Oct 23, 2008

George W. Bush

George W. Bush is the eldest among the six children of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Pierce Bush. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a Senator from Connecticut, and his father served as U.S. President from 1989 to 1993. Bush attended The Kinkaid School as a child, Phillips Academy during his high school years and, following his father’s footsteps, Yale University where he received a bachelor ’s degree in history in 1968.

In May 1968, Bush was accepted into the Texas Air National Guard, after scoring the lowest acceptable passing grade on the pilot’s written aptitude test. After training, he was assigned to duty in Houston, flying Convair F-102s out of Ellington Air Force Base. Although he wasn’t accepted at the University Of Texas School Of Law, he accepted a transfer to the Alabama Air National Guard in 1972 to work on a Republican senate campaign, and in October 1973, he was discharged from the Texas Air National Guard. He then went to Harvard University, where he earned his MBA, and completed his six-year servce obligation in the inactive reserve.

In 1977, he was introduced by friends at a backyard barbeque to Laura Welch, a school teacher and librarian. Bush married her on November 5 of 1977 after a three-month courtship and proposal. They settled in Midland, Texas. Laura had twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, in 1981, graduating from high school in 2000 and from the University of Texas at Austin and Yale University, respectively, in 2004.

In 1978, Bush ran for the House of Representatives from Texas’s 19th congressional district. He lost to Kent Hance by 6,000 votes. Bush returned to the oil industry and began a series of small, independent oil exploration companies.

In 1988, Bush and his family moved to Washington D.C. to work on his father’s campaign for the U.S. presidency. He worked as a campaign adviser and served as liaison to the media; he assisted his father by campaigning across the country. Returning to Texas after the successful campaign, he purchased a share in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in April 1989, where he served as managing general partner for five years. In December 1991, Bush was one of seven people named by his father to run his father's 1992 Presidential re-election campaign; Bush's title was "campaign advisor".

As Bush's brother, Jeb, sought the governorship of Florida, Bush declared his candidacy for the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. Winning the Republican primary easily, Bush faced popular Democrat incumbent Governor Ann Richards. His campaign focused on four themes: welfare reform, tort reform, crime reduction, and education improvement. Bush's campaign advisers were Karen Hughes, Joe Allbaugh, and Karl Rove.

In June 1999, while Governor of Texas, Bush announced his candidacy for President of the United States. With no incumbent running, Bush entered a large field of candidates for the Republican Party presidential nomination. Along with Bush, that field of candidates consisted of John McCain, Alan Keyes, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Orrin Hatch, Elizabeth Dole, Dan Quayle, Pat Buchanan, Lamar Alexander, John Kasich and Robert C. Smith.

Bush portrayed himself as a compassionate conservative. He campaigned on a platform that included increasing the size of the United States Armed Forces, cut taxes, improve education, and aid minorities. By early 2000, the race had centered on Bush and McCain.

Bush won the Iowa caucuses, and although he was heavily favored to win the New Hampshire primary, he trailed John McCain by 19% and lost that primary. However, the Bush campaign regained momentum and, according to political observers, effectively became the front runner after the South Carolina primary. The South Carolina campaign was controversial for the use of telephone poll questions phrased negatively toward McCain.

On July 25, 2000, Bush surprised some observers by asking the Halliburton corporation's chief executive officer Dick Cheney, a former White House Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative, and Secretary of Defense, to be his running mate. Cheney was then serving as head of Bush's Vice-Presidential search committee. Soon after, he was officially nominated by the Republican Party at the 2000 Republican National Convention.
Bush continued to campaign across the country, and touted his record as Governor of Texas. Bush's campaign criticized his Democratic opponent, incumbent Vice President Al Gore, over gun control and taxation.
As the election returns came in on November 7, Bush won twenty-nine states including Florida. The closeness of the Florida outcome led to a recount. Two initial counts went to Bush, but the outcome was tied up in courts for a month until reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. On December 9, in the Bush v. Gore case, the Court reversed a Florida Supreme Court ruling ordering a third count, and stopped an ordered statewide hand recount based on the argument that the use of different standards among Florida's counties violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The machine recount stated that Bush had won the Florida vote by a margin of 537 votes out of six million cast. Bush received 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266. However, he lost the popular vote by 543,895 votes, surpassing the previous 1876 election record. This made him one of three Presidents elected without receiving a plurality of the popular vote.

Bush commanded broad support in the Republican Party and did not encounter a primary challenge. He appointed Kenneth Mehlman as campaign manager, with a political strategy devised by Karl Rove.
Bush carried thirty-one of fifty states for a total of 286 electoral votes. He won an absolute majority of the popular vote (50.7% to his opponent's 48.3%).

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