Sunday, 29 July 2007
05:43:03 PM (GMT)
George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the forty-third and current President of
the United States of America. Originally inaugurated on January 20, 2001, Bush was
elected president in the 2000 presidential election and re-elected in the 2004
presidential election. He previously served as the forty-sixth Governor of Texas from
1995 to 2000, and is the eldest son of former United States president George H. W.
Following college, Bush worked in his family's oil businesses, and in 1978 made an
unsuccessful run for the U.S. House of Representatives. He later co-owned the Texas
Rangers baseball team before returning to politics in a campaign for Governor of
Texas. He defeated Ann Richards and was elected Governor of Texas in 1994. Bush won
the presidency in 2000 as the Republican candidate in a close and controversial
contest, in which he lost the nationwide popular vote, but won the electoral votes.
As president, Bush pushed through a $1.3 trillion tax cut program and the No Child
Left Behind Act. He has also pushed for socially conservative efforts such as the
Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and faith-based welfare initiatives. In October 2001,
after the attacks on September 11, 2001, Bush declared a global War on Terrorism and
ordered an invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban, destroy Al-Qaeda, and to
capture Osama bin Laden. In March 2003, Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, asserting
that Iraq was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and that the war
was necessary for the protection of the United States.
Running as a self-described "war president" in the midst of the Iraq War, Bush won
re-election in 2004; his presidential campaign against Senator John Kerry was
successful despite controversy over Bush's prosecution of the Iraq War and his
handling of the economy. After his re-election, Bush received increasingly
heated criticism. His domestic approval has declined from 90 percent (the highest
ever recorded by The Gallup Organization) immediately after the September 11, 2001
attacks to 26 percent (in a Newsweek poll taken in June 2007), the lowest level
for any sitting president in 35 years.
1 Childhood to mid-life
2 Elected positions
2.1 Governor of Texas
2.2 2000 Presidential candidacy
2.2.2 General election
2.3 2004 Presidential candidacy
3.1 Cabinet appointments
3.2 Domestic policy
3.2.1 Economic policy
3.2.2 Education and health
3.2.3 Social services and Social Security
3.2.4 Environmental policy and global warming
3.2.5 Stem cell research and first use of veto power
3.2.8 Hurricane Katrina
3.3 Foreign policy
3.3.1 September 11, 2001
3.3.2 War on Terror
3.3.5 North Korea
3.4 Assassination attempt
4 Criticism and public perception
4.1 Domestic perceptions
4.2 Foreign perceptions
5 See also
7 External links
Childhood to mid-life
Main articles: Early life of George W. Bush and Professional life of George W. Bush
Lt. George W. Bush while in the National Guard.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Bush was the first child of George H. W. Bush and
Barbara Bush. Bush was raised in Midland and Houston, Texas, with his four siblings,
Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. Another younger sister, Robin, died in 1953 at the
age of three from leukemia. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a U.S. Senator
from Connecticut, and his father served as U.S. President from 1989 to 1993.
Bush is sometimes referred to informally as George Bush Jr. in order to distinguish
him from his father. However, because the son's full name is not exactly the same as
his father's (the younger is George Walker Bush as opposed to the elder George
Herbert Walker Bush), the "Jr." is incorrect.
Bush attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts where he played baseball,
and was the head cheerleader at the all-boys school during his senior year.
Following in his father's footsteps, Bush attended Yale University, where he received
a Bachelor's degree in history in 1968. As a college senior, Bush became a member
of the secretive Skull and Bones society. By his own characterization, Bush was an
In May 1968, at the height of the ongoing Vietnam War, Bush was accepted into the
Texas Air National Guard despite  only scoring 25 percent on the written pilot's
aptitude test, which was the lowest acceptable passing grade. After training, he
was assigned to duty in Houston, flying Convair F-102s out of Ellington Air Force
Base. Critics have alleged that Bush was favorably treated during his time of
service due to his father's political standing and that he was irregular in
attendance. The United States Department of Defense has released all the records of
Bush's Texas Air National Guard service which it says remain in its official
archives.  Bush took a transfer to the Alabama Air National Guard in 1972 to work
on a Republican senate campaign, and in October 1973 he was discharged for the Texas
Air National Guard almost eight months early to attend Harvard Business School and
completed his six-year service obligation in the inactive reserve.
