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George W. Bush

From Academic Kids

George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and the 43rd and current president of the United States. Bush, a member of the Republican Party, is part of the prominent Bush family, which includes his grandfather (former U.S. Senator Prescott Bush), his father (former President George H. W. Bush), and his brother (Jeb Bush, the current Florida governor).

George Walker Bush
George Walker Bush
Order: 43rd President
Vice President: Dick Cheney
Term of office: January 20, 2001 – Present (Current Term will end on January 20, 2009. He will be ineligible to run for reelection)
Preceded by: Bill Clinton
Succeeded by: Incumbent
Date of birth: July 6, 1946
Place of birth: New Haven, Connecticut
First Lady: Laura Welch Bush
Political party: Republican

Before becoming president, he was a businessman, involved in the oil industry and professional baseball.[1] (http://effort.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/George_W._Bush#fn_oil_and_baseball) He was elected the 46th Governor of Texas, and won the nomination of the Republican Party in the 2000 presidential election. Bush became President, defeating Vice President Al Gore of the Democratic Party in a particularly controversial and close election. Bush was re-elected in 2004, running against Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.

Contents

Personal life, service and education

Bush is the son of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut but grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas, with his siblings: Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy (a younger sister, Robin, died of leukemia in 1953 at the age of three). The family spent the summers and most holidays at the Bush Compound in Maine.

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

Like his father, Bush attended Phillips Academy (September 1961–June 1964) and later Yale University (Sept. 1964–May 1968). At Yale, he joined Delta Kappa Epsilon (of which he was president from October 1965 until graduation) and the Skull and Bones secret society. He was a "C" student, scoring 77 percent (with no As and one D, in astronomy) with a grade point average of 2.35 out of 4.00. He played baseball and rugby union during his freshman and senior years. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1968.

After graduating from Yale, Bush enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard on May 27, 1968, during the Vietnam War, with a commitment to serve until May 26, 1974. He was promoted once, to first lieutenant, on the November 1970 recommendation of Texas Air National Guard commander Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He served as an F-102 pilot until 1972.

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George W. Bush in his National Guard uniform.

In September 1973, he received permission to end his six-year commitment six months early in order to attend Harvard Business School. He transferred to inactive reserve status shortly before being honorably discharged on October 1, 1973. [2] (http://www.usatoday.com/news/bushdocs/2-Discharge.pdf)

It has frequently been alleged that Bush skipped over a waiting list to receive a National Guard slot, that he did not report for required duty from 1972 to 1973, and that he was suspended from flying after he failed to take a required physical examination and drug test. These issues were publicized during the 2004 Presidential campaign by the group Texans for Truth and other Bush critics. See George W. Bush military service controversy for details.

Bush entered Harvard Business School in 1973. He was awarded a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 1975, and is the first U.S. president to hold an MBA degree.

On September 4, 1976, Bush was pulled over by police near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, admitted his guilt, was fined $150, and had his driving license suspended for 30 days within the state. [3] (http://archives.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/11/02/bush.dui/), [4] (http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/bushdui1.html) News of the arrest was uncovered by the press five days before the 2000 presidential election.

Bush has described his days before his religious conversion as his "nomadic" period and "irresponsible youth." and admitted to drinking "too much" in those years; he says that although he never joined Alcoholics Anonymous, he gave up drinking for good shortly after waking up with a hangover after his 40th birthday celebration: "I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then." He ascribed the change in part to a 1985 meeting with The Rev. Billy Graham. [[5] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/bushtext072599.htm)], [[6] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/bush072599.htm)]. In taped recordings of a conversation with an old friend, author Doug Wead, Bush said: “I wouldn’t answer the marijuana question. You know why? Because I don’t want some little kid doing what I tried.” When Wead reminded Bush that the latter had publicly denied using cocaine, Bush replied, "I haven't denied anything." [[7] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4282799.stm)], [[8] (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6999665/)].

Bush married Laura Welch in 1977. They had twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna Bush, born in 1981. In 1986, at the age of 40, he left the Episcopal Church and joined his wife's denomination, the United Methodist Church.

Business and early political career

In 1978, Bush ran for the U.S. House of Representatives but lost to a State Senator, Democrat Kent Hance.

