George Bush

George Bush books and biography


George H. W. Bush


George H. W. Bush

41st President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
Vice President(s)   J. Danforth Quayle
Preceded by Ronald Reagan
Succeeded by Bill Clinton

43rd Vice President of the United States
In office
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Walter F. Mondale
Succeeded by J. Danforth Quayle

Born June 12, 1924 (age 82)
Milton, Massachusetts, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse Barbara Bush
Religion Episcopal

George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States of America serving from 1989 to 1993. Prior to his presidency, Bush had been the 43rd Vice President of the United States under President Ronald Reagan. He was also a U.S. Congressman from Texas (1967–1971), United States Ambassador to the United Nations (1971–1973), Republican National Committee Chairman (1973–1974), Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China (1974–1976), and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1976–1977).

George Bush is the son of Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush. He was born in Milton, Massachusetts, and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut. Bush is the father of the 43rd and current President, George Walker Bush, and the current Governor of Florida, John Ellis Bush.


Early years

George began his formal education at the Greenwich Country Day School in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Beginning in 1936, Bush attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, an elite private preparatory school for boys, where he held a large number of leadership positions and was a member of A.U.V., or "Auctoritas, Unitas, Veritas" (Latin for "Authority, Unity, Truth"), an exclusive fraternity. As a student at Phillips Academy, Bush learned of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

World War II

George H. W. Bush met Babe Ruth as a student at Yale.
George H. W. Bush met Babe Ruth as a student at Yale.

After graduating from Phillips Academy in June 1942, he joined the U.S. Navy on his 18th birthday to become an aviator. After completing the 10-month course, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve at Corpus Christi, Texas on June 9, 1943, just three days before his 19th birthday, which made him the youngest naval aviator to that date.

After finishing flight training, he was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51) as photographic officer in September 1943. As part of Air Group 51, his squadron was based on the USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) in the spring of 1944. San Jacinto was part of Task Force 58 that participated in operations against Marcus and Wake Islands in May, and then in the Marianas during June. On June 19, the task force triumphed in one of the largest air battles of the war. On his return from the mission, Bush's aircraft made a forced water landing. A submarine rescued the young pilot, although the plane was lost as well as the life of his navigator. On July 25, Bush and another pilot received credit for sinking a small cargo ship off Palau.

George H. W. Bush flying TBM Avenger off the carrier USS San Jacinto in 1944
George H. W. Bush flying TBM Avenger off the carrier USS San Jacinto in 1944

After Bush's promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade on August 1, the San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. On September 2, 1944, Bush piloted one of four Grumman TBM Avenger aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chichi Jima. For this mission his crew included Radioman Second Class John Delaney and Lieutenant Junior Grade William White, who substituted for Bush's regular gunner. During their attack, four Avengers from VT-51 encountered intense antiaircraft fire. While starting the attack, Bush's aircraft was hit and his engine caught on fire. Despite the fact that his plane was on fire, he completed his attack and released the bombs over his target, scoring several damaging hits. With his engine on fire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft. However, the other man's parachute did not open, and he fell to his death. It was never determined which man bailed out with Bush. Both Delaney and White were killed in action. While Bush waited four hours in his inflated raft, several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine USS Finback. For this action Bush received the Distinguished Flying Cross. During the month he remained on the USS Finback, Bush participated in the rescue of other pilots.

Bush subsequently returned to San Jacinto in November 1944 and participated in operations in the Philippines. When San Jacinto returned to Guam, the squadron, which had suffered 50 percent casualties of its pilots, was replaced and sent to the United States. Through 1944, he had flown 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded aboard the San Jacinto.

Because of his valuable combat experience, Bush was reassigned to Norfolk Navy Base and put in a training wing for new torpedo pilots. He was later assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, VT-153. With the surrender of Japan, he was honorably discharged in September 1945 and then entered Yale University.

Marriage, Yale, and Skull & Bones

Almost immediately upon his return from the war in December 1944, George Bush married Barbara Pierce. Their marriage later produced six children: George Walker Bush, Pauline Robinson Bush ("Robin", 1949–1953, died of leukemia), John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, Neil Mallon Bush, Marvin Bush, and Dorothy Bush Koch.

Skull and Bones entry from the 1948 Yale Banner. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush is listed fourth down.
Skull and Bones entry from the 1948 Yale Banner. Former President George Herbert Walker Bush is listed fourth down.