There are a number of accounts of substance abuse and otherwise disorderly conduct by
Bush from this time. Bush has admitted to drinking "too much" in those years and
described this period of his life as his "nomadic" period of "irresponsible
youth". On September 4, 1976, at the age of 30, Bush was arrested for driving
under the influence of alcohol near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
He pleaded guilty, was fined $150, and had his driver's license suspended until 1978
After obtaining an MBA from Harvard University, Bush entered the oil industry in
Texas. In 1977, he was introduced by friends to Laura Welch, a schoolteacher and
librarian. They married and settled in Midland, Texas. Bush left his family's
Episcopal Church to join his wife's United Methodist Church.
In 1978, Bush ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 19th Congressional
District of Texas. His opponent Kent Hance portrayed Bush as being out of touch with
rural Texans; Bush lost by 6,000 votes. Bush returned to the oil industry,
becoming a senior partner or chief executive officer of several ventures, such as
Arbusto Energy, Spectrum 7, and, later, Harken Energy. These ventures
suffered from the general decline of oil prices in the 1980s that had affected the
industry and the regional economy. Additionally, questions of possible insider
trading involving Harken have arisen, though the Securities and Exchange Commission's
(SEC) investigation of Bush concluded that he did not have enough insider information
before his stock sale to warrant a case.
Bush moved with his family to Washington, D.C. in 1988, to work on his father's
campaign for the U.S. presidency.
Returning to Texas, Bush purchased a share in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in
April 1989, where he served as managing general partner for five years. Bush
presided over the trading away of Sammy Sosa, who would go on to be a popular and
prodigious home run hitter for the Chicago Cubs. Bush 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 share in the Rangers brought him over $15 million
from his initial $800,000 investment.
Bush is often referred to by the nickname "Dubya", playing on his Southern
pronunciation of the letter W, his middle initial, and distinguishing him from his
father George Bush. Since his election to the presidency, commentators often refer to
him as "Bush 43" (the 43rd President of the United States) and his father as "Bush
Governor of Texas
Main article: George W. Bush as Governor of Texas
Bush declared his candidacy for the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election as his brother,
Jeb, sought the governorship of Florida. Winning the Republican primary easily, Bush
faced incumbent Governor Ann Richards, a popular Democrat who was considered the
Bush was aided by several political advisers, including Karen Hughes, John Allbaugh,
and Karl Rove. The Bush campaign was criticized for allegedly using controversial
methods to disparage Richards. Following an impressive performance in the debates,
however, Bush's popularity grew. He won with 52 percent against Richards' 47
As governor, Bush successfully sponsored legislation for tort reform, increased
education funding, set higher standards for schools, and reformed the criminal
justice system. Under his leadership, Texas executed a record 152 prisoners. Bush
used a budget surplus to push through a $2 billion tax-cut plan, the largest in Texas
history, which cemented Bush's credentials as a pro-business fiscal
Bush also pioneered faith-based welfare programs by extending government funding and
support for religious organizations that provide social services such as education,
alcohol and drug abuse prevention, and reduction of domestic violence. He proclaimed
June 10 to be Jesus Day in Texas, a day where he "urge[d] all Texans to answer the
call to serve those in need."
In 1998, Bush won re-election in a landslide victory with nearly 69 percent of the
vote. Within a year, he had decided to seek the Republican nomination for the
2000 Presidential candidacy
Main article: United States presidential election, 2000
Bush's campaign was managed by Rove, Hughes and Albaugh, as well as by other
political associates from Texas. He was endorsed by a majority of Republicans in 38
state legislatures. After winning the Iowa caucus, Bush lost to U.S. Senator John
McCain of Arizona in the New Hampshire primary. Bush then picked up eleven of the
next sixteen primaries, effectively clinching the Republican nomination.
