George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, serving from 1995 to 2000. Bush is the eldest son of President George H. W. Bush, who served as the 41st President, and Barbara Bush, making him one of only two American presidents to be the son of a preceding president, after John Quincy Adams. He is also the brother of Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida. After graduating from Yale University in 1968 and Harvard Business School in 1975, Bush worked in oil businesses. He married Laura Welch in 1977 and ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He later co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team before defeating Ann Richards in the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. In a close and controversial election, Bush was elected President in 2000 as the Republican candidate, defeating Vice President Al Gore in the Electoral College. He was named Time Person of the Year 2000 and 2004. Early on, the Bush administration withdrew from a number of international treaty processes, notably the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. A series of terrorist attacks occurred eight months into Bush's first term as president on September 11, 2001. In response, Bush announced a global War on Terror, ordered an invasion of Afghanistan that same year and an invasion of Iraq in 2003. In addition to national security issues, Bush promoted policies on the economy, health care, education, and social security reform. He signed into law broad tax cuts, he No Child Left Behind Act, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors. His tenure saw national debates on immigration, Social Security, electronic surveillance, waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques". Bush successfully ran for re-election against Democratic Senator John Kerry in 2004, in another relatively close election. After his re-election, Bush received increasingly heated criticism from across the political spectrum. In 2005, the Bush Administration dealt with widespread criticism over its handling of Hurricane Katrina. Following this and other controversies, as well as dissatisfaction with the direction of the Iraq War, Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 elections. As the United States entered its longest post–World War II recession in December 2007, the Bush Administration took more direct control of the economy, enacting multiple economic programs intended to preserve the country's financial system. Though Bush was popular in the U.S. for much of his first term, his popularity declined sharply during his second term. Bush was a highly controversial figure internationally, with public protests occurring even during visits to close allies, such as the United Kingdom. After leaving office, Bush returned to Texas and purchased a home in a suburban area of Dallas. He is currently a public speaker and has written a book about his life entitled Decision Points.
George Walker Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut at Grace-New Haven Hospital (now Yale – New Haven Hospital), on July 6, 1946, the first child of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush (née Pierce). He was raised in Midland and Houston, Texas, with his four siblings, Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy.
Another younger sister, Robin, died from leukemia at the age of three in 1953. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a U.S. Senator from Connecticut. Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, served as U.S. Vice President from 1981 to 1989 and U.S. President from 1989 to 1993. Bush is of primarily English descent, and also has more distant German, Dutch, Welsh, Irish, French and Scottish ancestry. Bush attended public schools in Midland, Texas until the family moved to Houston after he completed seventh grade. He then went to The Kinkaid School, a prep school in Houston, for two years. He finished his high school years at Phillips Academy, a boarding school (then all-male) in Andover, Massachusetts, where he played baseball and during his senior year was the head cheerleader. Bush attended Yale University from 1964 to 1968, graduating with an A.B. in history. During this time, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, being elected the fraternity's president during his senior year. Bush also became a member of the Skull and Bones society as a senior. Bush was a keen rugby union player, and was on Yale's 1st XV. He characterized himself as an average student. Beginning in the fall of 1973, Bush attended the Harvard Business School, where he earned a Master of Business Administration. He is the only U.S. President to have earned an M.B.A. In May 1968, Bush was commissioned into the Texas Air National Guard. In late 1972 and early 1973, he drilled with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group of the Alabama Air National Guard, having moved to Montgomery, Alabama to work on the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Winton M. Blount.
In 1978, Bush ran for the House of Representatives from Texas's 19th congressional district. Bush moved his family to Washington, D.C. in 1988 to work on his father's campaign for the U.S. presidency. He worked as a campaign adviser and served as liaison to the media. He assisted his father by campaigning across the country. Returning to Texas after the successful campaign, he purchased a share in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in April 1989, where he served as managing general partner for five years. 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 shares in the Rangers in 1998 brought him over $15 million from his initial $800,000 investment. In December 1991, Bush was one of seven people named by his father to run his father's 1992 Presidential re-election campaign as "campaign advisor". The prior month, Bush had been asked by his father to tell White House chief of staff John H. Sununu that he should resign.
Governor of Texas
Bush declared his candidacy for the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. His campaign focused on four themes: welfare reform, tort reform, crime reduction, and education improvement. In 1998, Bush won re-election with a record 69% of the vote. He became the first governor in Texas history to be elected to two consecutive four-year terms. For most of Texas history, governors served two-year terms; a constitutional amendment extended those terms to four years starting in 1975. In his second term, Bush promoted faith-based organizations and enjoyed high approval ratings. He proclaimed June 10, 2000 to be Jesus Day in Texas, a day on which he "urged all Texans to answer the call to serve those in need". Throughout Bush's first term, national attention focused on him as a potential future presidential candidate. Following his re-election, speculation soared. Within a year, he decided to seek the Republican nomination for the presidency.
In June 1999, while Governor of Texas, G. W. Bush announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Bush portrayed himself as a compassionate conservative. He campaigned on a platform that included increasing the size of the United States Armed Forces, cutting taxes, improving education, and aiding minorities. On July 25, 2000, Bush surprised some observers by asking Dick Cheney, a former White House Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative, and Secretary of Defense, to be his running mate. Cheney was then serving as head of Bush's Vice-Presidential search committee. Soon after, Cheney was officially nominated by the Republican Party at the 2000 Republican National Convention.
