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MAIN Arrow to People in the News People in the News Arrow to George W. Bush George W. Bush

George W. BushEnding his term with the lowest approval rating of any US president since such records have been kept, Bush's departure from Washington in January 2009 has been marked as "An End of an Error" as he heads off into retirement as quite possibly the worst president in US history.

Riding high in popularity in his first term as President as the the popular "hero" of 9/11, George Bush and his leadership ability was seriously called into question shortly following a series of scandals revolving around his decision to go to war in Iraq, as well as his response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Bush was seriously headed into lame duck status in 2008 when he was reportedly asked not to campaign for Republican candidate John McCain. In November, both McCain and Bush witnessed a major repudiation of the Republican party by a majority of Americans following a landslide victory given to Democratic candidate Barack Obama, the first African American in US history to hold the nation's highest office.

With concurrent war fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq, his handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the adminstration's involvement in the Valerie Plame affair, and a perceived shadow government headed up by his Vice President, Dick Cheney, a number of other issues plagued the White House during Bush's last term. These include a failed bid to win over the American public on his new Social Security plan and immigration reform policy.

Along with rising gas prices, Bush had saddled the U.S. with a half-trillion dollar budget deficit as he left office in 2008 with his policies to deregulate Wall Street generally viewed as the reason that the US had been plunged into recession.


W. Movie Trailer

 

In his second term, the administration's aim to bring democracy to post-war Iraq was met with some success following elections there in January 2005, although battles between Sunni and Shiite factions within the country have increasingly brought Iraq to the edge of civil war.

Now in its sixth year, the Iraq War has claimed more than 4,000 American lives and countless more Iraqi civilians since the conflict began on March 19, 2003.

Meanwhile, his administration's continued efforts to strengthen the Executive branch has continued an led to an increased groundswell of sentiment for prosecuting Bush and Cheney on charges of war crimes following their admissions torture did indeed occur against detainees at Guatanamo Bay.

Touted as the story of an "improbable president", an Oliver Stone biopic entitled "W."based on the life of President George W. Bush was released in October 2008 just weeks before a national election swept the Republican party in Washington DC from power.

 

Related George W. Bush Bios, Pictures | George W. Bush Quotes


Born July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, Bush—often referred to as simply W. (or in Texas parlance, Dubya) is the eldest son of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Pierce Bush. Younger siblings included Jeb Bush, now governor of Florida, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy.

President Bush is married to Laura Welch Bush, a former teacher and librarian, and they have 18-year-old twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, born in 1981.

Growing up in Midland, Texas, Bush Jr. - like his father before him - attended the Philips Andover Academy in Massachusetts then matriculated at Yale University. Graduating from Yale with a bachelor’s degree in 1968, Bush returned to Texas and joined the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. He eventually worked his way up to the rank of lieutenant, but was never called on to fight in Vietnam.

With his release from the Texas Air National Guard, the 1970's began what Bush describes as his "nomadic" years widely rumored to have been a period of heavy drinking and drug use while he attended Harvard Business School at which he took his MBA in 1975.

From MBA to Politics

Upon graduation Bush returned to Midland to follow his father into the oil business and to establish Arbusto, an oil exploration company. Soon after, he also made his first foray into politics in a race for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978. Despite setting a new Texas fundraising record for a House candidate, Bush lost to opponent Senator Kent Hance by six percentage points.

During the 1980's, a complete transformation of his personal life occurred when Bush sold off his oil interests, quit drinking, (followed by regular attendance at his wife's Methodist church) and later assumed a campaign management role in his father's successful bid for the presidency in 1987.

In 1988, he returned to Texas to purchase the Texas Rangers baseball team with the help of wealthy friends and financial backers. During the next several years Bush continued to stay in the media limelight as a regular at Ranger games. Then in 1995, in a surprise political move Bush made front page news when he decided to run for Texas governor in 1995 against popular incumbent Ann Richards - and won.

Running on a conservative platform, Bush during his first four years as Texas governor made good on his promises to reform welfare, cut taxes and end "frivolous" lawsuits against corporate giants - his biggest political supporters, and a fact not lost on his critics.

