George W. Bush

George W. Bush
43rd President of the United States
In office
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
Vice PresidentDick Cheney
Preceded byBill Clinton
Succeeded byBarack Obama
46th Governor of Texas
In office
January 17, 1995 – December 21, 2000
LieutenantBob Bullock
Rick Perry
Preceded byAnn Richards
Succeeded byRick Perry
Personal details
George Walker Bush

(1946-07-06) July 6, 1946 (age 73)
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Laura Welch (m. 1977)
RelativesSee Bush family
ResidenceCrawford, Texas, U.S.
SignatureWhite House Archives
Military service
  • "Dubya"
  • "GWB"
  • George Bush Jr[1][2]
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Air Force
 • Texas Air National Guard
 • Alabama Air National Guard
Years of service1968–1974
RankUS Air Force O2 shoulderboard rotated.svg First Lieutenant

George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He had previously served as the 46th governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000. Bush is frequently referred to as George W. Bush, Bush Junior, or Bush 43 to distinguish him from his father, George H. W. Bush, who served as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993.

Bush is the eldest son of Barbara and George H. W. Bush, and the second son to become the American president after his father, the first being John Quincy Adams.[4] After graduating from Yale University in 1968 and Harvard Business School in 1975, he worked in the oil industry.[5] Bush married Laura Welch in 1977 and unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He later co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team before defeating Ann Richards in the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. Bush was elected president of the United States in 2000 when he defeated Democratic incumbent Vice President Al Gore after a narrow and contested win that involved a Supreme Court decision to stop a recount in Florida. He became the fourth person to be elected president while receiving fewer popular votes than his opponent.[6]

In response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, Bush launched a "War on Terror" that began with the war in Afghanistan in 2001 and later expanded to the Iraq War in 2003. Signature legislation passed during his presidency included broad tax cuts, the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Medicare Modernization Act, and funding for the AIDS relief program known as PEPFAR. In the 2004 presidential race, Bush defeated Democratic Senator John Kerry in a close election. After his re-election, Bush received criticism from across the political spectrum[7][8][9] for his handling of the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina,[10][11][12] and other challenges. Amid this criticism, the Democratic Party regained control of Congress in the 2006 elections. In December 2007, the United States entered its longest post-World War II recession, often referred to as the "Great Recession", prompting the Bush administration to obtain congressional approval for multiple economic programs intended to preserve the country's financial system.

Bush was among the most popular, as well as unpopular, U.S. presidents in history; he received the highest recorded approval ratings in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, but one of the lowest such ratings during the 2008 financial crisis.[13] Bush finished his second term in office in 2009 and returned to Texas. In 2010, he published his memoir, Decision Points.[14] His presidential library opened in 2013. His presidency has been rated below average in historians' polls, although his favorability ratings have improved since leaving office.

Early life and career

George W. Bush with his parents, Barbara and George H. W. Bush, c. 1947
Bush's childhood home in Midland, Texas

George Walker Bush was born on July 6, 1946, at Yale–New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, while his father was a student at Yale.[15] He was the first child of George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Pierce. He was raised in Midland and Houston, Texas, with four siblings, Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. Another younger sister, Robin, died from leukemia at the age of three in 1953.[16] His grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a U.S. Senator from Connecticut.[17] His father was Ronald Reagan's vice president from 1981 to 1989 and the 41st U.S. president from 1989 to 1993. Bush has English and some German ancestry, along with more distant Dutch, Welsh, Irish, French, and Scottish roots.[18]


Bush attended public schools in Midland, Texas, until the family moved to Houston after he had completed seventh grade. He then spent two years at The Kinkaid School, a prep school in Piney Point Village, Texas in the Houston area.[19]

Bush attended high school at Phillips Academy, a boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts, where he played baseball and was the head cheerleader during his senior year.[20][21] He attended Yale University from 1964 to 1968, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.[22] During this time, he was a cheerleader and a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon, serving as the president of the fraternity during his senior year.[23][24][25] Bush became a member of the Skull and Bones society as a senior.[26] Bush was a rugby union player and was on Yale's 1st XV.[27] He characterized himself as an average student.[28] His GPA during his first three years at Yale was 77, and he had a similar average under a nonnumeric rating system in his final year.[29]

