From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States of America, inaugurated on January 20, 2001, and the eldest son of former United States President George H. W. Bush. George W. Bush was elected president in the 2000 general election and re-elected in 2004. Previously, he had served as the 47th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.

Bush worked in his family’s oil businesses following college. In 1978, he 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. Bush narrowly lost the nationwide popular vote. The Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore stopped a recount in Florida, preserved Bush’s 537-vote margin in the state, giving him the winning number of electoral votes.

As President, Bush pushed through a $1.3 trillion tax cut program and the No Child Left Behind Act and has also pushed for socially conservative efforts such as the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and faith-based welfare initiatives.

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 October 2001. 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.[1][2]

Running as a self-described “war president” in the midst of the Iraq War,[3] Bush won re-election in 2004;[4] 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.[5][6] After his re-election, Bush received increasingly heated criticism, even from former allies. His domestic popularity has decreased since the 2004 election.[7]

Childhood to mid-life

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.[8] 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, but made a more significant mark as an effective head cheerleader at the all-boys school during his senior year.[9][10] Following in his father’s footsteps, Bush attended Yale University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts 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 average student.[11]

In May of 1968, at the height of the ongoing Vietnam War, Bush was accepted into the Texas Air National Guard despite there being a national waiting list of over 100,000 for the N.G. and only scoring 25 percent on the pilot’s aptitude test, which was the lowest acceptable passing grade [1]. After training, he was assigned to duty in Houston, flying Convair F-102s out of Ellington Air Force Base.[12] 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. Bush took a transfer to the Alabama Air National Guard in 1972 to work on a Republican senate campaign, and in 1974 he obtained permission to end his six-year service obligation six months early to attend Harvard Business School.[13]

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”. [14] 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 in Maine.[15][16]

After obtaining an MBA from Harvard University,[17] 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.[18]

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.[19] Bush returned to the oil industry, becoming a senior partner or chief executive officer of several ventures, such as Arbusto Energy,[20] Spectrum 7, and, later, Harken Energy.[21] 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 SEC’s investigation of Bush concluded that he did not have enough insider information before his stock sale to warrant a case.[22]

Bush moved with his family to Washington, D.C. in 1988, to work on his father’s campaign for the U.S. presidency.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25] Bush actively led the team’s projects and regularly attended its games, often choosing to sit in the open stands with fans.[26] The sale of Bush’s share in the Rangers brought him over $15 million from his initial $800,000 investment.[27]

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. Upon 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 41.”

Elected positions

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 favorite.

Bush was aided by several political advisors, 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 percent.[28]

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.[29] 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 conservative.[28]

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.”[30]

In 1998, Bush won re-election in a landslide victory with nearly 69 percent of the vote.[31] Within a year, he had decided to seek the Republican nomination for the presidency.

2000 Presidential candidacy

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