In the televised Republican presidential debate held in Des Moines, Iowa on December
13, 1999, all of the participating candidates were asked "What political philosopher
or thinker do you most identify with and why?" Unlike most of the other candidates,
who cited former presidents and other political figures, Bush responded, "Christ,
because he changed my heart". Bush's appeal to religious values seems to have aided
him in the general election. In a Gallup poll those who said they "attend church
weekly" gave him 56% of their vote in 2000, and 63% of their vote in 2004. During
the election cycle, Bush labeled himself a "compassionate conservative", and his
political campaign promised to "restore honor and dignity to the White House," a
reference to the many scandals and impeachment of his predecessor.
On July 25th, 2000, Bush surprised some observers by asking Halliburton Corporation
chief executive officer Dick Cheney, a former White House Chief of Staff, U.S.
Representative and Secretary of Defense, to be his Vice Presidential running mate.
Cheney was then serving as head of Bush's Vice-Presidential search committee.
Halliburton had reportedly reached agreement on July 20th to allow Cheney to retire
from the company, with a package estimated at $20 million.
While stressing his successful record as governor of Texas, Bush's campaign
criticized the Democratic nominee, incumbent Vice President Al Gore, over gun
control, the Kyoto Protocol, and taxation.
On election day, November 7, 2000, Bush won several key states, including Gore's home
state of Tennessee and outgoing President Bill Clinton's state of Arkansas. Based on
exit polling, and before the polls in the panhandle had closed, television networks
initially called the state of Florida for Gore, then withdrew that projection and
later called the state, along with the entire election, for Bush. Some time after
some networks reported that Bush had won Florida, Gore conceded the election, and
then rescinded that concession less than one hour later, when it was declared that
the results were too close to call. The vote count, which favored Bush, was contested
over confusions over the butterfly ballot and allegations of irregularities in the
voting and tabulation processes. Because of Florida state law, a state-wide machine
recount was ordered, which Bush won.
Eventually, four (primarily Democratic) counties in Florida which had large numbers
of presidential under-votes (ballots with no successful selections) began a manual
hand recount of ballots. This triggered equal protection lawsuits and weeks of legal
wrangling. On December 8, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that every county with a
large number of under-votes would perform a hand recount. On December 9, in the Bush
v. Gore case, the U.S. Supreme Court, with a 5–4 vote, reversed the Florida Supreme
Court ruling and stopped the statewide hand recount. A 7–2 consensus developed on
the court that Florida could not impose different rules in those counties and not on
others, but the dissenting justices did not agree with declaring the state for Bush
without further deliberations in Florida. The machine recount stated that Bush had
won the Florida vote by a margin of 537 votes out of 6 million cast.
Bush received 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266 as a result of the Florida outcome.
However, he lost the popular vote by more than half a million votes  making him
the first president elected without at least a plurality of the popular vote since
Benjamin Harrison in 1888.
2004 Presidential candidacy
Main article: United States presidential election, 2004
Bush sworn into his second term on January 20, 2005 by Chief Justice William
Rehnquist, watched on by First Lady Laura Bush and their daughters Barbara and Jenna
Bush, as well as the then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Speaker of the House
Bush commanded broad support in the Republican Party and did not encounter a primary
challenge. He appointed Kenneth Mehlman as campaign manager, with a political
strategy devised by Rove. Bush outlined an agenda that included a strong
commitment to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act,
making earlier tax cuts permanent, cutting the budget deficit in half, promoting
education, as well as reform in tort law, reforming Social Security, and creation of
an ownership society.
The Bush campaign advertised across the U.S. against Democratic candidates, including
Bush's emerging opponent, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Kerry and other Democrats
attacked Bush on the war in Iraq, perceived excesses of the USA PATRIOT Act and for
allegedly failing to stimulate the economy and job growth.The Bush campaign portrayed
Kerry as a staunch liberal who would raise taxes and increase the size of government.
The Bush campaign continuously criticized Kerry's seemingly contradictory statements
on the war in Iraq, and claimed Kerry lacked the decisiveness and vision necessary
for success in the war on terrorism. Bush carried 31 of 50 states for a total of 286
Electoral College votes.