After his application to the University of Texas School of Law was rejected, Bush entered Harvard Business School in the fall of 1973. He graduated in 1975 with an MBA degree. He is the only U.S. president to have earned an MBA.[30]

Family and personal life

George and Laura Bush with their daughters Jenna and Barbara, 1990

Bush was initially engaged to Cathryn Lee Wolfman in 1967, but the engagement eventually fizzled out. Bush and Wolfman remained on good terms after the end of the relationship.[31] While Bush was at a backyard barbecue in 1977, friends introduced him to Laura Welch, a schoolteacher and librarian. After a three-month courtship, she accepted his marriage proposal and they wed on November 5 of that year.[32] The couple settled in Midland, Texas. Bush left his family's Episcopal Church to join his wife's United Methodist Church.[33] On November 25, 1981, Laura Bush gave birth to fraternal twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna.[32]

Alcohol abuse

Prior to getting married, Bush struggled with multiple episodes of alcohol abuse.[34] In one instance on September 4, 1976, he was pulled over near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was cited for DUI, fined $150 (equivalent to $674 in 2019), and got his Maine driver's license briefly suspended.[35] Bush said his wife has had a stabilizing effect on his life,[32] and he attributes her influence to his 1986 decision to give up alcohol.[36] While Governor of Texas, Bush said of his wife, "I saw an elegant, beautiful woman who turned out not only to be elegant and beautiful, but very smart and willing to put up with my rough edges, and I must confess has smoothed them off over time."[32]


Bush has been an avid reader throughout his adult life, preferring biographies and histories.[37] He read 14 Lincoln biographies, and during the last three years of his presidency, he reportedly read 186 books. During his presidency, Bush read the Bible daily,[38] though at the end of his second term he said on television that he is "not a literalist" about Bible interpretation.[39] Walt Harrington, a journalist, recalled seeing "books by John Fowles, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, and Gore Vidal lying about, as well as biographies of Willa Cather and Queen Victoria" in his home when Bush was a Texas oilman. Other activities include cigar smoking and golf.[40] After leaving the White House, Bush took up oil painting.[41]

Military career

Lt. George W. Bush in the Texas Air National Guard, 1968

In May 1968, Bush was commissioned into the Texas Air National Guard.[42] After two years of training in active-duty service,[43] he was assigned to Houston, flying Convair F-102s with the 147th Reconnaissance Wing out of the Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base.[42][44] Critics, including former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, have alleged that Bush was favorably treated due to his father's political standing as a member of the House of Representatives, citing his selection as a pilot despite his low pilot aptitude test scores and his irregular attendance.[42] In June 2005, the United States Department of Defense released all the records of Bush's Texas Air National Guard service, which remain in its official archives.[45]

In late 1972 and early 1973, he drilled with the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard. He had moved to Montgomery, Alabama, to work on the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Winton M. Blount.[46][47] In 1972, Bush was suspended from flying for failure to take a scheduled physical exam.[48] He was honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserve on November 21, 1974.[49]

Business career

Bush greeting President Ronald Reagan in 1988

In 1977, Bush established Arbusto Energy, a small oil exploration company, although it did not begin operations until the following year.[50][51] He later changed the name to Bush Exploration. In 1984, his company merged with the larger Spectrum 7, and Bush became chairman.[52] The company was hurt by decreased oil prices, and it folded into HKN, Inc.,[52][53] with Bush becoming a member of HKN's board of directors.[52] Questions of possible insider trading involving HKN arose, but a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation concluded that the information Bush had at the time of his stock sale was not sufficient to constitute insider trading.[52][54]

In April 1989, Bush arranged for a group of investors to purchase a controlling interest in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise for $89 million and invested $500,000 himself to start. He then served as managing general partner for five years.[55] He actively led the team's projects and regularly attended its games, often choosing to sit in the open stands with fans.[56] Bush's sale of his shares in the Rangers in 1998 brought him over $15 million from his initial $800,000 investment.[57]

