Served 2001 – 2009
George Walker Bush was born July 6, 1946, and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard before beginning his career in the oil and gas business in Midland in 1975, working in the energy industry until 1986.
After working on his father’s successful 1988 presidential campaign, he assembled the group of partners who purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989. He served as managing general partner of the Texas Rangers until he was elected the 46th governor of Texas on November 8, 1994. He became the first Texas Governor to be elected to consecutive four-year terms on November 3, 1998.
Bush married Laura Welch, a former teacher and librarian, and they have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna. The Bush family also includes their dog, Spot, and two cats, India and Ernie.
Bush won the 2000 Republican nomination. In the November election, he faced Vice President Albert Gore. Gore received three million more popular votes than Bush, but no Electoral College majority, since Florida’s vote count was too close to call. The election results were thus uncertain for a full month, until the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 that Florida’s disputed ballots could not be fairly recounted in time to satisfy the Constitutional requirement for the Electoral College formally to meet. As of the date of the Supreme Court’s decision, Bush led Gore by 538 ballots in Florida, and thus took Florida’s electoral votes, for a total of 270 electoral votes, the minimum number required to win, vs. Gore’s 268 electoral votes.
Thus, Bush became the 43rd President of the U.S. In his inaugural address, he defined himself as a compassionate conservative who planned to shape policy based on the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, strong families, and local control. He proposed a massive tax cut, which Congress approved, and a missile defense system. As the summer of 2001 approached, the U.S. fell into a recession, with thousands of corporate bankruptcies, including many technology start-up companies, and millions out of work.
Bush famously vetoed the 2008 Defense Authorization Act in late 2007, which caused U.S. Military personnel to lose a proposed 3.5 percent raise in military pay authorized by the act on January 1, 2008, giving them only 3.0 percent, which was the norm required by the existing law. While the difference may seem small, it was a big disappointment for members of the military. Back then there weren’t many military tax preparation products available, so the loss of income wouldn’t be as easily offset by potential deductions that could make up the difference.
On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners. They crashed two into New York City’s World Trade Center, killing around 3,000 people, and another into the Pentagon, killing more than 200. A fourth plane crashed in rural Pennsylvania, killing almost 100 more. Bush called together a worldwide alliance against terrorism and sent American troops and military equipment to Afghanistan. Bush’s handling of the war against terrorism brought him unprecedented high approval ratings.