Bush began his career in the oil industry in 1979 when he established Arbusto Energy, an oil and gas exploration company he formed in 1977 with leftover funds from his education trust fund and money from other investors. The 1979 energy crisis hurt Arbusto and, after a name change to Bush Exploration Co., Bush sold the company in 1984 to Spectrum 7, another Texas oil and gas exploration firm. Under the terms of the sale, Spectrum 7 made Bush its Chief Executive Officer. Spectrum 7 lost money, and in 1986 it was merged into Harken Energy Corporation, with Bush becoming a director of Harken.

After working on his father's successful 1988 presidential campaign, he was told by a friend, William DeWitt, Jr., that another family friend, Eddie Chiles, wanted to sell the Texas Rangers, his Arlington-based Major League Baseball franchise. In April 1989, Bush assembled a group of investors from his father's close friends; the group bought 86% of the Rangers for $75 million. (Bush later appointed one of these partners, Tom Schieffer, to the post of Ambassador to Australia.) Bush received a two percent share by investing $606,302, of which $500,000 was a bank loan. Bush paid off the loan by selling $848,000 worth of stock in Harken Energy in 1990. As Harken Energy reported significant financial losses within a year of this sale (as did much of the energy industry due to the recession of the early 1990s), the fact that Bush was advised by his own counsel not to sell his shares later fueled allegations of insider trading. (See George W. Bush insider trading allegations for more information.) The federal Securities and Exchange Commission concluded: "it appears that Bush did not engage in illegal insider trading," but noted that its memo "must in no way be construed as indicating that the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately result."

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Bush's official gubernatorial portrait, hanging in the Texas State Capitol.

Bush served as managing general partner of the Rangers for five years. He was active in the team's media relations and in securing the construction of a new stadium, which opened in 1994 as The Ballpark in Arlington. [9] (http://www.joenickp.com/texas/teamplayer.html) Bush's prominent role with the Rangers gave him valuable goodwill and name recognition throughout Texas. [10] (http://espn.go.com/mlb/bush/friday.html)

In 1994, Bush took a leave of absence from the Rangers to run for Governor of Texas against the popular incumbent, Democrat Ann Richards. On November 8, 1994, he defeated Richards, 53% to 46%.

As Governor, Bush forged a legislative alliance with powerful Texas Lt. Governor Bob Bullock, a longtime Democrat, who held similar political views. Bush went on to become, in 1998, the first Texas governor to be elected for two consecutive four-year terms. (Until 1975, Texas governors served two-year terms.)

During Bush's terms as Governor, he undertook significant legislative changes in the areas of criminal justice, tort law, and school financing. Bush took a hard line on capital punishment, and received much criticism for it. More convicts were executed under his terms than any other Texas governor, although the rate of executions was not unusual for Texas. Although there is much consensus that Bush effected significant changes, there is little consensus as to whether these changes were positive or negative in nature. If nothing else, Bush's transformative agenda, in combination with his political and family pedigree, catapulted him onto the national political radar. As the campaigns to succeed Bill Clinton as president began in earnest, Bush emerged as a key figure.

Presidential campaigns

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George W. Bush speaks at a campaign rally in 2004.

In Bush's 2000 presidential election campaign, he declared himself to be a "compassionate conservative". He campaigned on, among other issues, allowing religious charities to participate in federally funded programs, tax cuts, promoting the use of education vouchers, supporting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, maintaining a balanced federal budget, and restructuring of the armed forces. In foreign policy, he stated that he was against using the U.S. armed forces in nation building attempts abroad.

Al Gore greets President-Elect Bush at the White House in late December of 2000.
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Al Gore greets President-Elect Bush at the White House in late December of 2000.

Bush faced Democratic candidate Vice President Al Gore. Bush took 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266, including the electoral votes of 30 of the 50 states. Neither candidate received a majority of the popular vote -- Bush took 47.9 percent; Gore, 48.4 percent -- but Gore received about 540,000 more of the 105 million votes cast, a margin of about one-half of one percent. Most of the votes that neither Bush nor Gore won went to Green Party candidate Ralph Nader (2,695,696 votes/2.7%), Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, (449,895/0.4%), and Libertarian Party candidate Harry Browne (386,024 votes/0.4%).

It was the first presidential election since 1888 in which the winning candidate received fewer popular votes than his opponent, the first since 1876 in which the winner of the electoral vote was in dispute, and the first ever to be directly affected by a Supreme Court decision.

The Florida vote, which favored Bush by a slim margin in the initial count, was heavily contested after concerns were raised about flaws and irregularities in the voting and tabulation processes. There ensued a series of contentious court cases regarding the legality of county-specific and statewide recounts. After machine and manual recounts in four counties still showed Bush as the winner, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a statewide manual recount of all counties. The Bush campaign appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in its mid-December decision in Bush v. Gore, overturned the decision and halted all recounts. Gore then conceded the election.