While at Yale, he joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and was elected president. He also captained the Yale baseball team, and as a left-handed first baseman, played in the first College World Series. Late in his junior year he was, like his father Prescott Bush (1917), tapped for membership by the Skull and Bones secret society. Some people believe that through this organization, also known as "the Order", Bush made connections with other influential people and families which would shape his career.

Captain-elect "Poppy" Bush as featured in a 1948 Yale Banner.

Business ventures

After graduating from Yale in 1948, Bush went into the Texas oil exploration business. He was given a position with Dresser Industries, a subsidiary of Brown Brothers Harriman, where his father served on the board of directors for 22 years. His son, Neil Mallon Bush, is named after his employer at Dresser, Henry Neil Mallon, who was a close family friend dating back to Skull & Bones at Yale in 1918 along with Prescott. Zapata Corporation was created by Bush and the Liedtke brothers in 1953 as Zapata Oil. (Authors Webster Tarpley, Kevin Phillips, Daniel Yergin, and others suggest that Bush had ties to the Central Intelligence Agency at this time.)

Campaigns for Senate and Congress

In 1964 Bush won the Republican Party's nomination for the U.S. Senate from Texas. His opponent was the incumbent Democratic Senator Ralph Yarborough. Bush attacked Yarborough as a left-wing extremist, a supporter of civil rights, and a demagogue. Yarborough called Bush a "tool of the eastern kingmakers" and a right-wing extremist. Bush lost the election.

Bush did not give up on elective politics and was elected in 1966 to the United States House of Representatives from the 7th District of Texas, defeating Democrat Frank Briscoe with 57% of the vote. Despite being a first-term congressman, Bush was appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

In 1968, Bush briefly lobbied to be Richard Nixon’s running mate in the 1968 presidential election. However, once Bush realized that Nixon was looking for someone with more experience than a single term in the U.S. House, Bush ran for reelection. Bush was unopposed in the general election.

In 1970, President Nixon convinced Bush to relinquish his House seat to again run for the Senate against Democratic Senator Ralph Yarborough, a fierce Nixon critic. In the Republican primary, Bush easily defeated conservative Robert Morris, a defeated 1964 candidate, by a margin of 87.6 percent to 12.4 percent. However, former Congressman Lloyd Bentsen, a native of Mission, Texas, defeated Yarborough in the Democratic primary, 816,641 votes (53 percent) to 724,122 (47 percent). Yarborough then endorsed Bentsen. With Yarborough defeated in the primary, Nixon’s support for Bush’s campaign waned.

Because there was no presidential election in 1970, turnout in Texas was unusually low in the general election. Bentsen defeated Bush by a margin similar to that in his primary victory over Yarborough. Bentsen later became the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President in the 1988 presidential election and, teamed with Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, lost to Bush. In 1993, Bentsen became Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration.



After the 1970 election loss, President Richard Nixon appointed Bush to United States Ambassador to the United Nations, at which he served from 1971 to 1973.

After Nixon was re-elected President in 1972, he asked Bush to become Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Bush held this position during the Watergate scandal, when the popularity of both Nixon and the Republican Party plummeted. Bush defended Nixon steadfastly, but later as Nixon's complicity became clear he focused more on defending the Republican Party while still maintaining loyalty to Nixon.

After Nixon's resignation in 1974, Vice President Gerald R. Ford became President, and Bush was one of the two leading contenders to be appointed vice president by Ford, but he lost to the other leading contender, Nelson Rockefeller. Bush had the support of many conservative elements in the Republican Party, particularly Barry Goldwater, against Rockefeller for the vice presidency [1]. Ford appointed Bush to be Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China. (Since the United States at the time maintained official relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan and not the People's Republic of China, the Liaison Office did not have the official status of an embassy and Bush did not formally hold the position of "ambassador" even though he unofficially acted as one.)

In 1976, Ford brought Bush back to Washington to become Director of Central Intelligence. Bush served in this role for 355 days, from January 30, 1976 to January 20, 1977.[1] The CIA had been rocked by a series of revelations, including revelations based on investigations by the Senate's Church Committee, about the CIA's illegal and unauthorized activities, and Bush was credited with helping to restore the agency's morale.[2]

After a Democratic administration took power in 1977, Bush became Chairman of the First International Bank in Houston. He also became an adjunct professor of Administrative Science at Rice University in the Jones School of Business in 1978, the year it opened. The course, Organization Theory, involved lectures from Bush regarding the organizations he headed—the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Republican Party, a U.S. congressional office, the USA Representative Office to China, and an oil exploration company. Just months before Bush hit the presidential campaign trail, he was also candid about his internal debate to enter the primaries.[3]

He also became a board member of the Committee on the Present Danger.