Bush's reputation for making tough decisions, however, won him widespread popularity and in November 1998 he became the first Texas governor to be elected to consecutive four-year terms.

On the Road to the White House

With a new reputation as a major political player, Bush was chosen by the Republican Party as a presidential contender against the Clinton Democrats and their newest presidential candidate, Vice President Al Gore. Bush's down-home Texas charm worked most successfully in scripted speeches, but the infamous Bushisms quickly surfaced early on in his bid for the White House.

Rise & Fall

Bush attempts exit strategy in Bejing
Bush Moment

President Bush attempts an exit at
a 2005 press conference in Beijing
only to find a locked door.

 

However, despite his frequent verbal fumbling, Bush's promise to restore morality to Washington struck a cord with voters who helped him squeak by in an historic 2000 election so close that it required a Supreme Court decision to call it.

Barely a year into his first term, Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney, faced an unprecedented crisis when on September 11, 2001 Saudi Arabian terrorists crashed two planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York, resulting in more than 2,000 dead and thousands injured.

Calling the tragedy the start of a new era of organized terrorism against the West (led by Osama Bin Laden) Bush declared war on Afghanistan, a known harbinger of Muslim terrorist activity.

Based on what is now recognized as erroneous evidence of Iraq's terrorist ties and nuclear capability, a year later the invasion of Iraq strongly alienated traditional European allies.

Soon following charges of Republicans running amok in Washington - involving CIA bribery charges, government spying on U.S. citizens, the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal, Tom DeLay money laundering charges and calls for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney - the American public voiced their dissatisfaction in record-low polling numbers for Bush and for his party as a whole.

Executive Privilege

Pat Tillman

Invoking executive privilege,
Bush refused to cooperate
with an investigation into the
death of soldier Pat Tillman.


In 2008, an embattled White House invoked executive privilege in resisting attempts by a congressional committee investigating the firing of eight U.S. attorneys — leading to White House Counsel Harriet Miers facing criminal contempt charges for refusing to testify under orders by the Bush administration.

In the most puzzling invocation of executive privilege, Bush also has refused to cooperate with another committee investigating the suspicious circumstances surrounding the reports of Army Ranger Pat Tillman's death to his family in 2004.

Tillman was a promising young NFL player who had been offered a a $3.6 million dollar contract to join the Arizona Cardinals in 2004. He turned it down to enlist in the U.S. Army. He was held up as a hero by the Pentagon which only later was forced to admit that Tillman died by friendly fire in Afghanistan.

Amid the growing number of political scandals at the White House, in mid-August happier news emerged when it was announced that Bush's daughter, Jenna, became engaged to long-time boyfriend, Henry Hager. Their wedding was celebrated on May 10, 2008 at the Bush family's Crawford, Texas ranch.

Following his defeat in the 2008 election, Bush announced plans to retreat from the public eye and made plans to move with wife Laura to a wealthy Dallas enclave.




Related Biographies:

White House - Biography of President George W. Bush

George W. Bush - Wikipedia

Washington Post Photo Gallery - The Life of George W. Bush


Famous Quotes & Bushisms:

• When I take action, I'm not going to fire a 2 million dollar missile at a 10 dollar empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive.

• When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were. It was us versus them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there.

• To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say: You, too, can be president of the United States. (Yale speech, 2001)

• They misunderestimated me.

There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.

You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.

It's very important for folks to understand that when there's more trade, there's more commerce.

I would say the best moment was when I caught a seven and half pound largemouth bass on my lake. (When asked by a reporter about the best moment of his presidency).

Core inflation is low -- except when you're going to the gas pump it doesn't seem that low; or when you're buying food it doesn't seem that low. Core inflation is low, but energy and food prices are on the rise -- have risen."

Spend my days clearing brush
I clear my head of all the fuss
Oh, like the fuss you made over Harriet and Brownie
Down the lane, I look out
Here comes Scooter
Finally free of the prosecutor
It’s good to touch the brown, brown grass of home

(Singing a spoof of "The Green, Green Grass of Home" at the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington D.C. March 2008)


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