George W. Bush

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George Walker Bush
George Walker Bush
Term of office January 20, 2001 – Present
Preceded by Bill Clinton
Succeeded by Incumbent
Date of birth July 6, 1946
Place of birth New Haven,
Spouse Laura Welch Bush
Political party Republican

George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States and a former Governor of the State of Texas. A lifelong member of the Republican Party, he served in the Texas Air National Guard, and was a businessman in both the oil industry and professional sports, serving as managing general partner of the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Bush was elected 46th Governor of Texas in 1994, and was re-elected in 1998. He won the Republican nomination in the 2000 presidential election, and was elected President in a particularly close general election with a controversial aftermath that resulted in U.S. Supreme Court intervention. Bush was elected to a second term in the 2004 election.

Bush is a member of a prominent political family. His father, George H. W. Bush, served as U.S. President for one term and twice as Reagan's Vice President. His brother, Jeb Bush, is the current Governor of Florida. His grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a United States Senator. He also has two other younger brothers, Marvin Bush and Neil Bush, both businessmen. He and John Quincy Adams are the only sons of former Presidents to become President themselves.


Education, military service, and early personal life

George and Laura Bush with their daughters Jenna and Barbara, 1990.
George and Laura Bush with their daughters Jenna and Barbara, 1990.
Main article: Early life of George W. Bush

The son of former President George H. W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush (née Pierce), George Walker Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He identified himself as a native of Texas, after his family moved there when he was nearly 2. He was raised in Midland, Texas, and Houston, Texas, with his younger brothers Jeb, Neil, and Marvin and his sister Dorothy.

After graduating from the Phillips Academy in June 1964, Bush attended Yale University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1968. As a senior, Bush was selected for the secret Skull and Bones society. In May 1968, he joined the Texas Air National Guard. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on the November 1970 recommendation of his commander Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He served as an F-102 pilot until 1972.

In 1973, he obtained permission to end his six-year service obligation six months early, and left to attend Harvard Business School, from which he received his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in 1975; he is the first U.S. President to hold an MBA. Two years later, he married Laura Welch, a librarian originally from Midland. They have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, born in 1981. Bush is the only U.S. President to be the father of twins.

George W. Bush in his National Guard uniform.
George W. Bush in his National Guard uniform.

Bush's military service record has been a point of controversy, especially during the 2004 presidential election. His critics have alleged that he skipped over a waiting list to receive a National Guard slot, was absent from duty from 1972 to 1973, and was suspended from flying after missing a required physical examination and drug screening. These specific issues came to greater prominence during the 2004 Presidential campaign as a result of endeavors by the group Texans for Truth. Bush supporters claimed that the surviving documentary evidence regarding Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard, including pay records and the official honorable discharge papers, indicated that Bush served honorably. Skeptics note that many of the official records can no longer be found and that the matter is at best ambiguous. Barring the discovery of documents that are either exculpatory or incriminating - the issue is unlikely to be settled conclusively. See George W. Bush military service controversy. On September 4, 1976, near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, police arrested Bush for driving under the influence of alcohol. He pleaded guilty, was fined $150, and had his driving license suspended for 30 days within Maine. [1] [2] News of the arrest was published five days before the 2000 presidential election. Bush has described his days before his religious conversion in his 40s as his "nomadic" period of "irresponsible youth" and admitted to drinking "too much" in those years. He says he changed to a sober lifestyle shortly after waking up hung-over after his 40th birthday celebration. He attributed the change partly to a 1985 meeting with Reverend Billy Graham though by his own admission he did still drink as recently as July 1986. [3] [4] [5]

Bush has stated he did not use illegal drugs at any time since 1974. [6] He has denied unsupported allegations by author James Hatfield that family influence was used to expunge the record of an arrest for cocaine possession in 1972, but has refused to discuss whether he used drugs before 1974. [7] [8] [9] Wead later acknowledged that the recordings of Bush were made without Bush's permission. [10] See George W. Bush substance abuse controversy.

Religious beliefs and practices

After meeting evangelist Billy Graham in 1985, Bush became much more involved in Christian belief and practice.[11] During this period, he left the Bush family's Episcopalian faith to join his wife's United Methodist Church, a denomination that espouses a more socially conservative worldview. Later, in one of the televised debates in the 2000 Republican primaries, all participating candidates were asked to name the philosopher that had most impacted their life. Bush responded by naming "Jesus Christ" — stating that Jesus was the one who had simply "changed his life."

Professional life


Bush began his oil industry career in 1979 when he established Arbusto Energy, an oil and gas exploration company he financed with his education trust fund surplus and money from other investors. In 1984, Bush sold the company, hurt in the wake of the 1979 energy crisis and renamed Bush Exploration Co., to Spectrum 7, another Texas oil and gas exploration firm. Under the terms of the sale, Bush became CEO (Chief Executive Officer). Spectrum 7 lost revenue and was merged into Harken Energy Corporation in 1986, with Bush becoming a director of Harken.

After working on his father's successful 1988 presidential campaign, Bush learned from fellow Yale alumnus William DeWitt, Jr., that family friend Eddie Chiles wanted to sell the Texas Rangers baseball franchise. In April 1989, Bush assembled a group of investors from his father's close friends, including fellow fraternity brother Roland W. Betts; the group bought an 86% share of the Rangers for $75 million. Bush received a 2% share by investing $606,302, of which $500,000 was a bank loan. Against the advice of his counsel, Bush repaid the loan by selling $848,000 worth of stock in Harken Energy. Harken reported significant financial losses within a year of this sale, triggering allegations of insider trading. On March 27, 1992, the Securities and Exchange Commission concluded that Bush had a "preexisting plan" to sell, that Bush had a "relatively limited role in Harken management", and that it had not seen evidence of insider trading. [12] [13] [14] [15] See Harken Energy Scandal.