1980 presidential campaign

Main article: United States presidential election, 1980

In the 1980 presidential election, Bush ran for the office, stressing his wide range of government experience. In the contest for the Republican Party nomination, despite Bush's establishment backing, the front-runner was Ronald Reagan, former Governor of California who was now running for the third time for President.

In the contest Bush represented the centrist wing in the GOP, whereas Reagan represented the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Bush labeled Reagan's supply side-influenced plans for massive tax cuts "voodoo economics." During the election, Reagan once famously described Bush as a "Brooks Brothers Republican," in response to which Bush opened his jacket at a press conference, smiling, to reveal a J. Press logo.

Bush won the Iowa caucus to start the primary season, then told the press that he had "Big Mo" (or momentum). However, Reagan came back to decisively win the New Hampshire primary, and Bush's "mo" was gone.[4] With a growing popularity among the Republican voting base, Reagan won most of the remaining primaries and the nomination.

After some preliminary discussion of choosing former President Gerald Ford as his running mate, Reagan selected Bush as his Vice President, placing him on the winning Republican presidential ticket of 1980. Bush had declared he would never be Reagan's Vice President. Bush was many things Reagan had not been — a life-long Republican, a combat veteran, and an internationalist with UN, CIA, and China experience. Bush was also more moderate in his economic positions and political philosophy than Reagan.

Vice President

Order: 43rd Vice President
Term of Office: January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
Preceded by: Walter Mondale
Succeeded by: Dan Quayle
President: Ronald W. Reagan
Political party: Republican

The Reagan/Bush ticket won again by a huge landslide in 1984 against the Democrats' Walter Mondale/Geraldine Ferraro ticket.

During his second term as Vice President, Bush became the first Vice President to become Acting President when, on July 13, 1985, President Reagan underwent surgery to remove polyps from his colon. Bush served as Acting President for approximately eight hours, most of which he passed playing tennis.

When the Iran-Contra Affair broke in 1986, Bush stated that he had been "out of the loop" and unaware of the Iran initiatives related to arms trading.[5]


1988 presidential campaign

Main article: United States presidential election, 1988
1988 presidential electoral votes by state.
1988 presidential electoral votes by state.

In 1988, after nearly eight years as Vice President, Bush again ran for President. His challengers for the Republican presidential nomination included U.S. Senator Robert J. Dole and ultraconservative televangelist Pat Robertson.

Though considered the early frontrunner for the Republican nomination, Bush came in third in the Iowa caucus, beaten by winner Dole and runner-up Robertson. However, Bush rebounded to win the New Hampshire primary, partly because of television commercials portraying Dole as a tax raiser. Once the multiple-state primaries such as Super Tuesday began, Bush's organizational strength and fundraising lead were impossible for the other candidates to match, and the nomination was his.

Leading up to the 1988 Republican National Convention, there was much speculation as to Bush's choice of running mate. In a move anticipated by few and later criticized by many, Bush chose little-known U.S. Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana. On the eve of the convention, Bush trailed Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis, then Massachusetts governor, by double digits in most polls.

President-elect George Bush, President Ronald Reagan, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev at New York City  in 1988
President-elect George Bush, President Ronald Reagan, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev at New York City in 1988

Bush, often criticized for his lack of eloquence when compared to Reagan, surprised many by giving perhaps the best speech of his public career, widely known as the "Thousand points of light" speech[6] for his use of that phrase to describe his vision of American community. Bush's acceptance speech and a generally well-managed Convention catapulted him ahead of Dukakis in the polls, and he held the lead for the rest of the race. Bush's acceptance speech at the convention included the famous pledge, Read my lips: no new taxes.

The campaign was noted for its highly negative television advertisements. One advertisement run by the Bush campaign showed Dukakis awkwardly riding in a U.S. Army tank. Bush blamed Dukakis for polluting the Boston Harbor as the Massachusetts governor. Bush also pointed out that Dukakis was opposed to the law that would require all students to say the pledge of allegiance. Another, produced and placed by an independent group supporting Bush, referred to murderer Willie Horton, a man who had committed a rape and assault while on a weekend furlough from a life sentence being served in Massachusetts.

Dukakis's unconditional opposition to capital punishment also led to a pointed question during the U.S. presidential debates. Moderator Bernard Shaw asked Dukakis hypothetically if Dukakis would support the death penalty if his wife were raped and murdered. Dukakis's response appeared to many oddly wooden and technical, and helped characterize him as "soft on crime." These images helped enhance Bush's stature as a possible Commander-in-Chief compared to the Massachusetts governor.