In the final official count, Bush won Florida by 537 votes, giving him the state's 25 electoral votes and the presidency. See U.S. presidential election, 2000. (Also see The 2000 Florida Ballot Project.) Bush was inaugurated President on January 20, 2001.

In the 2004 election, Bush won a second term, an electoral majority, and also received 3.5 million popular votes more than his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry. Bush was the first presidential candidate since his father, George H.W. Bush in 1988 to receive a majority of the popular vote. (The intervening elections had seen stronger showings by non-major party candidates such as Ross Perot and Ralph Nader.) His margin over Kerry of about 3 percent was the smallest popular vote margin for a re-elected President since Woodrow Wilson's 1916 victory. As in the 2000 election, there were charges raised alleging voting irregularities, especially in Ohio. In 2004 they did not lead to recounts that were expected to affect the result. After a congressional electoral contest -- the second in American history -- failed, a lawsuit challenging the result in Ohio was withdrawn, because the congressional certification of the electoral votes had rendered the case moot.

Bush was inaugurated for his second term on January 20, 2005; the oath was administered by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Bush's inaugural speech centered mainly on a theme of spreading freedom and democracy around the world. George W. Bush is the only President to win re-election after losing the popular vote in his first election. Of the three other Presidents who lost the popular vote, John Quincy Adams and Benjamin Harrison were defeated in their bids for a second term, and Rutherford B. Hayes did not seek re-election.

Related articles: 2004 U.S. election voting controversies; 2004 U.S. Election controversies and irregularities and its subsidiary articles on 2004 election (voting machines), 2004 election (exit polls), and 2004 election (voter suppression)

Years as President

Presidency

Foreign policy and security

Main article: Foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration

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Bush poses with Swedish Prime Minister G? Persson and former European Union Commission President Romano Prodi at Gunnebo Slott near Gothenburg, Sweden on June 14, 2001.

During his first presidential visit to Europe in June 2001, Bush came under harsh criticism from European leaders for his rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, which is aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming. In 1997, while representatives of the United States and other countries were still negotiating the Kyoto Protocol, the U.S. Senate had, by a vote of 95-0, opposed any global warming treaty that did not require binding commitments from developing nations. Although the Kyoto Protocol was symbolically signed by Peter Burleigh, the acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, in 1998, the Clinton administration never presented it to the Senate for ratification. [11] (http://www.aaas.org/spp/cstc/pne/pubs/stc/bulletin/articles/12-98/kyoto.htm) In 2002, Bush came out strongly against the treaty as harmful to economic growth, stating: "My approach recognizes that economic growth is the solution, not the problem." [12] (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/02/20020214-5.html) The administration also disputed the scientific basis for the treaty. [13] (http://www.alternet.org/story/11054/) In November 2004, Russia ratified the treaty, giving it the required minimum of nations to put it into force without ratification by the United States.

Bush's imposition of a tariff on imported steel and on Canadian soft lumber was controversial in light of his pursuit of other free market policies, and attracted criticism both from his fellow conservatives and from nations affected. The steel tariff was later rescinded under pressure from the World Trade Organization.

In July of 2002, Bush cut off all funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Bush claimed that the UNFPA supported forced abortions and sterilizations in China.

During his campaign, Bush's foreign policy platform included support of a stronger economic and political relationship with Latin America, especially Mexico, and a reduction in involvement in "nation-building" and other small-scale military engagements. However, after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks, the administration focused much more on foreign policy in the Middle East.

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Bush reading "The Pet Goat" in a classroom after being informed of the attack on the World Trade Center.

Shortly after the attacks, Bush launched a war against Afghanistan to topple the Taliban, which he charged with harboring Osama bin Laden. This action had strong international support, and the Taliban government folded quickly after the invasion. Subsequent nation-building efforts in concert with the United Nations under Afghan president Hamid Karzai have had mixed results; bin Laden was not apprehended or killed, and (as of 2005) is still at large. A sizeable contingent of troops and advisors remains into 2005. See U.S. invasion of Afghanistan for details. Democratic elections were held on October 9, 2004. There were allegations of flawed registration and validation, and 15 of the 18 presidential candidates threatened to withdraw, but international observers called the elections "fairly democratic" at the "overall majority" of polling centers.

