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George W. Bush - Biography

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U.S. President George W. Bush gestures while delivering his State Of the Union address before a joint session of Congress January 29, 2002
Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Title:

43rd President of the United States

Overview:

George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) began a four-year term as President on January 20, 2001. He is currently running for re-election. He is the son of 41st President George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush. His brother, Jeb Bush, is the governor of Florida.

Personal Life and Family:

The eldest of six siblings, Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He has four living siblings: Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. In 1953, a sister, Robin, died at age three of leukemia. In 1977, he married the former Laura Welch, a teacher and librarian. They have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna; both graduated from college in 2004.
Bush is an alumnus of Yale University (1964-1968). He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (president for three years) and the Skull and Bones Society. Immediately after graduation he joined the Texas Air National Guard, becoming an F-102 pilot in 1970. His service record is controversial. In 1972 he asked for a transfer to the Alabama National Guard. While in Alabama he worked on Republican Winton "Red" Blount's successful campaign for Senate.
He lost his flight credentials in 1972 for failure to take a physical. He received permission to end his four-year commitment six months early in order to attend Harvard, where he received an MBA in 1975.

Professional Background:

Before assuming the presidency, Bush served as governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000. His political career began inauspiciously, with an unsuccessful run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978 after which he began a career in the oil industry in 1978. In 1989, he formed a consortium to buy the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball franchise. He served as the team General Manager until his election as governor in 1994. He is the first Texas governor elected to consecutive four-year terms.

Presidential Highlights:

Bush's presidency is marked by the 9-11-2001 terrorist attacks which led to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In June 2004, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States reported that there was no "credible evidence" linking Saddam/al-Qaida. His foreign policy has come under increasing criticism from former leaders of both parties.

Mid-term elections in 2002 saw Republicans gain control over the Senate and retain control over the House of Representatives, giving the party control over both elected branches of government. In 2003, Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, which supports early learning programs and measures student performance. Bush also signed the Medicare Act of 2003, which added prescription drug coverage; the Act is controversial in part because cost projections provided to Congress were artificially low.

Bush and Congress have overseen a shift from a record budget surplus of $236 billion in 2000 to a projected record budget deficit of $521 billion in 2004. The prior record deficit was $290 billion in 1992 during the Reagan Administration. Factors contributing to the deficit include three tax cuts, increased government spending -- especially defense -- and an economic recession.

Resources:
  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. US Politics
  4. Presidency
  5. An In-Depth Profile of President George W. Bush

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