Bush beat Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen soundly in the Electoral College, by 426 to 111 (Bentsen received one vote). In the nationwide popular vote, Bush took 53.4% of the ballots cast while Dukakis gained 45.6%. Bush was the first serving Vice President to be elected President since 1836.

Presidency 1989-1993

Chief Justice William Rehnquist administering the oath of office to President George H. W. Bush during Inaugural ceremonies at the United States Capitol. January 20, 1989.
Chief Justice William Rehnquist administering the oath of office to President George H. W. Bush during Inaugural ceremonies at the United States Capitol. January 20, 1989.


Foreign policy drove the Bush presidency from its first days. In his January 20, 1989, Inaugural Address upon taking the Presidency, Bush said, "I come before you and assume the Presidency at a moment rich with promise. We live in a peaceful, prosperous time, but we can make it better. For a new breeze is blowing, and a world refreshed by freedom seems reborn; for in man's heart, if not in fact, the day of the dictator is over. The totalitarian era is passing, its old ideas blown away like leaves from an ancient, lifeless tree. A new breeze is blowing, and a nation refreshed by freedom stands ready to push on. There is new ground to be broken, and new action to be taken."[7]

Leading up to the first Gulf War, on September 11, 1990, President Bush addressing a joint session of Congress stated: "Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective — a New World Order — can emerge: a new era"[8]

With these words President Bush gave the order to start the military action which would later be known as the Gulf War.

Manuel Noriega

Main article: United States invasion of Panama

Operation Just Cause was the U.S. military invasion of Panama that deposed General Manuel Noriega in December 1989. Involving an expeditionary force of 25,000 troops and state-of-the-art military equipment, the invasion was the largest American military operation since the Vietnam War. General Manuel Noriega was at one time a U.S. ally, who was increasingly using Panama to facilitate the drug traffic from South America to the United States. In the 1980s, dictator Manuel Noriega was one of the most recognizable names in the United States, being constantly covered by the press. The deteriorating situation in Panama, supposedly an American protectorate, was a growing embarrassment for the Reagan Administration, which President Bush inherited. The military implementation took place under supervision of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Colin Powell who—as National Security Advisor for President Reagan—knew well the Panama situation and dictator Noriega. The invasion was preceded by massive protests in Panama against Noriega. Bush's Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney visited American troops in Panama right after the invasion. President Bush visited Panama with his wife in June 1992, to give support to the first post-invasion Panamanian government.

Gulf War

President Bush visited American troops in Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving Day, 1990
President Bush visited American troops in Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving Day, 1990

As President, Bush is perhaps best known internationally for leading the United Nations coalition in the 1990–1991 Gulf War. In 1990, Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein invaded its oil-rich neighbor to the south, Kuwait. The broad coalition, in an operation known as Desert Shield, sought to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait and ensure that Iraq did not invade Saudi Arabia. Bush claimed that his position was summed up succinctly when he said, "This aggression will not stand," and, "This is not a war for oil. This is war against aggression." On November 29, the UN passed a resolution establishing a deadline that authorized the nations allied with Kuwait 'to use all necessary means' if Iraq did not withdraw from Kuwait by January 15, 1991. Fighting began on January 17, 1991, when U.S.-led air units launched a devastating series of air attacks against Iraq, with this operation referred to as Desert Storm. [9]

In a foreign policy move that would later be questioned, President Bush achieved his stated objectives of liberating Kuwait and forcing Iraqi withdrawal, then ordered a cessation of combat operations —allowing Saddam Hussein to stay in power. His Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney noted that invading the country would get the United States "bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq." Bush later explained that he did not give the order to overthrow the Iraqi government because it would have "incurred incalculable human and political costs... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq".[10][11]

In explaining to Gulf War veterans why he chose not to pursue the war further, President Bush said, "Whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law, went beyond the stated mission, and said we're going to show our macho? We're going into Baghdad. We're going to be an occupying power — America in an Arab land — with no allies at our side. It would have been disastrous."[12]

President Bush's popularity rating in America soared during and immediately after the apparent success of the military operations, but it later fell dramatically because of an economic recession in combination with perceived failures about the end of the war.

Post-Soviet breakup

As the Soviet Union was unraveling, President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev declared a U.S.-Soviet strategic partnership at the summit of July 1991, decisively marking the end of the Cold War. President Bush declared that U.S.-Soviet cooperation during the Persian Gulf War in 1990–1991 had laid the groundwork for a partnership in resolving bilateral and world problems.

  • Arms control: START I, Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction
See also: Collapse of the Soviet Union, Brent Scowcroft, New World Order (political), A World Transformed, and This section is a stub. You can help by expanding it.