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Bush addresses rescue workers at Ground Zero in New York, September 14, 2001: "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

On December 14, 2001, Bush withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which had been a bedrock of U.S.-Soviet nuclear stability during the Cold War, arguing it was no longer relevant. Bush has since then focused resources on a ballistic missile defense system. The proposed system has been the subject of much scientific criticism. Field tests have been mixed, with both some successes and failures. It is scheduled to start deployment in 2005. A ballistic missile defense system will not stop cruise missiles, or missiles transported by boat or land vehicle. Hence, many critics of the system believe it is an expensive mistake, built for the least likely attack, a nuclear tipped ballistic missile. Bush has also increased spending on military research and development and the modernization of weapons systems, but cancelled programs such as the Crusader self-propelled artillery system. The administration also began initial research into bunker-busting nuclear missiles.

,  President George W. Bush, and  Prime Minister  after reading statement to the press during the closing moments of the Red Sea Summit in , , ,
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Mahmoud Abbas, United States President George W. Bush, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon after reading statement to the press during the closing moments of the Red Sea Summit in Aqaba, Jordan, June 4, 2003

Iraq

Since the 1998 enactment of the Iraq Liberation Act, stated U.S. policy had been to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. After the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration argued that the Iraq situation had now become urgent. The stated premise was that Saddam's regime had tried to acquire nuclear material and had not properly accounted for biological and chemical material it was known to possess, potential weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in violation of U.N. sanctions. There is debate between supporters and opponents of the war about whether the U.S. had any evidence that Iraq possessed WMD and whether they had any evidence of ties between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. [14] (http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd/Iraq_Oct_2002.htm),[15] (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607,00.html) See Iraq and weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda for full coverage.

Bush contended that Saddam might deliver WMD to terrorists such as al Qaeda. Beginning in 2002 and escalating in spring 2003, Bush pressed the UN to act on its disarmament mandates to Iraq, precipitating a diplomatic crisis. He began by pushing for UN weapons inspections in Iraq, which the UN instituted under UN Security Council Resolution 1441. Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei led UN weapons inspectors in Iraq. There were occasional lapses in cooperation and limits on inspections set by the Iraqi government, leading to intense debate over the efficacy of inspections. Increasing pressure from the United States in the spring of 2003 forced the UN weapons inspectors to discontinue inspections. After Saddam's capture, interrogators asked him, "If you had no weapons of mass destruction then why not let the U.N. inspectors into your facilities?" Saddam replied, "We didn’t want them to go into the presidential areas and intrude on our privacy."

Within the Bush administration, Secretary of State Colin Powell urged that the United States not go to war without UN approval. The administration examined the possibility of seeking a Security Council resolution to authorize the use of military force (in pursuance of Chapter VII (http://www.worldpress.org/specials/iraq/chapterVII.htm) of the United Nations Charter), but abandoned the idea in the face of opposition from the majority of Security Council members and the public threat of a veto from France (cf. The UN Security Council and the Iraq war). Instead, the United States assembled a group of about forty nations, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and Poland, which Bush called the "coalition of the willing".

The coalition invaded Iraq in March, citing many Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq (1441 (http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=S/RES/1441%20(2002)&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC), 1205 (http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=S/RES/1205%20(1998)&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC), 1137 (http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=S/RES/1137%20(1997)&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC), 1134 (http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=S/RES/1134%20(1997)&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC), 1115 (http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=S/RES/1115%20(1997)&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC), 1060 (http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=S/RES/1060%20(1996)&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC), 949 (http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=S/RES/949%20(1994)&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC), 778 (http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=S/RES/778%20(1992)&Lang=E&Area=UNDOC), 715 (http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=S/RES/715%20(1991)&Lang=E&Area=RESOLUTION)), the current and past lack of Iraqi cooperation with those resolutions, Saddam's intermittent refusal to co-operate with UN weapons inspectors, Saddam's alleged attempt to assassinate former president George Bush in Kuwait, and Saddam's violation of the 1991 cease fire agreement. The coalition argued that these resolutions authorized the use of force. Other world leaders, such as U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, disagreed and called the war illegal. The primary stated goal of the war was to stop Iraq from deploying and developing WMD by removing Saddam from power. See 2003 invasion of Iraq for full coverage.

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President George W. Bush addresses sailors and the nation from the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of San Diego, California, where he delivers his famous Mission Accomplished! speech to declare victory and the end of the Iraq War, May 1, 2003.