As managing general partner of the Rangers, Bush assisted the team's media relations and the construction of a new stadium. [16] His public role generated valuable goodwill and reinforced name recognition throughout Texas that was already high as he had the identical name as his father who was President during this era. [17]

Political career

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

Bush started his political career assisting his father's 1964 and 1970 campaigns for the U.S Senate neither of which were successful. After a United States National Guard transfer in 1972, he served as political director for an Alabama senate campaign. In 1978, Bush ran for the U.S. House of Representatives but lost to a State Senator, Democrat Kent Hance (now Republican). Ronald Reagan endorsed Bush's opponent in the Republican primary.

In 1994, Bush ran for Governor of Texas against the popular incumbent, Democrat Ann Richards. On November 8, 1994, he defeated Richards by a margin of 53% to 46%. That same year, he and his partners sold the Texas Rangers, with Bush realizing a profit of more than $14 million. As Governor, Bush forged a legislative alliance with powerful Lt. Governor Bob Bullock, a longtime Democrat. In 1998 Bush went on to win re-election in a landslide victory with nearly 69% of the vote, becoming the first Texas governor to be elected for two consecutive four-year terms (before 1975, the gubernatorial term of office was two years). [18] During Bush's governorship, he undertook significant legislative changes in criminal justice, tort law, and school financing. Bush took a hard line on capital punishment and received much criticism from advocates who wanted to abolish the death penalty and also those who argued that there were tangible imperfections in the Texas legal system that required a more cautious approach to carrying out the death penalty. Under Bush, Texas's incarceration rate was 1014 inmates per 100,000 in 1999, the second-highest in the nation, owing mainly to lengthy sentences for drug offences. In September 1999, Bush signed the Texas Futile Care Law. Bush's transformative agenda and family pedigree now provided an opportunity to advance his political career to the national level.

Presidential campaigns

2000 campaign

Advisors convinced George W. Bush that the 2000 election would be the right time to run for president. He had more than enough money, and the Republican Party lacked any single strong candidate. Before he had even committed to the race, he was the clear favorite in the polls. During Bush's 2000 presidential election campaign, he declared himself a "compassionate conservative". In the general election, Bush's political campaign promised to "restore honor and dignity to the White House" and pledged a huge tax cut intended to give a large part of the projected budget surplus back to the taxpayers. Among other issues, he also advocated allowing religious charity to participate in federally funded programs, promoting the use of education vouchers, supporting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, maintaining a balanced budget, and restructuring the United States armed forces. On foreign policy, Bush declared himself 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.
Al Gore greets President-elect Bush at the White House in late December of 2000.

Bush lost the New Hampshire primary in a bruising, bitter fight with Senator John McCain of Arizona, but he rebounded to capture 9 of 13 Super Tuesday states, effectively clinching the nomination. Bush then chose Dick Cheney, a former U.S. Representative and Secretary of Defense for Bush's father, as his running mate. After months of the presidential candidates jockeying for the support of moderate and undecided voters, election night turned out to be even closer than anticipated. Television networks called the race first for Gore, then for Bush, and finally too close to call. Al Gore, who had conceded the election in a phone call to Bush, rescinded that concession less than one hour later. When the race was finally adjudicated, Bush was declared to have defeated Democratic candidate Vice President Al Gore, winning 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266, carrying 30 of the 50 states. Gore had actually won a slight majority of the national popular vote of the roughly 105,000,000 votes cast, with Bush receiving 50,456,002 votes (47.9%) and Gore 50,999,897 (48.4%) but this fact is not relevant in deciding presidential elections. Notable third-party candidates included Green Party candidate Ralph Nader (2,695,696 votes/2.7%), Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, (449,895/0.4%), and Libertarian candidate Harry Browne (386,024 votes/0.4%).

The Presidential Election of 2000 was the first since Benjamin Harrison's 1888 election to produce a winner that did not receive a plurality of the popular vote. It was the first since Rutherford Hayes was elected in U.S. presidential election, 1876 in which the Supreme Court affected the decision. The Florida vote count, which favored Bush in preliminary tallies, was contested over allegations of irregularities in the voting and tabulation processes. Allegations of confusing ballots, defective voting machines, faulty absentee ballots from the military, and illegal barring of many voters threw the process into chaos.

A series of court cases ensued over the legality of county-specific and statewide recounts. After machine and manual recounts in four counties, and with Bush still prevailing, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a statewide manual recount of all counties. The U.S. Supreme Court, upon appeal from the Bush campaign (Bush v. Gore), overturned the decision and halted all recounts. Justices Souter and Thomas have been criticized for not recusing themselves from a case involving the son of the President who appointed them. After the ruling, Gore reinstated his concession. Months later the statewide manual recount of all counties was completed by a group of newspapers and it was determined that Al Gore had won in Florida under some counting standards and had lost to Bush under other counting standards.[19][20] Since the Florida Supreme Court did not define precisely the ballot counting standard to be used in the statewide manual recount of all counties, it remains disputed who would have won the state if the manual recount had not been halted by the U.S. Supreme Court. In the final official count, Bush had won Florida by only 537 votes (2,912,790 for Bush to 2,912,253 for Gore) [21], earning the needed 25 electoral votes and the presidency. Bush was inaugurated January 20, 2001. After the election and the inauguration, a consortium of major American news organizations, including the New York Times, The Washington Post, Tribune Co. (Newsday's parent company), The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press and CNN, spent nearly a year and $900,000 reexamining every disputed ballot. They determined that under Florida law at the time for counting votes, Gore won Florida, and thus the presidency, by 171 votes.

2004 campaign

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

In the 2004 election, Bush carried 31 of 50 states for 286 Electoral College votes. A record voter turnout gave him more popular votes than any previous presidential candidate (62,040,610 votes/50.7%). Challenger, Senator John Kerry (Democrat), carried 19 states and the District of Columbia, earning him 251 Electoral College votes (59,028,111 votes/48.3%). A faithless elector, pledged to Kerry, voted for Democratic Vice Presidential running mate, John Edwards, giving him one Electoral College vote. No other candidate won College votes. Notable third-party candidates included Independent Ralph Nader (463,653 votes / 0.4%), and Libertarian Michael Badnarik (397,265 votes/0.3%). Congress debated potential election irregularities, including allegations of voting irregularities in Ohio and electronic voting machine fraud.