NAFTA Initialing Ceremony, October 1992.  From left to right: (standing) President Carlos Salinas, President Bush, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney; (seated) Jaime Serra Puche, Carla Hills, Michael Wilson.
NAFTA Initialing Ceremony, October 1992. From left to right: (standing) President Carlos Salinas, President Bush, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney; (seated) Jaime Serra Puche, Carla Hills, Michael Wilson.

Bush's government, along with the Progressive Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, spearheaded the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Bill Clinton signed in 1993.


Bush's last controversial act in office was his pardon of six former government employees implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal on December 24, 1992, most prominently former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Weinberger had been scheduled to stand trial on January 5, 1993, for allegedly lying to Congress regarding his knowledge of arms sales to Iran and concealing 1700 pages of his personal diary detailing discussions with other officials about the arms sales.

As Weinberger's private notes contained references to Bush's endorsement of the secret shipments to Iran, some believe that Bush's pardon was an effort to prevent an order for Bush to appear before a grand jury or possibly to avoid an indictment. Weinberger's indictment stated that Weinberger's notes contradicted Bush's assertions that he had only peripheral knowledge of the arms for hostages deal. Lawrence Walsh, the Independent Counsel assigned to the case, charged that "the Iran-contra cover-up, which has continued for more than six years, has now been completed." Walsh likened the pardons to President Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre. Bush responded that the Walsh probe constituted an attempt to criminalize a policy dispute between the legislative and executive branches. In addition to Weinberger, Bush pardoned Duane R. Clarridge, Clair E. George, Robert C. McFarlane, Elliott Abrams, and Alan G. Fiers Jr., all of whom had been indicted and/or convicted of charges by the Independent Counsel.

Administration and Cabinet

The official White House portrait of President George H.W Bush
The official White House portrait of President George H.W Bush
President George H. W. Bush 1989–1993
Vice President J. Danforth Quayle 1989–1993
State James A. Baker III 1989–1992
  Lawrence Eagleburger 1992–1993
Treasury Nicholas F. Brady 1989–1993
Defense Richard B. Cheney 1989–1993
Justice Richard L. Thornburgh 1989–1991
  William P. Barr 1991–1993
Interior Manuel Lujan, Jr. 1989–1993
Commerce Robert A. Mosbacher 1989–1992
  Barbara Hackman Franklin 1992–1993
Labor Elizabeth Hanford Dole 1989–1991
  Lynn Martin 1991–1993
Agriculture Clayton K. Yeutter 1989–1991
  Edward Madigan 1991–1993
HHS Louis W. Sullivan 1989–1993
Education Lauro Cavazos 1989–1990
  Lamar Alexander 1991–1993
HUD Jack F. Kemp 1989–1993
Transportation Samuel K. Skinner 1989–1992
  Andrew H. Card 1992–1993
Energy James D. Watkins 1989–1993
Veterans Affairs Edward J. Derwinski 1989–1993

Supreme Court appointments

Bush appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:

    • David Souter – 1990
    • Clarence Thomas – 1991, making Bush the first Republican President to appoint an African American Supreme Court justice.


1992 re-election campaign

1992 presidential electoral votes by state.
1992 presidential electoral votes by state.

The tail end of the late 1980s recession, that had plagued most of Bush's term in office, was a contributing factor to his defeat in the 1992 Presidential election to Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas. The coalition victory in the Persian Gulf War led to a feeling that Bush's re-election was almost assured, but the economic recession coupled with a perceived failure to end the war properly reduced his popularity. Bush was also perceived as being "out of touch" with the American worker. One incident that was said to lend credence to this suspicion occurred during a technology trade show in which Bush appeared "amazed" upon seeing a demonstration of a supermarket scanner. However, Andrew Rosenthal, the reporter who broke the story was not present during the demonstration. He had relied on his own interpretation of a pool report by Gregg McDonald. The New York Times stood by its interpretation of the event, but Newsweek and Mark Duffy of Time Magazine, as well as the man who demonstrated the product for Bush, all took issue with Rosenthal's characterization.[14] Nevertheless, media outlets reported the story as it tied in with and supported the notion that the president was out of touch with the common man.

