One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.Qusmo Qusmo 2012-09-18 (visit:854) - George W. Bush books reading
If this were a dictatorship it would be a heck of a lot easier... as long as I'm the dictator. Hehehe.Qusmo Qusmo 2012-09-18 (visit:715) - George W. Bush
One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.Qusmo Qusmo 2012-09-18 (visit:543) - George W. Bush
It has come to my attention, that air pollution is polluting the air!Qusmo Qusmo 2012-09-18 (visit:693) - George W. Bush
It’s clearly a budget. It’s got lots of numbers in it.Qusmo Qusmo 2012-09-18 (visit:637) - George W. Bush humor money
My job is a decision-making job, and as a result, I make a lot of decisions.Qusmo Qusmo 2012-09-18 (visit:727) - George W. Bush
I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.Qusmo Qusmo 2012-09-18 (visit:735) - George W. Bush
I don't care what the polls say. I don't. I'm doing what I think what's wrong.Qusmo Qusmo 2012-09-18 (visit:724) - George W. Bush
It's a time of sorrow and sadness when we lose a loss of life.Qusmo Qusmo 2012-09-18 (visit:641) - George W. Bush death
George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is an American politician and businessman who was the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009 and the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000. The eldest son of Barbara Bush and George H. W. Bush, he was born in New Haven, Connecticut. 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 ran unsuccessfully 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. Bush was elected president in 2000 after a close and controversial election, becoming the fourth president to be elected while receiving fewer popular votes nationwide than his opponent. Bush is the second president to have been the son of a former president, the first being John Quincy Adams. He is also the brother of Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida.
Eight months into Bush's first term as president, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred. In response, Bush announced the War on Terror, an international military campaign which included the war in Afghanistan launched in 2001 and the war in Iraq launched in 2003. In addition to national security issues, Bush also promoted policies on the economy, health care, education, and social security reform. He signed into law broad tax cuts, the PATRIOT Act, 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, Social Security, electronic surveillance, and enhanced interrogation techniques. He announced the U.S. would not implement the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, which had been signed by the previous administration but never ratified by the Senate.
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 across the political spectrum. In 2005, the Bush Administration dealt with widespread criticism over its handling of Hurricane Katrina. Following this and other controversies, as well as the growing unpopularity of the Iraq War, Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 elections. In December 2007, the United States entered its longest post–World War II recession, prompting the Bush Administration to enact multiple economic programs intended to preserve the country's financial system. Though Bush was popular in the U.S. for much of his first term, his popularity declined sharply during his second term. He was a highly controversial figure internationally, with public protests occurring even during visits to close allies, such as the United Kingdom.
After leaving office, Bush returned to Texas and purchased a home in a suburban area of Dallas. He is currently a public speaker and has written a book about his life entitled Decision Points.
Contents 1 Childhood to mid-life 1.1 Education 1.2 Texas Air National Guard 2 Marriage, family, and personal life 3 Early career 4 Governor of Texas 5 Presidential campaigns 5.1 2000 Presidential candidacy 5.1.1 Primary 5.1.2 General election 5.2 2004 Presidential candidacy 6 Presidency 6.1 Domestic policy 6.1.1 Economic policy 6.1.2 Education and health 6.1.3 Social services and Social Security 6.1.4 Environmental policies 6.1.5 Energy policies 6.1.6 Stem cell research and first use of veto power 6.1.7 Immigration 6.1.8 Hurricane Katrina 6.1.9 Midterm dismissal of U.S. attorneys 6.2 Foreign policy 6.2.1 September 11, 2001 6.2.2 War on Terrorism 6.2.3 Afghanistan 6.2.4 Iraq 6.2.5 Surveillance 6.2.6 Interrogation policies 6.2.7 North Korea 6.2.8 Syria 6.2.9 Africa 6.2.10 Assassination attempt 6.2.11 Other issues 6.3 Judicial appointments 6.3.1 Supreme Court 6.3.2 Other courts 6.4 Public image and perception 6.4.1 Domestic 184.108.40.206 Image 220.127.116.11 Job approval 18.104.22.168 Assessment by historians 6.4.2 Foreign perceptions 6.4.3 Acknowledgements and Dedications 7 Post-presidency 8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links
Childhood to mid-life
Main article: Early life of George W. Bush
George Walker Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut at Grace-New Haven Hospital (now Yale – New Haven Hospital), on July 6, 1946, the first child of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush (née Pierce). He was raised in Midland and Houston, Texas, with 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, was Vice President from 1981 to 1989 and President from 1989 to 1993. Bush is of primarily English descent and also more distant German, Dutch, 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 high school 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 an A.B. in history. During this time, he was a cheerleader and a member of the 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 rugby union player and was on Yale's 1st XV. He characterized himself as an average student. His average during his first three years at Yale was 77 and he had a similar average under a nonnumeric rating system in his final year.