Bush was inaugurated for his second term on January 20, 2005. The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist. Bush's inaugural address centered mainly on a theme of spreading freedom and democracy around the world.

Important people in Bush's life and career

Bush is recognized as a born-again Christian, very close to his wife Laura, his father George H. W. Bush and mother Barbara Bush. He is also close to his sister Dorothy Bush Koch and brother Marvin Bush. Loyalty to family is an important cornerstone of Bush's attitude to his family relationships, and despite some differences in policy and attitudes, and independent of each other, Bush and his brother Jeb Bush have worked closely to help each other's political career.

In his career, Bush values loyalty as the greatest asset, and has developed a close band of advisors deeply loyal to him. In his second term, he has elevated them from personal political jobs to top government positions.

Some of the closest and most trusted advisors to Bush in affairs of policy and politics are women. Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State was Bush's close confidant in the first term as National Security Advisor, and a Bush loyalist. Margaret Spellings was Bush's chief domestic policy advisor from his days as Governor of Texas, and now runs the U.S. Department of Education. Moreover, Karen Hughes was one of Bush's most trusted political advisors, playing important roles in all his campaigns from 1994 to 2004. She was briefly White House Counsel, and now is undersecretary of state for public diplomacy — responsible for the specific mission of improving America's image in the world, and particularly with Muslim countries. Harriet Miers was legal counsel and a close loyalist to Bush in Texas and, since Bush's second term commenced, she has served as White House counsel. Bush nominated Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court on October 3, 2005 to fill the shoes of retiring associate justice Sandra Day O'Connor, yet she withdrew her nomination 24 days later after peculiar criticism of Miers via Bush's own conservative base, due to her possession of no prior written legal opinions or any juidical experience whatsoever.

Karl Rove has played perhaps the greatest influence on Bush's life and career. Ever since meeting in 1972, Rove built Bush's political campaign machine when he decided to run for Texas's governorship in 1994, and was his closest political advisor. When elected President in 2001, Bush asked Rove to give up his direct mail business and join him full-time in Washington. Officially designated White House political advisor, Rove designed the political strategy to enact Bush's legislative agenda, and guide the political strategy on important national issues of both the White House and the Republican Party, in view to the 2004 re-election campaign. After winning re-election, Bush called Rove The Architect of his campaign, and Rove now serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, for domestic policy and national security. Rove is also responsible for the elevation of Bush loyalist Republicans like Ken Mehlman, Bush's campaign manager and now Chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Alberto Gonzales was the Governor's legal counsel in Texas, and later Attorney General. He joined Bush in 2001 in Washington, and in 2005, was appointed U.S. Attorney General, the first Hispanic American ever to run the U.S. Justice Department.

Colin Powell's exit as Secretary of State in 2004 is widely attributed to his lacking a personal rapport with the President and not merging his political image and fortunes with those of the President.

Presidency of the United States

Main articles: George W. Bush's first term as President of the United States, George W. Bush's second term as President of the United States
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, on June 4, 2003
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, on June 4, 2003

First Term

Bush's first 100 days were considered less bipartisan than he pledged during the campaign. His cabinet appointees were largely white Republican men of his father's staff, with a few exceptions like Colin Powell for Secretary of State. His most controversial appointment was John Ashcroft as Attorney General. Democrats vigorously opposed Ashcroft for his strong, socially conservative positions on issues like abortion and capital punishment, though they eventually confirmed him. On his first day in office, Bush moved to block federal aid to foreign groups that offered counseling or any other assistance to women in obtaining abortions. Days later, he announced his commitment to channeling more federal aid to faith-based service organizations that critics feared would dissolve the traditional separation of church and state.

Republicans lost control of the Senate in June, when Vermont's James Jeffords quit the Republican party to become an independent, but not before five Senate Democrats crossed party lines to approve Bush's $1.35 billion tax cut. Less than three months later, however, the administration released budget projections that showed the budget surplus dwindling to nothing over the next several years.

Political ideology

Bush describes his ideology as compassionate conservatism. Some conservatives have questioned Bush's commitment to traditional conservative ideals for his willingness to incur large budget deficits by permitting substantial spending increases. In his 2005 inaugural address he outlined his vision of foreign policy and claimed plan for democracy promotion, National Security Strategy of the United States of America (pdf).

Foreign policy and security

Chief of Staff Andrew Card informs Bush of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks during a visit to a school in Florida.
Chief of Staff Andrew Card informs Bush of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks during a visit to a school in Florida.
Main article: Foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration

During his first presidential visit to Europe in June 2001, European leaders criticized Bush for his rejection of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce global warming. In 2002, Bush rejected the treaty as harmful to economic growth in the United States, stating: "My approach recognizes that economic growth is the solution, not the problem." [22] The administration also disputed the scientific basis of the treaty. [23] In November 2004, Russia ratified the treaty, meeting the quota of nations required to enforce it without ratification by the United States.

Bush's foreign policy campaign platform supported a stronger economic and political relationship with Latin America, especially Mexico, and reduced involvement in "nation-building" and other minor military engagements indirectly related to U.S. interests. However, after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks (9/11 attacks), the State Department focused primarily on the Middle East.