In the Presidential election 2004, Bush carried 31 of 50 states, receiving a total of 286 electoral votes. He won an outright majority of the popular vote (50.7% to his opponent's 48.3%). The previous President to win an outright majority of the popular vote was Bush's father in the 1988 election. Additionally, it was the first time since Herbert Hoover's election in 1928 that a Republican president was elected alongside re-elected Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress. Bush's 2.5% margin of victory was the narrowest ever for a victorious incumbent President, breaking Woodrow Wilson's 3.1% margin of victory against Charles Evans Hughes in the election of 1916.
Bush was sworn in as president on January 20, 2001. Though he originally outlined an ambitious domestic agenda, his priorities were significantly altered following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Wars were waged in Afghanistan and later Iraq while significant debates regarding immigration, healthcare, Social Security, economic policy, and treatment of terrorist detainees took place within the United States. Over an eight year period, Bush's once-high approval ratings[ steadily declined throughout his Presidency while his disapproval numbers increased significantly over the same time frame. During 2007, the United States entered into the longest post World War II recession and the administration responded by enacting multiple economic programs.
During his Presidential campaign, George Bush's foreign policy platform included support for a stronger economic and political relationship with Latin America, especially Mexico, and a reduction of involvement in "nation-building" and other small-scale military engagements. The administration pursued a national missile defense. Bush was an advocate of China's entry into the World Trade Organization. He said open trade was a force for freedom in China.
"War on Teror"
After September 11, Bush announced a global War on Terror. The Afghan Taliban regime was not forthcoming with Osama bin Laden, so Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime... In his January 29, 2002 State of the Union Address, he asserted that an "axis of evil" consisting of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq was "arming to threaten the peace of the world" and "posed a grave and growing danger". The broader "War on Terror", allegations of an "axis of evil", and, in particular, the doctrine of preemptive war, began to weaken the unprecedented levels of international and domestic support for Bush and United States action against al-Qaeda following the September 11 attacks.
Afghanistan (2001 - present)
On October 7, 2001, U.S. and British forces initiated bombing campaigns that led to the arrival on November 13 of Northern Alliance troops in Kabul. The main goals of the war were to defeat the Taliban, drive al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan, and capture key al-Qaeda leaders. In December 2001, the Pentagon reported that the Taliban had been defeated but cautioned that the war would go on to continue weakening Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders. Later that month the UN had installed the Afghan Interim Authority chaired by Hamid Karzai. Efforts to kill or capture al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden failed as he escaped a battle in December 2001 in the mountainous region of Tora Bora, which the Bush Administration later acknowledged to have resulted from a failure to commit enough U.S. ground troops. It was not until May 2011, two years after Bush left office, that Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces. Bin Laden's successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as the leader of the Taliban, Mohammed Omar, remain at large. Despite the initial success in driving the Taliban from power in Kabul, by early 2003 the Taliban was regrouping, amassing new funds and recruits. In 2006, the Taliban insurgency appeared larger, fiercer and better organized than expected, with large-scale allied offensives such as Operation Mountain Thrust attaining limited success. As a result, Bush commissioned 3,500 additional troops to the country in March 2007.
Iraq (2003 - present)
Beginning with his January 29, 2002 State of the Union address, Bush began publicly focusing attention on Iraq, which he labeled as part of an "axis of evil" allied with terrorists and posing "a grave and growing danger" to U.S. interests through possession of weapons of mass destruction. On May 1, 2003 Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq. On May 1, Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq. A referendum to approve a constitution in Iraq was held in October 2005, supported by the majority Shiites and many Kurds. On January 10, 2007, Bush addressed the nation regarding the situation in Iraq. In this speech, he announced a surge of 21,500 more troops for Iraq, as well as a job program for Iraqis, more reconstruction proposals, and $1.2 billion for these programs. On July 31, 2008, Bush announced that with the end of July, American troop deaths had reached their lowest number—thirteen—since the war began in 2003. On March 8, 2008, Georde Bush vetoed H.R. 2082, a bill that would have expanded congressional oversight over the intelligence community and banned the use of waterboarding as well as other forms of interrogation not permitted under the United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations, saying that "the bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror". In April 2009, the ACLU sued and won release of the secret memos that had authorized the Bush administration's interrogation tactics. One memo detailed specific interrogation tactics including a footnote that described waterboarding as torture as well as that the form of waterboarding used by the CIA was far more intense than authorized by the Justice Department.
On May 10, 2005, Vladimir Arutyunian, a native Georgian who was born to a family of ethnic Armenians, threw a live hand grenade toward a podium where George Bush was speaking at Freedom Square in Tbilisi, Georgia. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was seated nearby. It landed in the crowd about 65 feet (20 m) from the podium after hitting a girl, but it did not detonate. Arutyunian was arrested in July 2005, confessed, was convicted and was given a life sentence in January 2006.
Following the inauguration of Barack Obama, Bush and his family flew from Andrews Air Force Base to a homecoming celebration in Midland, Texas, following which they returned to their ranch in Crawford, Texas. They bought a home in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas, Texas, where they planned to settle down. In January 2010, at President Barack Obama's request, Bush and former President Bill Clinton established the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to raise contributions for relief and recovery efforts following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. After Bush announced a planned visit to Switzerland in 2011, Amnesty International, in a memorandum to the Swiss authorities in February 2011, asked Switzerland to uphold its "obligations under international law" to arrest and detain the former president for "his alleged involvement in and responsibility for crimes under international law, including torture...." Event organizers, United Israel Appeal, canceled the visit. Reports differ over whether the cancellation was because organizers feared Bush's arrest for war crimes, or, as was stated by the event organizer's lawyer, the event was canceled to avoid the prospect of violent protests. Human rights groups have vowed to continue to seek Bush's arrest. On May 2, 2011, President Barack Obama called Bush, who was at a restaurant with his wife, to inform him that Osama bin Laden was dead.