Dallas, Texas in semi-retirement; makes public appearances as a motivational speaker.
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