Beginning in the fall of 1973, Bush attended the Harvard Business School, where he earned a Master of Business Administration. He is the only U.S. President to have earned an M.B.A.
Texas Air National Guard
See also: George W. Bush military service controversy
Lt. George W. Bush while in the 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 Reconnaissance Wing out of Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base. Critics, including former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, 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 Fighter Wing 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 1972, Bush was suspended from flying for failure to take a scheduled physical exam. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserve on November 21, 1974.
Marriage, family, and personal life
See also: Bush family
George and Laura Bush with their daughters Jenna and Barbara, 1990
At a backyard barbecue in 1977, friends introduced him to Laura Welch, a school teacher and librarian. Bush proposed to her after a three-month courtship, and they married on November 5 of that year. The couple settled in Midland, Texas. Bush left his family's Episcopal Church to join his wife's United Methodist Church. In 1981, Laura Bush gave birth to fraternal twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara; they graduated from high school in 2000 and from the University of Texas at Austin and Yale University, respectively, in 2004.
Prior to his marriage, Bush had multiple episodes of alcohol abuse. In one instance, on September 4, 1976, he was arrested near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, for driving under the influence of alcohol. He pleaded guilty, was fined $150 and had his Maine driver's license suspended until 1978. Bush's alleged drug usage is less clear; when asked about alleged past illicit drug use, Bush has consistently refused to answer. He defended his refusal to answer in a publicized casual conversation with a friend, saying that he feared setting a bad example for the younger generation.
Bush says his wife has had a stabilizing effect on his life, and attributes to her influence his 1986 decision to give up alcohol. While Governor of Texas, Bush said of his wife, "I saw an elegant, beautiful woman who turned out not only to be elegant and beautiful, but very smart and willing to put up with my rough edges, and I must confess has smoothed them off over time."
Bush mostly reads "serious historical nonfiction" for pleasure. During his time as president, Bush read 14 Lincoln biographies and, during the last three years of his presidency, he reportedly read 186 books. A reporter recalls seeing "books by John Fowles, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, and Gore Vidal lying about, as well as biographies of Willa Cather and Queen Victoria" in his home when Bush was a Texas oilman. Other hobbies include cigar smoking and golf.
George W. Bush with his father outside the White House on April 29, 1992
Main article: Professional life of George W. Bush
In 1978, Bush ran for the House of Representatives from Texas's 19th congressional district. His opponent, Kent Hance, portrayed him as out of touch with rural Texans. Bush lost the election by 6,000 votes (6%) of the 103,000 votes cast. He returned to the oil industry and began a series of small, independent oil exploration companies. He created Arbusto Energy, and later changed the name to Bush Exploration. In 1984, his company merged with the larger Spectrum 7, and Bush became chairman. The company was hurt by decreased oil prices, and it folded into HKN, Inc. Bush served on the board of directors for HKN. Questions of possible insider trading involving HKN arose, but the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) investigation concluded that the information Bush had at the time of his stock sale was not sufficient to constitute insider trading.