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."
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 October 7, 2001, the United States, with international support, launched a war against the Afghani Taliban regime, charged with harboring Osama bin Laden. Subsequent nation-building efforts with the United Nations and Afghan president Hamid Karzai have had mixed results; bin Laden (as of 2005) is still at large. Democratic elections were held on October 9, 2004. Even though international observers called the elections "fairly democratic" at the "overall majority" of polling centers, 15 of the 18 presidential candidates nevertheless threatened to withdraw alleging of flawed registration and validation.[24]

Days after taking office, Bush stated "I am going to go forward with... plans for a missile defense system."[25] To accomplish this deployment, Bush announced on May 1, 2001 his desire to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and deploy a missile defense system with the ability to shield against a limited attack by a rogue state. [26] The American Physical Society criticized this policy change, citing doubts about the system's effectiveness. [27] Bush argued this was justified as the treaty's Cold War benefits were no longer relevant. The official notification of withdrawal from the treaty was announced on 13 December 2001, citing the need to protect against terrorism. While there is past precedent for a President to cancel a treaty, most past cases have involved Congressional authorization. [28]


Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration promoted urgent action in Iraq, stating that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and that Hussein was a threat to U.S. security, destabilized the Middle East, inflamed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and financed terrorists. CIA reports asserted that Saddam Hussein had tried to acquire nuclear material, had not properly accounted for Iraqi biological weapons and chemical weapons material in violation of U.N. sanctions, and that some Iraqi missiles had a range greater than allowed by the UN sanctions. [29] [30]

President Bush in a flight suit on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.
President Bush in a flight suit on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Asserting that Saddam Hussein could provide terrorists with WMD, Bush urged the United Nations to enforce Iraqi disarmament mandates, precipitating a diplomatic crisis. On November 13, 2002, under UN Security Council Resolution 1441, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei led UN weapons inspectors in Iraq. Lapses in Iraqi cooperation triggered intense debate over the efficacy of inspections. UN inspection teams departed Iraq upon U.S. advisement given four days prior to full-scale hostilities. [31]

Secretary of State Colin Powell urged his colleagues in the Bush administration to avoid a war without clear UN approval. The Bush administration initially sought a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the military force pursuant to Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter but, facing vigorous opposition from key nations including the public threat of an embarrassing French veto, dropped the bid for UN approval and, with a few other nations designated the "coalition of the willing", prepared for war. [32]

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 controversial Mission Accomplished! speech to declare victory and the end of major combat operations in Iraq, May 1, 2003.
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 controversial Mission Accomplished! speech to declare victory and the end of major combat operations in Iraq, May 1, 2003.

Military hostilities commenced on March 20, 2003 to preempt Iraqi WMD deployment and remove Hussein from power. Casus belli included Hussein's hindering weapons inspections, an alleged 1991 assassination attempt on Bush's father George H. W. Bush, breach of a 1991 ceasefire, and violation of numerous Security Council resolutions. Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan and other world leaders questioned the war's legality. Bush declared victory on May 1, 2003, but U.S. deployment and casualties have continued through 2005 despite the capture of Hussein, because of ongoing Iraqi insurgencies.

On September 30, 2004, the U.S. Iraq Survey Group Final Report concluded, "ISG has not found evidence that Saddam Husayn (sic) possessed WMD stocks in 2003, but the available evidence from its investigation—including detainee interviews and document exploitation—leaves open the possibility that some weapons existed in Iraq although not of a militarily significant capability." [33] The 9/11 Commission report 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 as soon as U.N. sanctions were lifted. [34] In addition, the 9/11 commission found that despite contacts between Iraq and Al-Qaeda in 1996, "no collaborative relationship" emerged in regards to the attacks on 9/11. [35]


Bush proposed an immigration bill that would have greatly expanded the use of guest worker visas. His proposal would match employers with foreign workers for a period up to six years; however workers would not be eligible for permanent residency ("green cards") or citizenship. The bill is opposed by certain Democrat Senators such as Barbara Boxer and Edward M. Kennedy.


Bush's imposition of a tariff on imported steel and on Canadian softwood lumber was controversial in light of his advocacy of free market policies in other areas, 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. The softwood lumber dispute is still ongoing.

Domestic Policy

Faith-based initiatives

In early 2001, Bush worked with Republicans and social conservatives 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. [36]

Several organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized Bush's faith-based initiative program, arguing that it involves government entanglement with religion and favoritism to religion in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Diversity and civil rights

Bush is opposed to the legal recognition of gender-neutral marriage, but 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). He 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.

Bush is the first Republican president to have appointed an openly gay man to serve in his administration [37] (Scott Evertz as director of the Office of National AIDS Policy), and the first president to see one such appointment, that of openly gay Ambassador to Romania Michael E. Guest, receive Congressional confirmation. Bush has claimed to support the executive order issued by President Bill Clinton banning employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but Scott Bloch, whom Bush chose as Special Counsel in 2003, does not feel he has the legal authority to enforce the ban. [38] During his 2000 campaign trail he met with the Log Cabin Republicans, a first for a Republican Presidential candidate. The organization endorsed him in 2000 but not in 2004.

Bush obtained a statistically significant increase in support from African-Americans for a republican candidate during his presidency. Although he only got 9% of the black vote in 2000, he received nearly 12% in 2004, with the increased black vote in Ohio giving the victory to Bush over Kerry.

Although Bush expressed appreciation for the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the selection of college applicants for purposes of diversity, his Administration filed briefs against it. Bush has said he opposes quotas and racial preferences, but that the private and public sector should be encouraged to reach out to minorities.

An August 2005 report by the United States Commission on Civil Rights states that "the government fails to seriously consider race-neutral alternatives as the Constitution requires."[39] Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds explained, "Federal agencies do not independently evaluate, conduct research, collect data, or periodically review programs to determine whether race-neutral strategies will provide an adequate alternative to race-conscious programs." Civil rights groups have expressed concern that this report is an attack on affirmative action inconsistent with Grutter v. Bollinger.

In his first term, Bush appointed Colin Powell as Secretary of State, who became the first African-American man to serve in that position. He was succeeded by Condoleezza Rice in 2005, who became the first African-American woman to hold the post. In 2005, he appointed Alberto Gonzalez as the United States Attorney General, the first Hispanic to hold that position. In total, Bush has appointed more women and minorities to high-level positions within his administration than any other U.S. President.


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. The cuts are currently scheduled to expire a decade after passage. Bush has asked Congress to make the tax cuts permanent. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the economy suffered from a recession that lasted from March 2001 to November 2001.

