George H. W. Bush — George Walker Bush was born July 6, 1946. He was the 43rd President of the United States, serving from 2001 to 2009, and the 46th Governor of Texas, serving from 1995 to 2000. Bush is the eldest son of President George H. W. Bush, who served as the 41st President, and Barbara Bush, making him one of only two American presidents to be the son of a preceding president. After graduating from Yale University in 1968 and Harvard Business School in 1975, Bush worked in oil businesses. He married Laura Welch in 1977 and unsuccessfully ran for the House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He later co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team before defeating Ann Richards in the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. In a close and controversial election, Bush was elected President in 2000 as the Republican candidate, defeating then-Vice President Al Gore in the Electoral College.
Eight months into Bush’s first term as president, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred. In response, Bush announced a global War on Terrorism, ordered an invasion of Afghanistan that same year and an invasion of Iraq in 2003. In addition to national security issues, Bush promoted policies on the economy, health care, education, and social security reform. He signed into law broad tax cuts, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors. His tenure saw national debates on immigration and Social Security.
Bush successfully ran for re-election against Democratic Senator John Kerry in 2004, in another relatively close election. After his re-election, Bush received increasingly heated criticism from conservatives and liberals. In 2005, the Bush Administration dealt with widespread criticism over its handling of Hurricane Katrina. In December 2007, the United States entered its longest post-World War II recession. This prompted the Bush Administration to take more direct control of the economy, enacting multiple economic programs intended to preserve the country’s financial system. Though Bush was popular within the U.S. for much of his first term, his popularity declined sharply during his second term.
After leaving office, Bush returned to Texas and purchased a home in a suburban area of Dallas, Texas. He is currently a public speaker and is writing a book about his presidency.
Childhood to Mid-Life
Early life of George W. Bush
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Bush was the first child of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush (née Pierce). He was raised in Midland and Houston, Texas, with his four siblings, Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. Another younger sister, Robin, died from leukemia at the age of three in 1953. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a U.S. Senator from Connecticut. Bush’s father, George H. W. Bush, served as U.S. Vice President from 1981 to 1989 and U.S. President from 1989 to 1993. Bush is of primarily English and German descent, and also has distant Welsh, Irish, French and Scottish ancestry.
Bush attended public schools in Midland, Texas until the family moved to Houston after he completed seventh grade. He then went to The Kinkaid School, a prep school in Houston, for two years.
Bush finished his high school years at Phillips Academy, a boarding school (then all-male) in Andover, Massachusetts, where he played baseball and during his senior year was the head cheerleader. Bush attended Yale University from 1964 to 1968, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. During this time, he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, being elected the fraternity’s president during his senior year. Bush also became a member of the Skull and Bones society as a senior. Bush was a keen rugby union player, and was on Yale’s 1st XV. He characterized himself as an average student.
Beginning in the fall of 1973, Bush attended the Harvard Business School, where he earned an MBA. He is the only U.S. President to have earned an MBA.
Texas Air National Guard
In May 1968, Bush was commissioned into the Texas Air National Guard. After two years of active-duty service while training, he was assigned to Houston, flying Convair F-102s with the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group out of Ellington Air Force Base. Critics, including former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Russ Baker, have alleged that Bush was favorably treated due to his father’s political standing, citing his selection as a pilot despite his low pilot aptitude test scores and his irregular attendance. In June 2005, the United States Department of Defense released all the records of Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service, which remain in its official archives.
In late 1972 and early 1973, he drilled with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group of the Alabama Air National Guard, having moved to Montgomery, Alabama to work on the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Winton M. Blount. In October 1973, Bush was discharged from the Texas Air National Guard and transferred to inactive duty in the Air Force Reserve. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserve on November 21, 1974, at the end of his six-year service obligation.