Several other factors were key in his defeat, including agreeing in 1990 to raise taxes despite his famous "Read my lips: no new taxes" pledge not to institute any new taxes. In doing so, Bush alienated many members of his conservative base, losing their support for his re-election. Bush raised taxes in an attempt to address an ever-increasing budget deficit, which some at the time attributed the to the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s. Despite these tax cuts, overall tax revenues had doubled in the 1980s, from $517 billion to $1.031 trillion.[2]. During the same period, however, growth in domestic spending had outpaced the increase in revenue. George H.W. Bush had been supported in 1988 by conservatives to continue the Reagan revolution, and was seen as a failure in this regard. Ironically, Bush had previously admonished Reagan's supply side tax cuts in the 1980 presidential primary when he referred to Reagan's tax proposals as "voodoo economics."

Ross Perot won 19% of the popular vote, the highest total for a third-party candidate since Theodore Roosevelt on the ticket of the Bull-Moose Party.

Despite his defeat, George H.W. Bush left office in 1993 with a 56 percent job approval rating.[15]


President George W. Bush talks about the Tsunami disaster in Indonesia as former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush look on.
President George W. Bush talks about the Tsunami disaster in Indonesia as former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush look on.

Since his final election campaign, Bush has mostly retired from public life. He and his wife live most of the year at their home in the exclusive neighborhood of Tanglewood in Houston, with a presidential office nearby, and the remainder at their summer home Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine. He holds his own fishing tournament in Islamorada, an island in the Florida Keys.

In April 1993, the Iraqi Intelligence Service attempted to assassinate former President Bush via car bomb during a visit to Kuwait. However, Kuwaiti security foiled the car bomb plot. On June 26, 1993, the U.S. launched a missile attack targeting Baghdad intelligence headquarters in retaliation for the attempted attack against Bush.

In 1998, Bush made a speech in Tokyo on behalf of Global Crossing, Ltd., a startup telecommunications company. Bush accepted shares of stock in the company in place of his normal $80,000 speaking fee. Global Crossing made a public offering a few months later. SEC records indicate that Bush sold the stock for $4,505,000 in two sales that occurred on November 16, 1999 and March 13, 2000. In January 2002, Global Crossing declared chapter 11 bankruptcy, making it the fourth largest insolvency in United States history.[3]

Bush has never written a memoir of his political life, and says he does not plan to write one. He has, however, published a book containing a series of collected letters (All The Best, George Bush, 1999), and co-authored a book on recent foreign policy issues with his former National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft (A World Transformed, 1998).

He has given numerous speeches and participated in business ventures with the Carlyle Group, a private equity fund with close ties to the government of Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he held the position of Senior Advisor to the Carlyle Group's Asia Advisory Board from April 1998 to October 2003. In January 2006, Bush wrote a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the People's Republic of China on behalf of the Carlyle Group. In the letter, Bush urged the Chinese government to approve an impending deal in which the Chinese government would sell 85% share ownership of the troubled Guangdong Development Bank to a consortium led by Citibank. In addition to praising Citibank and the other foreign member of the consortium, the Carlyle Group, Bush also intimated that a successful acquisition would be “beneficial to the comprehensive development of Sino-US relations.”

Robert Parry, an American investigative journalist, and others have criticized Bush's allegedly close relationship with Sun Myung Moon, a controversial religious figure.[4]

Bush, along with his son President George W. Bush, his daughter-in-law, Laura, and former President Bill Clinton, pay their respects to Pope John Paul II before the pope's funeral.
Bush, along with his son President George W. Bush, his daughter-in-law, Laura, and former President Bill Clinton, pay their respects to Pope John Paul II before the pope's funeral.

On June 12, 2004, he went skydiving in honor of his 80th birthday. It was his third parachute jump since World War II. The day before his 80th birthday jump, he and his son both took part in eulogizing his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, at the latter's state funeral.

On November 22, 2004, New York Republican Governor George Pataki named Bush and the other living former Presidents (Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton) as honorary members of the board rebuilding the World Trade Center.

On January 3, 2005, Bush and Bill Clinton were named by the current President Bush to lead a nationwide campaign to help the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Bush and Clinton both appeared on the Super Bowl XXXIX pre-game show on Fox in support of their bipartisan effort to raise money for relief of the disaster through the USA Freedom Corps, an action which Bush described as "transcending politics." Thirteen days later, they both traveled to the affected areas to see how the relief efforts are going.

In August 31, 2005, following the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, Bush again teamed with Clinton to coordinate private relief donations. Reports were common that Bush and Clinton had developed a friendship by now, despite the latter having defeated the former in the 1992 election. (Such friendships were not unknown, as Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter had developed one despite a similar history.). Almost a year later, on May 13, 2006, they received Honorary Diplomas from Tulane University at the school's commencement ceremony.