Federal spending in constant dollars increased under Bush by 26% in his first 4 and a half years. Non-defense spending increased 18% in that time.[40]

The tax cuts, recession, and increases in outlays all contributed to record budget deficits during the Bush administration. The annual deficit reached record current-dollar levels of $374,000,000,000 in 2003 and $413,000,000,000 in 2004. National debt, the cumulative total of yearly deficits, rose from $5.7 trillion (58% of GDP) to $7.9 trillion (68% of GDP) under Bush, as compared to the $2.7 trillion total debt owed when Ronald Reagan left office, which was 52% of the GDP.

According to the "baseline" forecast of federal revenue and spending by the Congressional Budget Office (in its January 2005 Baseline Budget Projections,[41] the budget deficits will decrease over the next several years. In this projection the deficit will fall to 368,000,000,000 (USD) in 2005, 261,000,000,000 (USD) in 2007, and 207,000,000,000 (USD) 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 141,000,000,000 (USD) to a deficit of 282,000,000,000 (USD)".

Inflation under Bush has remained at about 2-3% per year. The recession and a drop in some prices led to concern about deflation from mid-2001 to late-2003. More recently, high oil prices have caused concern about increasing inflation. So far, the economy has withstood these threats.

Unemployment percentage, 2000–2005
Unemployment percentage, 2000–2005

Private employment has decreased significantly under Bush according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Payroll Survey. After private employment (seasonally adjusted) peaked at 111,680,000 in December 2000, it dropped to 108,250,000 in mid-2003. The percentage drop in jobs was the largest since 1981-1983.

The economy added private jobs for 25 consecutive months (July 2003 to August 2005), but the private employment level remained below the pre-Bush level until June 2005 when it reached 111,828,000. Considering population growth, that still represents a 4.6% decrease in employment since Bush took office.

Poverty Rate, 1973 to Present
Poverty Rate, 1973 to Present

The Current Population Survey (aka Household Survey) measures the percentage of the population that is employed and unemployed. The result can be multiplied by population estimates to get total employment estimates. This survey has the advantage over the Payroll survey in that it includes self-employed. The Household Survey is less accurate in producing total numbers (since it requires population estimates) and in that it samples many fewer people (60,000 households versus 400,000 business establishments). For better or worse, the Household Survey counts multiple jobs held by one person only once, and it includes government workers, farm workers, unpaid family workers, and workers absent without pay. The Household Survey indicates that the percentage of the population employed decreased from 64.4% in December 2000 and January 2001 to 62.1% in August and September of 2003. By August 2005, it had recovered only to 62.9%. In absolute numbers, this corresponds to a drop of 1.6 million jobs but an eventual net gain of 4.7 million jobs during the Bush administration.[42]

Under Bush, the seasonally adjusted Unemployment Rate based on the Household Survey started at 4.7% in January 2001, peaked at 6.2% in June 2003, and retreated to 4.9% in August 2005.

In September 2005, total private average weekly earnings in constant dollars as measured by the Payroll Survey dropped to their lowest level since July 1998. While Hurricane Katrina and associated price increases may have played a role, real earnings had decreased for seven of the prior eight months. Through 2002-2004, earnings had been slightly higher than when Bush came into office.

The rise in GDP since the recession was undergirded by substantial gains in labor productivity, in part due to layoffs of underutilized workers. Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade and budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups.

While the GDP recovered from the recession that Bush had inherited from the previous administration, poverty has since worsened according to the Census Bureau. The percent of the population below the poverty level increased in each of Bush's first four years, while it decreased for each of the prior seven years to a 11-year low. Although the poverty level increased, it is important to note that the increase was still lower between 2000-2002 then it was between 1992-1997 (which reached a peak of 39.3% in 1993). In 2002 the poverty rate was 34.6% which was almost equal to the rate in 1998, which was 34.5%. Poverty was at 12.7% in 2004. [43]

Social security

Shortly after his second inauguration, Bush (here seen with a panel in Omaha, Nebraska) toured the nation to promote his proposal for Social Security (United States) personal accounts.
Shortly after his second inauguration, Bush (here seen with a panel in Omaha, Nebraska) toured the nation to promote his proposal for Social Security (United States) personal accounts.
Main article: Social Security debate (United States)

Bush called for major changes in Social Security (United States), identifying the issue as a priority early in his second term. From January through April of 2005, he toured the country, stopping in over 50 cities across the union with an argument that there is a "crisis". Initially, Bush emphasized his proposal for partial privatization, which would allow individual workers to invest a portion of their Social Security Tax (FICA) into personal retirement accounts. The main idea behind this privatization of Social Security is to allow workers to own the money they place into retirement.

One criticism of this approach was that it might actually worsen the imbalance between revenues and expenses that Bush pointed to as a looming problem. In addition, many Democrats opposed changes that they felt were turning Social Security into a welfare program that would be politically vulnerable. Some even claim that the point of Bush's plan is to benefit private companies, and that it would turn Social Security into just another insurance program.


George W. Bush signing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, surrounded by senators and congressmen. (click on image for details)
George W. Bush signing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, surrounded by senators and congressmen. (click on image for details)

In July of 2002, Bush cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Bush claimed that the UNFPA supported forced abortions and sterilizations in the People's Republic of China. [44]

Bush signed the Medicare Act of 2003, which added prescription drug coverage to Medicare (United States), subsidized pharmaceutical corporations, and prohibited the Federal government from negotiating discounts with drug companies. Bush said the law, estimated to cost 400,000,000,000 (USD) over the first 10 years, would give the elderly "better choices and more control over their health care". Seniors can buy a Medicare-approved discount card for $30 or less to help offset the increasing costs of prescription drugs. The legislation also adds prescription drug coverage to the federal health insurance program for the elderly, starting in 2006. The bill encourages insurance companies to offer private plans to millions of older Americans who now receive health care benefits under terms fixed by the government, an idea against which several Democrats have lashed out.

Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003, having declared his aim to "promote a culture of life". The law was never enforced, having been ruled unconstitutional by three District Courts. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld one of these rulings. The federal law would have prohibited Intact dilation and extraction procedures "in which the person performing the abortion partially vaginally delivers a living fetus before killing the fetus and completing the delivery". Several liberal and conservative critics alike feel that the law is merely a political gesture, as a fetus could technically be aborted inside of the womb and removed thereafter.


In January of 2002, Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, with Senator Ted Kennedy as chief sponsor[45], which aims to close the achievement gap, measures student performance, provides options to parents with students in low-performing schools, and targets more federal funding to low-income schools. Critics (including John Kerry and the National Education Association) say schools were not given the resources to help meet new standards, although their argument is based on premise that authorization levels are spending promises instead of spending caps. Some state governments are refusing to implement provisions of the act as long as they are not adequately funded. [46] In January of 2005, USA Today reported that the United States Department of Education had paid $240,000 to African-American 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." [47] Williams did not disclose the payments, and has since acknowledged them may return some of the money.

The House Education and Workforce Committee stated, "As a result of the No Child Left Behind Act, signed by Bush on January 8, 2002, the Federal government today is spending more money on elementary and High School (K-12) education than at any other time in the history of the United States". [48]


On December 19, 2002, Bush signed into law H. R. 4664, far-reaching legislation to put the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a track to double its budget over five years and to create new mathematics and science education initiatives at both the pre-college and undergraduate level. [49]

Bush opposes any new, and has limited the federal funding of existing, embryonic stem cell research. Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research was first approved under President Bill Clinton on January 19, 1999,[50] but no money was to be spent until the guidelines were published. The guidelines were released under Clinton on August 23, 2000. [51] They allowed use of unused frozen embryos. On August 9, 2001, before any funding was granted under these guidelines, Bush announced modifications to the guidelines to allow use of only existing stem cell lines. [52] While Bush claimed that more than 60 embryonic stem cell lines already existed from privately funded research, scientists in 2003 said there were only 11 usable lines, and in 2005 that all lines approved for Federal funding are contaminated and unusable. [53] Adult stem cell funding has not been restricted, and is supported by President Bush as a more viable means of research.

On January 14, 2004, Bush announced a major re-direction for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Known as the Vision for Space Exploration, it calls for the completion of the International Space Station by 2010 and the retirement of the space shuttle while developing a new spacecraft called the Crew Exploration Vehicle under the title Project Constellation. The CEV would be used to return American astronauts to the Moon by 2018, with the objective of establishing a permanent lunar base, and eventually sending future manned missions to Mars. [54] Although the plan was met with a largely tepid reception,[55] the budget eventually passed with a few minor changes after the November elections. In January 2005 the White House released a new[56] Space Transportation Policy fact sheet, which outlined the administration's space policy in broad terms and tied the development of space transport capabilities to national security requirements.

On February 18, 2004, the scientific watchdog group the Union of Concerned Scientists released a report entitled Scientific Integrity in Policymaking.[57][58] Included was a statement "opposing the Bush administration's use of scientific advice." The report alleged that "the Bush administration has ignored unbiased scientific advice in the policy-making that is so important for our collective welfare" and "has suppressed or distorted the scientific analyses of federal agencies to bring these results in line with administration policy" to an extent that is "unprecedented." The report has been signed by over 7,000 scientists, including 49 Nobel laureates, 63 recipients of the National Medal of Science, and 154 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The White House has come under criticism for downplaying reports that link human activity and greenhouse gas emissions to climate change and that a White House official and former oil industry advocate, Philip Cooney, adjusted descriptions of climate research that had already been approved by government scientists. The White House has denied that Philip Cooney watered down reports. [59] In June 2005, State Department papers showed the administration thanking Exxon executives for the company's "active involvement" in helping to determine climate change policy, including the US stance on Kyoto. Input from the business lobby group Global Climate Coalition was also a factor. [60]

On August 1, 2005, Bush took a controversial stance favoring the teaching of Intelligent Design alongside evolution in science classes, saying, "I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought, and I'm not suggesting - you're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."[61] The decision to support creationist philosophies in public schools is regarded as a mistake by many academic institutions such as the National Academy of Sciences[62]: "In Science and Creationism, The National Academy of Sciences states unequivocally that creationism has no place in any science curriculum at any level."[63] On August 20th, 1999, six years before Bush publicly announced support for a creationist cirriculum in Kansas, the NAS warned that such a change would put Kansas students at a disadvantage, both in education and life in general: "We view the recent actions of the Kansas State Board of Education as an unfortunate setback for all those attempting to prepare our young people for a century in which science and technology will play an ever-increasing role. Evolution is not only accepted by the majority of scientists; it has also been accepted by leaders of most of the world's major religions."[64]


Bush 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 or brownfield sites.

Bush's environmental record has been attacked by most environmentalists, who charge that his policies cater to industry demands to weaken environmental protections. Environmental groups note that many Bush Administration officials, in addition to Bush and Cheney, have ties to the oil industry, automotive industry, and other groups that have fought against environmental protections. 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, which seeks to reduce air pollution through expansion of cap-and-trade programs.

Partially due to gas price hikes, Bush proposed tapping the oil reserves in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a particularly sensitive ecosystem due to its arctic location. [65] [66] Some claim that it is the last untouched wilderness left in the US, and that the majority of oil dug from the refuge will be sent to foreign countries, such as Japan, where larger profits can be made by domestic oil companies.

Bush has opposed the Kyoto Protocol saying it would harm the U.S. economy. Bush said it is unfairly strict on the U.S. while being unduly lenient with developing countries, especially China and India. Bush stated, "The world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases is China. Yet, China was entirely exempted from the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol." He has also questioned the science behind the global warming phenomenon, insisting that more research be done to determine its validity. [67] (See America's Kyoto protocol position.)