Early political involvement

George W. Bush with his father outside the White House, April 29, 1992

In 1978, Bush ran for the House of Representatives from Texas's 19th congressional district. The retiring member, George H. Mahon, had held the district for the Democratic Party since 1935. Bush's opponent, Kent Hance, portrayed him as out of touch with rural Texans, and Bush lost the election with 46.8 percent of the vote to Hance's 53.2 percent.[58]

Bush and his family moved to Washington, D.C., in 1988 to work on his father's campaign for the U.S. presidency.[59][60] He served as a campaign advisor and liaison to the media, and assisted his father by campaigning across the country.[52] In December 1991, Bush was one of seven people named by his father to run his father's 1992 presidential re-election campaign, as a "campaign advisor".[61] The previous month, his father had asked him to tell White House chief of staff John H. Sununu he should resign.[62]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: George W. Bush
Alemannisch: George W. Bush
Ænglisc: George W. Bush
Avañe'ẽ: George W. Bush
Aymar aru: George W. Bush
azərbaycanca: Corc Uoker Buş
Bân-lâm-gú: George W. Bush
башҡортса: Джордж Уокер Буш
беларуская: Джордж Уокер Буш
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Джордж Ўокер Буш
Bikol Central: George W. Bush
български: Джордж Уокър Буш
Boarisch: George W. Bush
bosanski: George W. Bush
čeština: George W. Bush
Chavacano de Zamboanga: George W. Bush
Chi-Chewa: George W. Bush
chiShona: George W. Bush
davvisámegiella: George W. Bush
ދިވެހިބަސް: ޖޯޖް ވޯކަރ ބުޝް
dolnoserbski: George W. Bush
emiliàn e rumagnòl: George W. Bush
español: George W. Bush
Esperanto: George W. Bush
føroyskt: George W. Bush
français: George W. Bush
Gàidhlig: George W. Bush
贛語: 小布什
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: George Bush, junior
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: George W. Bush
한국어: 조지 W. 부시
հայերեն: Ջորջ Ու. Բուշ
hornjoserbsce: George W. Bush
hrvatski: George W. Bush
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: জর্জ ৱাকার বুশ
Bahasa Indonesia: George Walker Bush
interlingua: George W. Bush
isiXhosa: George W. Bush
íslenska: George W. Bush
italiano: George W. Bush
Kapampangan: George W. Bush
kernowek: George W. Bush
Kinyarwanda: George W. Bush
Kiswahili: George W. Bush
Кыргызча: Жорж Уокер Буш
لۊری شومالی: جورج دٱبلٛیۊ بۊش
Lëtzebuergesch: George W. Bush
Limburgs: George W. Bush
Lingua Franca Nova: George Walker Bush
la .lojban.: djordj. ualker. buc
lumbaart: George W. Bush
македонски: Џорџ В. Буш
Malagasy: George Bush
مازِرونی: جرج واکر بوش
Bahasa Melayu: George W. Bush
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: George W. Bush
Nāhuatl: George W. Bush
Dorerin Naoero: George W. Bush
Nederlands: George W. Bush
Nedersaksies: George Walker Bush
नेपाल भाषा: जोर्ज डबल्यु बुश
Napulitano: George W. Bush
Nordfriisk: George W. Bush
norsk nynorsk: George W. Bush
Nouormand: George W. Bush
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ଜର୍ଜ ବୁଶ
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: George Bush
Pangasinan: George W. Bush
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ចច វ៉ឃ័រប៉ូស
Piemontèis: George W. Bush
Plattdüütsch: George W. Bush
português: George W. Bush
reo tahiti: George W. Bush
Ripoarisch: George W. Bush
română: George W. Bush
romani čhib: George W. Bush
rumantsch: George W. Bush
sicilianu: George W. Bush
Simple English: George W. Bush
slovenčina: George W. Bush
slovenščina: George Walker Bush
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Джорджь Вокєръ Боушь
ślůnski: George W. Bush
Soomaaliga: George W. Bush
српски / srpski: Џорџ В. Буш
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: George W. Bush
татарча/tatarça: Джордж Уокер Буш
Türkçe: George W. Bush
Türkmençe: Jorj Woker Buş
українська: Джордж Вокер Буш
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: جورج ۋولكېر بۇش
Tiếng Việt: George W. Bush
Volapük: George W. Bush
粵語: 喬治布殊
žemaitėška: George W. Bush