The coalition was very successful against the conventional Iraqi armed forces, and soon controlled the entire country. After the declared end of major combat operations on May 1, 2003, however, an insurgency caused substantially more problems than U.S. leaders had anticipated. The American public's support for Bush's handling of Iraq declined as the combat wore on. In addition, a bipartisan intelligence review found no credible evidence that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD, although the report did conclude that Hussein's government was actively attempting to acquire technology that would allow Iraq to produce WMD's as soon as U.N. sanctions were lifted. The report also found "no collaborative relationship" between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. Bush has defended his decision, arguing that "The world is safer today." [16] (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2003/09/28/blair_echoes_bush_no_regrets_over_iraq_war?mode=PF) Other disputed issues have included questions about the biased selection and/or distortion of pre-war intelligence reports, democratization of the Middle East, relationship to the War on Terror, effect on the United States' relationship with European powers and on the role and function of the United Nations, debate over nation building, and the impact on nearby countries such as Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey.

The decision-making process of the Bush administration was the subject of a classified British document from 2002, known as the "Downing Street memo", which became public in May 2005. In it, the British Head of the Secret Intelligence Service, Sir Richard Dearlove, reported on his visit to Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2002:

There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

Military spending

Of the $2.4 trillion budgeted for 2005, about $401 billion [17] (http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2004/nr20040202-0301.html) is planned to be spent on defense. Adjusted for inflation, this sum is the highest military budget since the late 1990s, but is roughly comparable to the average during the Cold War. [18] (http://www.d-n-i.net/charts_data/evolution_of_the_fy_2003_budget.htm)

Political ideology

Bush's political ideology is generally referred to as conservative or compassionate conservative, the latter being a term he has used to describe himself; conservatives have criticized Bush for his willingness to incur large budget deficits.

In his 2005 inaugural address he outlined his new foreign policy set forth in the National Security Strategy of the United States of America (pdf) (http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.pdf). Supporters of Bush see this policy as a necessary rejection of "balance of power" politics and a redefinition of America's role in the international forum. Critics of Bush see it as a withdrawal of America from the international forum.

There is some evidence that Bush's foreign policy is heavily influenced by the neo-conservative think tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC). In 1998, for instance, PNAC wrote to then President Bill Clinton saying "American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council" urging the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Many members of PNAC later had prominent positions in the Bush administration which invaded Iraq at a time when other permanent members of the Security Council opposed military action against Iraq.

Domestic policy

Main article: Domestic policy of the George W. Bush administration

Faith-based initiatives

In early 2001, Bush worked with Republicans in Congress to pass legislation changing the way the federal government regulated, taxed and funded charities and non-profit initiatives run by religious organizations. Although prior to the legislation it was possible for these organizations to receive federal assistance, the new legislation removed reporting requirements that required the organizations to separate their charitable functions from their religious functions. Bush also created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/fbci/). Several organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized Bush's faith-based initiative program. Though it does not violate constitutional law, they argue that it opposes The Establishment Clause.

Diversity

Bush is opposed to the legal recognition of same-sex marriages and supports the establishment of civil unions ("I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement" - ABC News October 26, 2004), and has endorsed the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would define marriage as being the union of one man and one woman. Bush reiterated his disagreement with the Republican Party platform that opposed civil unions, and said that the issue of civil unions should be left up to individual states. In his February 2, 2005 State of the Union address he repeated his support for the constitutional amendment.

During Bush's first term, his nominee as ambassador to Romania, Michael E. Guest, became the first openly gay man to be confirmed by the Senate as a U.S. ambassador. (The first openly gay ambassador, James Hormel, received a recess appointment from Bill Clinton after the Senate failed to confirm the nomination.) [19] (http://www.commondreams.org/news2001/0925-01.htm)

Bush has opposed most forms of affirmative action, but expressed appreciation for the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the selection of college applicants for purposes of diversity. Bush has met with the National Urban League as President, but has not yet met with the NAACP as a group since he became president, though he did address the NAACP at its 2000 convention in Baltimore as a presidential candidate, and he met with outgoing NAACP President Kweisi Mfume on December 21, 2004. Colin Powell became the first African-American man to serve as Secretary of State during Bush's first term in office. In 2005 he was succeeded by Condoleezza Rice, who became the first African-American woman to hold the post.