The White House has come under criticism for downplaying reports that link human activity and greenhouse gas emissions to climate change and that a White House official and former oil industry advocate, Philip Cooney, adjusted descriptions of climate research that had already been approved by government scientists. The White House has denied that Philip Cooney watered down reports. [68] In June 2005, State Department papers showed the administration thanking Exxon executives for the company's "active involvement" in helping to determine climate change policy, including the US stance on Kyoto. Input from the business lobby group Global Climate Coalition was also a factor. [69]

The position Bush has taken on climate change has shifted with a gradual increasing acceptance that global warming is a problem, and that it is partly caused by human activity. The United States has signed the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, a pact allows those countries to set their goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions individually, but with no enforcement mechanism. Supporters of the pact see it as complementing the Kyoto Protocol whilst being more flexible whilst critics have said the pact will be ineffective without any enforcement measures. Nine north-eastern states and in California, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with 187 mayors from US towns and cities, have pledged to adopt Kyoto style legal limits on greenhouse gas emissions. [70]


Main article: George W. Bush administration

Bush is famous for placing a high value on loyalty, and the result has been an administration with peerless message discipline. He maintains a "hands-off" style of management that he believes prevents him from being tangled by intricacies that hinder sound decision-making. "I'm confident in my management style. I'm a delegator because I trust the people I've asked to join the team. I'm willing to delegate. That makes it easier to be President," he said in an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC in December of 2003. However, critics contend that Bush is willing to overlook mistakes [71][72] made by loyal subordinates, and that Bush has surrounded himself with "yes men". [73]

Bush's presidency has been characterized by a vigorous defence of executive privilege, evidenced in such acts as signing Executive Order 13233, which suspends the release of presidential papers, tight control of Congressional inquiries into White House officers such as in the 9/11 Commission's interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Bush and Richard B. Cheney, and the generally high-level of coordination between the White House, Congressional Republicans and Senate Republicans in both of Bush's terms. Many commentators have claimed that deference to executive privilege was one of the principal considerations Bush's administration considered when proposing and John G. Roberts and Harriet E. Miers as candidates for the Supreme Court, and John R. Bolton's appointment to the United Nations [74] [75].

Bush also has performed many of his presidential duties from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, dubbed "The Western White House". As of August 2, 2005, Bush had visited the ranch 49 times during his time as President, accruing 319 days away from the White House and nearly reaching Reagan's eight-year record of 335 days in 5.5 years, though it is acknowledged that all of these trips were "working" vacations. Vacationing Bush Poised to Set a Record Critics contend that he takes more vacation than any president in history, but officials respond that his longest visit to Crawford, in August 2005, included only one week of actual respite in the five-week visit.


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—

Supreme Court nominations

Bush nominated the following individuals to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States:

  • John G. Roberts, Jr. — Chief Justice. Nominated September 5, 2005; confirmed by the Senate on 9/29/05
  • Harriet E. Miers — Associate Justice. Nominated October 3, 2005; nomination withdrawn on 10/27/05.
  • Samuel Alito — Associate Justice. Nominated October 31, 2005; before the Senate as of November 6, 2005

Major legislation signed


Public perception and assessments

Bush has been the subject of both popular praise and scathing criticism. His supporters believe he has done well with the economy and homeland security, and shown exemplary leadership after the September 11 attacks. His detractors have disagreed on those very subjects and have also criticized the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, the controversial 2000 election, and the 2003 invasion 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.

Due to Bush's colorful mistakes when speaking, detractors coined a new term, "bushism", to describe the grammatical configuration unique to Bush. Bushisms have been widely popularized and archived across the internet due to their humorous nature.


Bush as TIME  Person of the Year 2004.
Bush as TIME Person of the Year 2004.
Bush approval rating from February 2001 to October 2005. Notable spikes in his approval rating followed the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the beginning of the 2003 Iraq conflict.
Bush approval rating from February 2001 to October 2005. Notable spikes in his approval rating followed the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the beginning of the 2003 Iraq conflict.

In the time of national crisis following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Bush enjoyed approval ratings of greater than 85%. Since then, his approval ratings and approval of handling of domestic, economic, and foreign policy issues have steadily dropped. For a comprehensive look, one can see an image of polling trends over the course of Bush's presidency here.

In 2002, Bush had the highest approval rating of any president during a midterm congressional 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 its majority in the House of Representatives. Typically, the President's party loses congressional seats in the midterm elections; 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 spiked upward at the time of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in February. The upward trend continued through the invasion of Iraq in March. By late 2003, when presidential opponents typically begin their campaigns in earnest, his approval numbers were in the low to middle 50s. 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% [78] to a 46 % approval rating. [79] More recently, a poll taken by American Research Group from August 18 to 21, 2005, [80] shows that 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president (6% below the number in July), while 58% disapprove. This figure is lower than that of any modern president in his second term, including Nixon's approval rating of 39% during the Watergate scandal that eventually led to his resignation, though not lower than President Jimmy Carter's nadir of 17%. A concurrent Gallup Poll performed from August 28 to 30 showed a 45% approval and 52% disapproval rating. [81] A Zogby International poll of September 6-7, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, showed a 41% approval, an all-time low for Bush in Zogby's polling. The poll also showed his favorability ratings going below 50% for the first time as 49% saw him as favorable and 50% viewed him unfavorably. [82] A CBS News poll conducted on October 30 to November 1, 2005, showed that Bush's approval rating had dropped to 35%, his lowest as measured by CBS News. [83] Washington Post-ABC News polls on both October 29 and November 2, 2005 found Bush's approval level at 39%, his lowest as measured by this poll.[84]

Poll results show a majority of Americans conditionally support the consideration of Bush's impeachment. A Zogby International poll from October 29 to November 2, 2005 found that by a margin of 53% to 42% (+/-2.9%) Americans say that "If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment." This was supported by 76% of Democrats, 50% of Independents, and 29% of Republicans. Earlier polls by Ipsos on October 9, 2005 and by Zogby International on June 27, 2005 found that 50% and 42% of Americans, respectively, agreed with a similar proposition.[85][86]. These polls show greater support for the possibility of impeaching Bush than ever seen for the 1998 impeachment of Clinton, though the numbers are comparable to the early Clinton polls that used similar hypothetical wording as in the Bush polls.