Bush and his wife Barbara could also be seen sitting in the front row behind home plate at Minute Maid Park in Houston, supporting the Houston Astros during the 2005 World Series.

On September 21, 2006, Bush attended the Centennial Celebration of Suffolk University as a guest speaker for the event, where he received an Honorary Diploma from the Beacon Hill based institution.[5]


Former President George H. W. Bush views a model of the aircraft carrier that has been named in his honor
Former President George H. W. Bush views a model of the aircraft carrier that has been named in his honor

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located on the southwest corner of the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

    • George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, was renamed after the former President in 1997.
    • The first modified Nimitz-class aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush-subclass will be named USS George H. W. Bush when it is launched in 2008. [16]

In 1999, the CIA headquarters facility in Langley, Virginia, was renamed the George Bush Center for Intelligence.[1]

In 2001, he became the first President since John Adams to be father of another President, when his son George W. Bush, previously Governor of Texas, took office as President of the United States. During his term of office, George H. W. Bush was simply known as President George Bush, since his son had never held elective office and was not especially well-known to the public. He is now referred to by various nicknames and titles, including "Former President Bush," "Bush the Elder," "the first President Bush," "Bush 41," "Papa Bush," and simply "41", in order to avoid confusion between his presidency and that of his son. Although the names of the two men are similar, they are not identical — George W. Bush lacks his father's middle name Herbert — so they are not known as "senior" and "junior"; however, this has not stopped people from using these two terms to refer Bush and his son.

In 2004, The Korea Society awarded George H.W. Bush with its annual James A. Van Fleet Award.

In 2006, he won the Philadelphia Liberty Medal.


    • He was the first President to have two middle names. He was known as simply George Bush during his time in office due to his son George W. Bush not being as prominent at the time.
    • On January 8, 1992, Bush vomited on the lap of the Prime Minister of Japan, Kiichi Miyazawa, during a state dinner. He then fainted. The incident, which Bush claimed was nothing more than the flu, was caught on camera and raised questions about his health, in addition to being a major source of embarrassment. The Japanese named a verb for this incident: "bushu-suru", meaning "to commit an instance of embarrassing public vomiting", or literally "to do the Bush thing".[17] At a subsequent state dinner for Japan in Washington DC, Bush quipped that "this time, dinner is on me".
    • On October 22, 1994, Bush appeared on Saturday Night Live, via satellite. He joined guest host Dana Carvey as the latter did his trademark impression of Bush. He again appeared with Carvey in the television show's special "Presidential Bash 2000."
    • Bush is one of two former Presidents to be given the honorary title Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) by Queen Elizabeth II. (The other is Ronald Reagan. Dwight D. Eisenhower also received the title, but before he became President.)
    • He is the only President to have been CIA director, and the only President to have headed the American liaison office in the People's Republic of China.
    • He is the only President to have been a World War II U.S. Navy combat aviator. He was the last U.S. President to have been a veteran of that war. The other World War II veterans were Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford.
    • Bush was diagnosed with Graves disease in 1991. (His wife Barbara was also diagnosed with Graves, as was his White House pet, Millie, a Springer Spaniel.[18])
    • Despite being defeated by Bill Clinton in 1992 for the presidency, the two have become friends. They have worked together on several causes helping out the current administration despite philosophical differences.
    • There was a Bush or Bob Dole on every Republican presidential ticket from 1976 to 2004. (Ford-Dole, Reagan-Bush, Reagan-Bush, Bush-Quayle, Bush-Quayle, Dole-Kemp, Bush-Cheney, Bush-Cheney).
    • Except for 1964, there was a Bush, Richard Nixon, or Bob Dole on every Republican presidential ticket from 1952 to 2004. (Eisenhower-Nixon, Eisenhower-Nixon, Nixon-Lodge, Goldwater-Miller, Nixon-Agnew, Nixon-Agnew).
    • Bush was the first President born in June, according to the Complete Book of U.S. Presidents (2001 edition), and now Presidents have been born in all 12 months.
    • Bush banned broccoli from the White House and Air Force One: "I'm President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!" This spawned a routine on the TV show Histeria! which portrayed him and Loud Kiddington doing a Green Eggs and Ham-type routine. Also, because of this, an article was printed in Taste of Home magazine for February and March 1998 that talked about a presidential theme party whose menus said, "No broccoli permitted."
George and Barbara Bush on The Simpsons.
George and Barbara Bush on The Simpsons.
    • Bush was the first sitting Vice President to be elected President since 1836.
    • Bush held a bag of cocaine up during a speech in 1989. The cocaine was allegedly purchased in the Presidential Park across the street from the White House.
    • Bush appeared with Barbara on an episode of the animated television series The Simpsons, entitled "Two Bad Neighbors". The former First Couple move into Springfield and leave after George gets involved in a feud with Homer and Bart Simpson (the latter in a style reminiscent of Dennis the Menace and Mr. Wilson; Barbara acts just like Mrs. Wilson, even using her catchphrase "Oh, George..."). Their sons George and Jeb are mentioned and appear as cutouts. Bush was voiced by Simpsons cast member Harry Shearer.
    • All three major candidates for President in 1992 were left-handed, President Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot.
    • Bush was the 41st president to serve but the 40th to be born. He born in 1924 the same year as Jimmy Carter (who was born October 1), who was actually the 41st president in terms of birth order. John F Kennedy was the 39th president in birth order, born in 1917.
    • Bush is the third former president to have a ship of the United States Navy named for him while still alive. Like former president Jimmy Carter, he is likely to be still alive and in good health when his namesake, the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77), is commissioned in 2009.