Economy

During his first term Bush sought and obtained Congressional approval for three major tax cuts, which increased the standard income tax deduction for married couples, eliminated the estate tax, and reduced marginal tax rates, and are scheduled to expire a decade after passage. Bush has asked Congress to make the tax cuts permanent.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, by 2003 these tax cuts had reduced total federal revenue, as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to the lowest level since 1959. [20] (http://www.cbpp.org/10-21-03tax.htm)

The effect of the tax cuts and simultaneous increases in spending was to create record budget deficits. In the last year of the Clinton administration, the federal budget showed an annual surplus of more than $230 billion. [21] (http://archives.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/09/27/clinton.surplus/) Under Bush, however, the government returned to deficit spending. The annual deficit reached record current-dollar levels of $374 billion in 2003 and $413 billion in 2004, though as a percentage of GDP these deficits are lower than the post-World War II record set under the Ronald Reagan administration in the 1980s. [22] (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/08/26/politics/main570166.shtml), [23] (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-10-14-deficit_x.htm)

In an open letter to Bush in 2004, more than 100 professors of business and economics at U.S. business schools ascribed this "fiscal reversal" to Bush's "policy of slashing taxes - primarily for those at the upper reaches of the income distribution". [24] (http://www.yubanet.com/artman/publish/article_14283.shtml) Bush's supporters have countered that, primarily because of the doubling of the value of the child tax credit, "7.8 million low and middle-income families had their entire income tax liabilities erased by the cuts." [25] (http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/102.html)

According to the "baseline" forecast of federal revenue and spending by the Congressional Budget Office (in its January 2005 Baseline Budget Projections, [26] (http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=6060&sequence=2)), the trend of growing deficits under Bush's first term will become shrinking deficits in his second term. In this projection the deficit will fall to $368 billion in 2005, $261 billion in 2007, and $207 billion in 2009, with a small surplus by 2012. The CBO noted, however, that this projection "omits a significant amount of spending that will occur this year--and possibly for some time to come--for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other activities related to the global war on terrorism." The projection also assumes that the Bush tax cuts "will expire as scheduled on December 31, 2010." If, as Bush has urged, the tax cuts were to be extended, then "the budget outlook for 2015 would change from a surplus of $141 billion to a deficit of $282 billion."

After the last jobs report before the 2004 election was released, Kerry supporters continued to criticize Bush as the first American president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net loss of jobs during his term. With the subsequent November and December numbers, however, Bush ended up with a net gain of jobs during his first term.

Social Security

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Shortly after his second inauguration, Bush (here seen with a panel in Omaha) toured the nation to promote his proposal for Social Security private accounts.

Bush has called for major changes in Social Security, identifying the issue as a priority for his second term. In 2005, Bush offered a proposal incorporating reductions in benefit levels and partial privatization (allowing individual workers to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts). Most Democrats and some Republicans are critical of such ideas, partly because of the large federal borrowing the plan would require ($1 trillion or more) to finance the transition, and partly because of the problems encountered by the United Kingdom's privatized pension plan. See Social Security debate (United States).

Health

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George W. Bush signing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, surrounded by senators and congressmen.

Bush signed the Medicare Act of 2003, which added prescription drug coverage to Medicare, subsidized pharmaceutical corporations, and prohibited the Federal government from negotiating discounts with drug companies.

Bush is pro-life; his aim, in his words, is to "promote a culture of life."

Education

In January of 2002, Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, which targets supporting early learning, measures student performance, gives options over failing schools, and ensures more resources for schools. Critics (including Senator Kerry and the National Education Association) say schools were not given the resources to help meet new standards, although the House Committee on Education and the Workforce said in June, 2003 that in three years under the Bush administration the Education Department's overall funding would have increased by $13.2 billion [27] (http://edworkforce.house.gov/press/press108/06jun/edspending062003.htm). Some state governments are refusing to implement provisions of the act as long as they are not adequately funded.[28] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52720-2004Feb18.html) In January of 2005, USA Today reported that the United States Department of Education had paid $240,000 to conservative political commentator Armstrong Williams "to promote the law on his nationally syndicated television show and to urge other black journalists to do the same." [29] (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-01-06-williams-whitehouse_x.htm) Williams did not disclose the payments.