A majority of Americans believe the condition specified in the impeachment polls has been satisfied. A November 2, 2005 Washington Post-ABC poll found 55% of Americans believe the Bush administration "intentionally misled the public" in making its case for war.[87]

Hurricane Katrina

Main article: political effects of Hurricane Katrina

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the floodwalls protecting New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain broke in the early hours of August 30, leading to widespread flooding. In the aftermath of the disaster, thousands of city residents, unable or unwilling to evacuate prior to the hurricane, became stranded with little to no relief for several days resulting in lawless and unsanitary conditions in some areas. Although blame was also attributed to state and local authorities, public outcry in the disaster's early hours was largely directed at the Bush administration, mainly FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security alleging weak crisis management and coordination.

The Bush Administration, like previous administrations, failed to address this concern, and consistently funded less than was requested by the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain the levees, although this did not affect the part of the levees that failed. The criticism led to the resignation of FEMA director Michael Brown and eventually, Bush himself was forced to accept responsbility for what he deemed, "serious problems in the federal government's response" in a September 15, 2005 press conference. Currently, the administration is investigating itself yet there have been several politicans calling for either congressional or independent investigations, clamining that the federal government cannot satisfactorily investigate itself. [88][89][90][91]

Valerie Plame affair

Main article: Plame affair
 This article documents a current event.
Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.

Various members of George W. Bush's White House team were alleged to play a role in what became known as the Plame affair. Valerie Plame, wife of retired ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, was identified as a CIA "operative on weapons of mass destruction" in a July 2003 column by well-known conservative pundit Robert Novak. Novak's column[92] was published only eight days after the publication of a New York Times op-ed[93] written by former ambassador Wilson, which was highly critical of the Bush administration's use of "unreliable" "yellowcake" documents as part of its justification for the Iraq War.

Outside the United States

German chancellor Gerhard Schröder and President Bush, 2001
German chancellor Gerhard Schröder and President Bush, 2001
President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac during the 27th G8 summit, July 21, 2001.
President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac during the 27th G8 summit, July 21, 2001.

A survey conducted by Ipsos for the Associated Press in 2004 found that "just over half in Mexico and Italy had a negative view of Mr. Bush's role. In Britain, the closest U.S. ally in the war in Iraq, and in Canada, traditionally America's closest ally, two-thirds had a negative view...Three-quarters of those in Spain and more than 80 % in France and Germany had a negative view of Mr. Bush's role in world affairs." [94] While those in the United States were evenly divided on whether the war has increased or decreased the terror threat, by far the majority of those sampled outside the United States believe that Bush's foreign policy decisions in the Iraq war have "increased the threat of terrorism in the world." [95]

Muslim countries are even less favorable to Bush. In these countries, Bush's unfavorable ratings are particularly high, often over 90%. [96] Among the non-U.S. nations polled in another [97] worldwide poll by the CBC, Bush's popularity was highest in Israel, where 62% reported favorable views, however in the CBC poll, Israel was the only foreign country polled that had a net favorable opinion of Bush. (Q2)

A 2005 poll conducted by the Canadian research company Globescan for the BBC across 22,000 people in 21 nations found that a majority of world opinion (58%) believed that George Bush's re-election would have a negative impact on their peace and security. Only 26% believed it would have a positive one. Public opinion in the Philippines and India showed strong majorities in favor of Bush. [98], but these were the only countries in favor. The same poll revealed that support for the Iraq occupation had dropped to 37% in Britain. In Turkey, 72% of those polled said that George Bush's re-election made them "feel worse about Americans". [99]

The U.K. Daily Mirror newspaper ran the following headline the day of Bush's reelection: "How Can 59,054,087 People Be So Dumb?", underlining the significance of Bush's unpopularity in the foreign press. In the Middle East, it is believed that there have been less negative statements made against Bush and more of what can be labeled, "mixed reaction" now that there is a "growing democracy", as the Bush administration titles it, that has occured in the area since the Democratic elections in Iraq in January 2005. For example, in Iran-- a country in which anti-Bush protests accompained with signs reading "Death to America, Death to Bush" are common--a poll conducted in early 2005 suggests that 74% of Iranians believe that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is supplementing in Iran emerging as a free democracy. Also, in February 2005, the assassination of former Lebanon Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was translated in the minds of many as a Syrian tactic against Lebanon which prompted to Bush to request that all Syrian troops stationed in Lebanon remove themselves from the country immediately. Bush's request led to unusual pro-Bush rallies in Beirut where some were even chanting, "Thank You, Mr. Bush!"

Famous personalities' opinions

  • Nelson Mandela:"Bush is now undermining the United Nations," Mandela told the International Women’s Forum after Bush started the Iraqi War. At that time Mandela said he would support action against Iraq’s former President Saddam Hussein only if the UN orders it. "What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." [100]
  • Hugo Chávez: Has called George Bush "The Emperor of evil" in June 2004 [101] and "Mr Danger" in October 2005[102] "For no one should it be a secret … that the greatest threat the world faces today is the government of Mr. Danger, Mr. George Bush. That is the biggest threat the planet faces today."[103]

See also


George W. Bush's speech on September 11, 2001 about the attacks (info)
George Bush's speech on September 12, 2001 about the attacks (info)
Problems listening to the files? See media help.



^  The White House (2005). Biography of President George W. Bush. Retrieved June 21, 2005. "Owner, oil and gas business" "Partner, Texas Rangers Baseball Team"

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Preceded by:
Ann Richards
Governor of Texas
Succeeded by:
Rick Perry
Preceded by:
Bob Dole
Republican Party presidential nominee
2000 (won), 2004 (won)
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(n/a: most recent Republican presidential nominee)
Preceded by:
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