    • "The aggression will not stand."
    • "If you don't feel something strongly you're not going to achieve."
    • "I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God."[6]


    • ^ a b The George Bush Center for Intelligence - CIA, accessed February 26, 2006
    • ^ George Herbert Walker Bush -, accessed February 26, 2006
    • ^ Rice University: Fact or Fiction? - accessed May 9, 2006
    • ^ Expectations, momentum, fatal mistakes - Tom Curry, MSNBC, January 15, 2004
    • ^ Transcript - New York Times, June 30, 1997
    • ^ George H.W. Bush: 1988 Republican National Convention Acceptance Address - transcript, speech delivered August 18, 1988, Superdome, New Orleans
    • ^ George H.W. Bush: Inaugural Address - transcript, speech delivered January 20, 1989
    • ^ George H.W. Bush: Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Persian Gulf Crisis and the Federal Budget Deficit - transcript, speech delivered September 11, 1990
    • ^ After the Storm, Anthony H. Cordesman
    • ^ Reasons Not to Invade Iraq, by George Bush Sr. - The Memory Hole, accessed February 26, 2006
    • ^ A Word Transformed - accessed February 26, 2006
    • ^ Bush tells Gulf vets why Hussein left in Baghdad - S. H. Kelly, United States Army News Center, March 3, 1999
    • ^ Transcripts from Malta Summit - CNN
    • ^
    • ^ Poll: Clinton Legacy Mixed - Gary Langer, ABC News, January 17, 2001
    • ^
    • ^ Open Mic - Scandal Scope - Richard von Busack, Metroactive Features, accessed February 26, 2006
    • ^ Ebner SA, Badonnel MC, Altman LK, Braverman LE. Conjugal Graves disease. Ann Intern Med. 1992 Mar 15;116(6):479-81.

Further reading

    • Barilleaux, Ryan J., Stuckey, Mary E. (1992). Leadership and the Bush Presidency: Prudence or Drift in an Era of Change. New York: Praeger. ISBN 0275944182.
    • Bush, George H. W. (1999). All the best, George Bush : my life in letters and other writings. New York: Scribner. ISBN 068483958X.
    • Ducat, Stephen J. (2004). The wimp factor: gender gaps, holy wars, and the politics of anxious masculinity. Boston: Beacon Press. ISBN 0807043443.
    • Duffy, Michael, Goodgame, Dan (1992). Marching in place : the status quo presidency of George Bush. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671737201.
    • Green, John Robert (2000). The Presidency of George Bush. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0700609938.
    • Hyams, Joe (1991). Flight of the Avenger: George Bush at War. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovic. ISBN 0151314691.
    • Kelley, Kitty (2004). The Family: The True Story of the Bush Dynasty. London: Doubleday. ISBN 0385503245.
    • Podhoretz, John (1993). Hell of a Ride: Backstage at the White House Follies, 1989-1993. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671796488.
    • Smith, Jean Edward (1992). George Bush's War. New York: Henry Holt & Company. ISBN 0805013881.
    • Tarpley, Webster G., Chaitkin, Anton (1991). George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography. Washington: Executive Intelligence Review. ISBN 0943235057.

See also

    • Church Committee
    • October surprise conspiracy
    • Iran hostage crisis
    • Ken Taylor
    • Iran Contra
    • Fahrenheit 9/11 controversy
    • Fahrenheit 9/11½ Sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11
    • Timeline of United States and China relations 1995-1997
    • U.S. presidential election, 1980
    • U.S. presidential election, 1988
    • U.S. presidential election, 1992
Further information: Category:George H.W. Bush

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