George W. Bush Biography
Years Served as President: 2001-2008
Vice President: Dick Cheney
Age at Inauguration: 54
Home State: Born in Connecticut, raised in Texas
Date of Birth: July 6, 1946
Married: Laura Welch
Children: Jenna, Barbara (twins)
Nickname: W, pronounced “Dubya”
What is George W. Bush known for?
George W. Bush is best known for being the president during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In response, he ordered the invasion of Afghanistan.
Also during Bush’s presidency, the U.S. invaded Iraq and overthrew the dictator Saddam Hussein in the Second Gulf War.
Bush is the son of former U.S. president George H.W. Bush. He is part of only the second father-son presidential duo in history.
George Walker Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1946. He was the first child of George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. At the time, the older Bush was working in the oil industry.
Soon after George’s birth, the family moved to Texas. George was eventually the older brother to five siblings.
Growing up, he enjoyed playing baseball and other sports. He was known for his ability to make friends easily.
For a while, he struggled in school. However, he was determined to succeed, and his academics improved. He grew to love learning about history.
Like his father before him, Bush attended Phillips Academy Andover in Andover, Massachusetts. He then followed in his father’s footsteps to Yale University, where he majored in history.
During the Vietnam War, Bush served in the Air National Guard and was stationed at an Air Force base in Georgia. After that, he earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Harvard.
Bush was interested in a career in business. After graduating from Harvard, he returned to Midland, Texas and worked in the oil industry. He eventually founded his own company, Arbusto Energy.
He also worked on his father’s political campaigns and became the part owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team.
In 1977, Bush was introduced to Laura Welch at a barbecue. She was a librarian and teacher. Both had grown up in Midland, and they had even briefly gone to the same school, but they had never met.
George and Laura immediately got along. They were engaged after just a few months and got married on November 5, 1977.
The couple eventually had twin daughters. They named the girls after their grandmothers, Jenna and Barbara.
Bush had worked on several political campaigns, including his father’s, when he decided to get seriously involved in politics in 1994.
He ran for the governor of Texas and won. His victory over the popular governor Ann Richards was called “a stunning upset.” Four years later, Bush was re-elected.
As governor, Bush worked to reform the education system in Texas. His efforts and progress got national attention and became a model for other states. He was a very popular and successful governor.
Soon, Bush’s name came up as a possible candidate for the 2000 election. He eventually agreed. The election against Bill Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore, was one of the closest ever.
The results of the election came down to the state of Florida. Florida’s votes were counted and recounted.
In the end, Bush won by a few hundred votes and became the 43rd president of the United States.
Shortly after Bush was elected, the U.S. economy started to struggle. The “dot com” bubble had burst, and many people lost their jobs and savings.
However, Bush’s presidency was dominated by far more serious issues.
On September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States killed nearly 3000 people. An Islamic terrorist group called Al-Qaeda hijacked several commercial airplanes.
Two planes were flown into the Twin Towers in New York City, which caused the buildings to collapse. Another was flown into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
A fourth hijacked plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania when the passengers fought back and tried to regain control of the plane.
A month later, the United States invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban government. The government was suspected of hiding Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda.
The government was quickly overthrown, but Bin Laden was not captured for many years.
In 2003, the United States also invaded Iraq to overthrow the dictator Saddam Hussein. Bush’s advisors thought that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could be used to help terrorists.
Hussein was captured that December, but no weapons of mass destruction were found.
First Term Achievements
During his first term, Bush got Congress to approve tax-cut bills and a Medicare prescription drug program for seniors.
He signed the controversial No Child Left Behind Act to hold schools accountable for student learning and achievement.
Bush also devoted billions of U.S. dollars to fighting HIV/AIDs around the world. He created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
People respected Bush’s response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and he had strong approval ratings for most of his first term.
Bush won the 2004 election against Democrat John Kerry. During his second term, he began to receive a lot of criticism.
The Iraq War was not popular. Some people thought Bush had lied about suspecting Iraq of hiding weapons of mass destruction.
After Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, many people believed that Bush had been too slow to respond to the disaster. The hurricane resulted in close to 1,800 deaths and billions of dollars in damage.
In addition, the economy got even worse. Unemployment rates continued to rise. By the time Bush left office, his approval ratings had reached an all-time low.
After the Presidency
George and Laura Bush retired to Dallas, Texas after his second term was over. Bush published an autobiography called Decision Points in 2010.
For the most part, however, he has stayed out of the public eye. Bush’s presidency was a time of great challenge. He has been one of the most popular and one of the least popular presidents in U.S. history.
Today, he continues to have strong admirers and passionate critics. Scholars say that his presidency will continue to be debated for many years.
Fun Facts About George W. Bush
George Bush is the only president with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
The same night that George W. Bush won his second election as the governor of Texas, his brother Jeb was elected the governor of Florida.
They became the first pair of brothers to serve as governors since 1967 (Winthrop and Nelson Rockefeller).
George’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, was also a U.S. Senator.
In 2005, a man threw a grenade at George W. Bush, but the grenade did not explode.
Bush is one of just a few presidents to win the election without winning the popular vote. Interestingly, John Quincy Adams (the only other U.S. president who was the son of a president) also did not win the popular vote.
Speaking about the 9/11 attacks, Bush has said, “I became something I did not want to be: a wartime president.”