Bush won an outright majority of the popular vote, the first president to do so since
his father in 1988. In addition, Bush's re-election occurring along with the
Republican Party maintaining its majorities in both houses of Congress was the first
time this instance occurred since Calvin Coolidge's election in 1924.
Main articles: George W. Bush's first term as President of the United States and
George W. Bush's second term as President of the United States
Main article: George W. Bush Cabinet
The Bush Cabinet
OFFICE NAME TERM
President George Bush 2001?–?
Vice President Dick Cheney 2001?–?
Secretary of State Colin Powell 2001?–?2005
Condoleezza Rice 2005?–?
Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill 2001?–?2002
John W. Snow 2003?–?2006
Henry Paulson 2006?–?
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld 2001?–?2006
Robert Gates 2006?–?
Attorney General John Ashcroft 2001?–?2005
Alberto Gonzales 2005?–?
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton 2001?–?2006
Dirk Kempthorne 2006?–?
Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman 2001?–?2005
Mike Johanns 2005?–?
Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans 2001?–?2005
Carlos Gutierrez 2005?–?
Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao 2001?–?
Secretary of Health and
Human Services Tommy Thompson 2001?–?2005
Michael Leavitt 2005?–?
Secretary of Education Rod Paige 2001?–?2005
Margaret Spellings 2005?–?
Secretary of Housing and
Urban Development Mel Martinez 2001?–?2003
Alphonso Jackson 2003?–?
Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta 2001?–?2006
Mary Peters 2006?–?
Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham 2001?–?2005
Samuel Bodman 2005?–?
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi 2001?–?2005
Jim Nicholson 2005?–?
Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge 2003?–?2005
Michael Chertoff 2005?–?
Chief of Staff Andrew Card 2001?–?2006
Joshua Bolten 2006?–?
Administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency Christine Todd Whitman 2001?–?2003
Michael Leavitt 2003?–?2005
Stephen L. Johnson 2005?–?
Director of the Office of
Management and Budget Mitch Daniels 2001?–?2003
Joshua Bolten 2003?–?2006
Rob Portman 2006?–?
Director of the Office of
National Drug Control Policy John Walters 2001?–?
United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick 2001?–?2005
Rob Portman 2005?–?2006
Susan Schwab 2006?–?
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice 2001?–?2005
Stephen Hadley 2005?–?
Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard B. Myers 2001?–?2005
Gen. Peter Pace 2005?–?2007
Adm. Michael Mullen 2007?–?
Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte 2005?–?2007
John Michael McConnell 2007?–?
Director of the
Central Intelligence Agency Porter J. Goss 2004?–?2006
Gen. Michael V. Hayden 2006?–?
Director of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation Robert S. Mueller III 2001?–?
Main article: Domestic policy of the George W. Bush administration
Main article: Economic policy of the George W. Bush administration
Facing opposition in Congress, Bush held town hall-style public meetings across the
U.S. in 2001 to increase public support for his plan for a $1.35 trillion tax cut
program—one of the largest tax cuts in U.S. history. Bush and his economic advisers
argued that unspent government funds should be returned to taxpayers. With reports of
the threat of recession from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Bush argued
that such a tax cut would stimulate the economy and create jobs. Others,
including the Treasury Secretary at the time Paul O'Neill, were opposed to some of
the tax cuts on the basis that they would contribute to budget deficits and undermine
Under the Bush Administration, Real GDP has grown at an average annual rate of
2.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has grown by about 30% since January 2001
and has set several record highs. Unemployment rose from 4.2% in January 2001 to
6.3% in June 2003, dropping to its current rate of 4.5%. The on-budget deficit
for 2006 was $434 billion, a change from an $86 billion surplus in 2000.
Inflation-adjusted median household income has been flat while the nation's poverty
rate has increased.
Some argue that the economy is only benefiting the wealthy, and not the majority of
middle and lower-class citizens, while others have claimed the exact
opposite. Yet, others state that the standard of living has increased on all
rungs of the socio-economic strata with the bulk of income gains having gone to the
top 1%, whose share of income has increased substantially.
Bush signs the No Child Left Behind Act into law.
Education and health
The No Child Left Behind Act aimed to measure and close the gap b