Science

Scientists have repeatedly criticized the Bush administration for reducing funding for scientific research, setting restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (Bush's supporters have responded that he is also the first president to give funding to "adult" stem cell research), ignoring scientific consensus on global warming, and hampering cooperation with foreign scientists by enforcing deterring immigration and visa restrictions. In February 2004, over 5,000 scientists (including 48 Nobel Prize winners) from the Union of Concerned Scientists signed a statement "opposing the Bush administration's use of scientific advice". They stated that "the Bush administration has ignored unbiased scientific advice in the policy-making that is so important for our collective welfare." [30] (http://www.ucsusa.org/global_environment/rsi/page.cfm?pageID=1320) [31] (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5722898/)

On January 14, 2004, Bush announced the Vision for Space Exploration, calling for a return to the Moon by 2020, the completion of the International Space Station by 2010 and eventually sending astronauts to Mars. [32] (http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/01/14/bush.space/index.html) Although the plan was met with a largely tepid reception ([33] (http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/world/8572141.htm?1c)), the budget eventually passed with a few minor changes after the November elections. In January 2005 the White House released a new Space Transportation Policy fact sheet (http://www.ostp.gov/html/SpaceTransFactSheetJan2005.pdf) which outlined the administration's space policy in broad terms and tied the development of space transport capabilities to national security requirements.

Environment

Bush's environmental record has been attacked by environmentalists, who charge that his policies cater to industry demands to weaken environmental protections. He signed the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002, authorizing the federal government to begin cleaning up pollution and contaminated sediment in the Great Lakes, as well as the Brownfields Legislation in 2002, accelerating the cleanup of abandoned industrial sites, or brownfields. In December 2003, Bush signed legislation implementing key provisions of his Healthy Forests Initiative; environmental groups have charged that the plan is simply a giveaway to timber companies. Another subject of controversy is Bush's Clear Skies Initiative; opponents say that the initiative will in fact allow utilities to pollute more than they do currently. Bush has opposed the Kyoto Protocol saying it would harm the U.S. economy. Environmental groups note that many Bush Administration officials, in addition to Bush and Cheney, have ties to the energy industry, automotive industry, and other groups that have fought against environmental protections. However, Bush claims his reason for not supporting the Kyoto Protocol is that it is unfairly strict on the U.S. while being unduly lenient with other countries, especially China. He has also questioned the science behind the global warming phenomenon, insisting that more research be done to determine its validity. (See America's Kyoto protocol position.)

Immigration

Bush proposed an immigration bill that would have greatly expanded the use of guest worker visas.

Major appointees

Cabinet

OFFICENAMETERM
President George W. Bush 2001—
Vice President Richard B. Cheney 2001—
State Colin L. Powell 2001–2005
Condoleezza Rice 2005—
Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld 2001—
Treasury Paul H. O'Neill 2001–2003
John W. Snow 2003—
Justice John D. Ashcroft 2001–2005
Alberto R. Gonzales 2005—
Interior Gale A. Norton 2001—
Agriculture Ann M. Veneman 2001–2005
Mike Johanns 2005—
Commerce Donald L. Evans 2001–2005
Carlos M. Gutierrez 2005—
Labor Elaine L. Chao 2001—
HHS Tommy G. Thompson 2001–2005
Michael O. Leavitt 2005—
HUD Melquiades R. Martinez 2001–2003
Alphonso R. Jackson 2004—
Transportation Norman Y. Mineta 2001—
Energy E. Spencer Abraham 2001–2005
Samuel W. Bodman 2005—
Education Roderick R. Paige 2001–2005
Margaret Spellings 2005—
Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi 2001–2005
James Nicholson 2005—
Homeland Security Thomas J. Ridge 2003–2005
Michael Chertoff 2005—

Bush's cabinet included the largest number of minorities of any U.S. federal cabinet to date, including the first Asian-American female cabinet secretary (Chao). This gives it the distinction of being both the most racially diverse, and, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the wealthiest cabinet ever.

There is one non-Republican present in Bush's cabinet: Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, the first Asian-American cabinet secretary, who had previously served as Secretary of Commerce under Bill Clinton, is a Democrat.

His cabinet included figures prominent in past administrations, notably Colin Powell, who had served as United States National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George H. W. Bush and Clinton, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who had served in the same position under Gerald Ford.
Also, Vice President Richard Cheney served as Secretary of Defense under George H. W. Bush.

Other advisors and officials


Among these appointees, Negroponte, Abrams, and Poindexter, along with Otto Reich (Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere for the Secretary of State) were criticized for their roles in the Iran-Contra Affair and for allegedly covering up human rights abuses in Central and South America.

