George W. Bush

George W. Bush

43rd President, 2001-2009

Early Life and Pre-presidency

White House portrait of George W. Bush, 2003

White House portrait of George W. Bush, 2003

  • Born on July 6, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Parents: George H.W. Bush and Barbara Pierce. Siblings: Robin (1949–1953), John Ellis “Jeb” (1953–), Neil (1955–), Marvin (1956–), and Dorothy “Doro” (1959–).
  • Attended public schools in Midland, Texas, then the Kinkaid School in Houston for middle school.
  • Attended Philips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts for high school, graduating in 1964.
  • Enrolled at Yale University in 1964, graduating in 1968.
  • Joined the Texas Air National Guard in May 1968 and was honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserve in November 1974.
  • Attended Harvard Business School in 1973, graduating in 1975.
  • Married Laura Welch (1946–) on November 5, 1977. Children: Barbara (1981–) and Jenna (1981–).
  • Formed his own oil company in 1977 named Arbusto Energy, later renamed Bush Exploration.
  • Ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978 but lost.
  • Helped his father George H.W. Bush in his Presidential campaign for the 1988 election.
  • Bought shares in the Texas Rangers baseball team in 1989 and became managing general for 5 years. He sold his shares in 1998.
  • Ran for Governor of Texas in 1994 and won. He served from 1995 to 2000, having been re-elected in 1998.
  • Nominated as the Republican Party’s Presidential candidate in the 2000 election. He lost the popular vote to Al Gore of the Democratic Party but won the majority of the electoral votes.
  • Bush’s win in the election hinged on a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the recount of votes in Florida. The Supreme Court decided 5-4 in favor of giving the Florida votes, thus the electoral votes, to Bush. He won the election with 271 electoral votes to 266 for Gore.

Presidency

Preisdent Bush with Vice President Cheney, 2003 Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Preisdent Bush with Vice President Cheney, 2003
Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

  • Took his oath of office on January 20, 2001 at the West Front, U.S. Capitol.
  • In April 2001, Bush officially pledged to support Taiwan in the event that China attacked.
  • Signed a package of tax relief bills in June 2001. He signed another package of tax cut bills in May 2003.
  • On September 11, 2001, four commercial airplanes were hijacked by terrorists and crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania, which may have been intended for the White House.
  • On September 20, 2001, President Bush spoke before Congress and vowed a “War on Terror,” specifically to hunt down Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.
  • Signed the USA Patriot Act of 2001 in October. The law contained several measures that allowed law enforcement to root out suspected terrorists on U.S. soil.
  • In October 2001, Bush announced the start of a military offensive in Afghanistan, code-named “Enduring Freedom,” to capture Osama bin Laden.
  • In December 2001, Bush informed Russia of the United States’ intent to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so it could conduct anti-missile defense tests. The U.S. officially withdrew in June 2002.
  • Signed the No Child Left Behind Act, an education reform bill, in January 2002. The law gave each state the authority to set standards and administer assessment tests in order to receive federal funding.
  • Addressed the nation on television in June 2002 to announce the creation of the Office of Homeland Security as the head organization to oversee the protection of the U.S. from terrorism.
  • On October 10, 2002, the Senate voted to authorize Bush to invade Iraq, seeing the country as a serious threat to U.S. security and due to its violations of several U.N. resolutions. Combat operations began in March 2003 and Bush declared the operations completed in May. The Bush administration would later admit that it was incapable of rebuilding Iraq.
  • Signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 in November. The law prohibited late-term abortions.
  • Ran for re-election for a second term as President in the 2004 election and won.
  • The Bush administration was critized for its inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in August 2005.
  • In October and November 2008, Bush signed bailout plans for banks and the automobile industry totaling nearly $800 billion. Another $800 billion would be used to keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from going under.

Post-presidency

George and Laura Bush at the White House, 2002 Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

George and Laura Bush at the White House, 2002
Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum

  • Retired to their home in Midland, Texas then moved to Dallas, Texas.
  • Has made relatively few public appearances since leaving the Presidency.
  • Released his autobiography Decision Points in November 2010.
  • Established the Clinton–Bush Haiti Fund in 2010 to raise funds for the relief and recovery of Haiti after a devastating earthquake.
  • Threw the ceremonial first pitch in Game 4 of the 2010 World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
  • Was having dinner at a restaurant on May 2, 2011 when he received a phone call from President Obama informing him that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. operatives in Pakistan.
  • Attended the 10th anniversary commemoration of the 9/11 attacks on September 11, 2011 in New York City with President Barack Obama.
  • Attended the opening and dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas on April 25, 2013. The Center includes the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, George W. Bush Institute, and
    George W. Bush Foundation.