Some of Bush's other appointments have been noted as reflecting a preference for family members of favored officials. These include: J. Strom Thurmond Jr. (Senator Strom Thurmond's son) as South Carolina's U.S. Attorney, Eugene Scalia (Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's son) as Solicitor for the Labor Department, Janet Rehnquist (U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist's daughter) as Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (later fired for firearms charges and inappropriate job terminations), and Elizabeth Cheney (Vice President Cheney's daughter) to the newly created position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near-East Affairs.

Major legislation signed

Public perception and assessments

Bush has been the subject of both high praise and stringent criticism. His supporters have focused on matters such as the economy, homeland security, and especially his leadership after the September 11 attacks. His detractors have disagreed on those subjects and have also criticized the passage of the Patriot Act, the controversial 2000 election, and the occupation of Iraq. The magazine TIME named Bush as its Person of the Year for 2000 and for 2004. This award is traditionally given to the person considered by the editors to be the most important newsmaker of the year.

Domestic

Bush as TIME Person of the Year 2004.
Enlarge
Bush as TIME Person of the Year 2004.

In the time of national crisis following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Bush enjoyed approval ratings of greater than 85%. He maintained these extraordinary ratings (the highest approval ratings of any president since such regular polls began in 1938) for some months following the attack. They gradually dropped to lower levels, but stayed above 50% for two and half years [35] (http://www.hist.umn.edu/~ruggles/Approval.htm).

During the 2002 midterm congressional elections, Bush had the highest approval rating of any president during a midterm election since Dwight Eisenhower. In an unusual deviation from the historical trend of midterm elections, the Republican Party retook control of the Senate and added to their majority in the House of Representatives; typically, the President's party loses Congressional seats in the midterm elections, and 2002 marked only the third midterm election since the Civil War that the party in control of the White House gained seats in both houses of Congress (others were 1902 and 1934).

In 2003, Bush's approval ratings slowly fell, except for a spike upward at the time of the invasion of Iraq. By late 2003, his approval numbers were in the low to middle 50s, still solid for the third year of a Presidency, when opponents typically begin their campaigns in earnest. Most polls tied the decline to growing concern over the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and a slow recovery from the 2001 recession. Polls of May 2004 showed anywhere from a 53 percent approval rating [36] (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Bush_Job_Approval.htm) to a 46 percent approval rating. [37] (http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/polls/usatodaypolls.htm) A recent Zogby poll showed Bush's approval rating a 46% for the month of March, 2005 - the lowest Bush had ever received, but with the exception of John F. Kennedy, the highest low-point rating of any President since polls began.

Over the course of Bush's presidency, tensions between him and former president Bill Clinton have eased. Although Bush and his predecessor have great ideological differences, the two appear to have formed a friendship.

President Bush and French President  during the G-8 sessions, July 21, 2001.
Enlarge
President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac during the G-8 sessions, July 21, 2001.

Outside the United States

In general, Bush is less popular abroad than he is in the United States. Although the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was widely supported, the 2003 invasion of Iraq particularly provoked charges of unilateralism. Polls indicate that the invasion was followed by erosion of support among Europeans for Bush. [38] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3081254.stm) A survey in 2004 found a negative view of him held by a majority of people in Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Spain, and Canada. [39] (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/04/world/main604135.shtml) In Muslim countries Bush's unfavorability ratings are particularly high, often over 90%. [40] (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/02/opinion/02wright.html) Among the non-U.S. nations polled in a worldwide study, Bush's popularity was highest in Israel, where 62% reported favorable views. [41] (http://www.cbc.ca/news/america/poll.html) Before the 2004 election, Kerry was preferred to Bush, sometimes by a wide margin, in 30 out of 35 countries polled. After the election, majorities in most countries said that they expected Bush's second term to have a negative impact on peace and security.

Selected quotations

See List of Bushisms.

See also

History Clipart and Pictures

Media

Template:Multi-listen start Template:Multi-listen item Template:Multi-listen item Template:Multi-listen end

References

Further reading

External links

Official

Speeches

Transcripts

Notes

Template:Anb The White House (2005). Biography of President George W. Bush (http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/gwbbio.html). Retrieved June 21, 2005. "Owner, oil and gas business" "Partner, Texas Rangers Baseball Team"


Preceded by:
Ann Richards
Governor of Texas
1995–2000
Succeeded by:
Rick Perry
Preceded by:
Bob Dole
Republican Party Presidential candidate
2000 (won), 2004 (won)
Succeeded by:
most recent
Preceded by:
Bill Clinton
President of the United States
January 20, 2001
Succeeded by:
Incumbent

Template:End box

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