Bush moved his family to Washington, D.C. in 1988 to work on his father's campaign for the U.S. presidency. He served as a campaign adviser and 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. He actively led the team's projects and regularly attended its games, often choosing to sit in the open stands with fans. Bush's sale of his shares in the Rangers in 1998 brought him over $15 million from his initial $800,000 investment.
In December 1991, Bush was one of seven people named by his father to run his father's 1992 Presidential re-election campaign as "campaign advisor". The prior month, his father asked him to tell White House chief of staff John H. Sununu that he should resign.
Governor of Texas
Main article: Governorship of George W. Bush
Governor Bush with wife, Laura, and father, George H. W. Bush
As Bush's brother, Jeb, sought the governorship of Florida, Bush declared his candidacy for the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. 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.
After easily winning the Republican primary, Bush faced popular Democratic incumbent Governor Ann Richards. In the course of the campaign, Bush pledged to sign a bill allowing Texans to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons. Richards had vetoed the bill, but Bush signed it after he became governor. According to The Atlantic Monthly, the race "featured a rumor that she was a lesbian, along with a rare instance of such a tactic's making it into the public record – when a regional chairman of the Bush campaign allowed himself, perhaps inadvertently, to be quoted criticizing Richards for 'appointing avowed homosexual activists' to state jobs".The Atlantic, and others, connected the lesbian rumor to Karl Rove, but Rove denied being involved. Bush won the general election with 53.5% against Richards' 45.9%.
Bush used a budget surplus to push through Texas's largest tax-cut, $2 billion. He extended government funding for organizations providing education of the dangers of alcohol and drug use and abuse, and helping to reduce domestic violence. Critics contended that during his tenure, Texas ranked near the bottom in environmental evaluations, but supporters pointed to his efforts to raise the salaries of teachers and improved educational test scores.
In 1999, Bush also helped make Texas eventually the leading producer of wind powered electricity in the U.S. by signing a state law obliging electric retailers to buy a certain amount of energy from renewable sources (RPS).
In 1998, Bush won re-election with a record 69% of the vote. He became the first governor in Texas history to be elected to two consecutive four-year terms. For most of Texas history, governors served two-year terms; a constitutional amendment extended those terms to four years starting in 1975. In his second term, Bush promoted faith-based organizations and enjoyed high approval ratings. He proclaimed June 10, 2000 to be Jesus Day in Texas, a day on which he "urge all Texans to answer the call to serve those in need".
Throughout Bush's first term, national attention focused on him as a potential future presidential candidate. Following his re-election, speculation soared. Within a year, he decided to seek the 2000 Republican presidential nomination.
2000 Presidential candidacy
Main article: United States presidential election, 2000
Bush in Concord, New Hampshire signing to be a candidate for president
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 consisting 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, implying he was more centrist than other Republicans. He campaigned on a platform that included increasing the size of the United States Armed Forces, cutting taxes, improving education, and aiding minorities. By early 2000, the race had centered on Bush and McCain.
Bush won the Iowa caucuses, but, although he was heavily favored to win the New Hampshire primary, he trailed McCain by 19% and lost that primary. Despite this, Bush regained momentum and, according to political observers, effectively became the front runner after the South Carolina primary, which according to The Boston Globe made history for his campaign's negativity; The New York Times described it as a smear campaign.
On July 25, 2000, Bush surprised some observers by asking 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, Cheney 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.
When the election returns came in on November 7, Bush won 29 states, including Florida. The closeness of the Florida outcome led to a recount. The initial recount also 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 a controversial ruling the Bush v. Gore case the Court reversed a Florida Supreme Court decision 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 showed that Bush had won the Florida vote by a margin of 537 votes out of six million cast. Although he received 543,895 fewer individual votes than Gore nationwide, Bush won the election, receiving 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266.
2004 Presidential candidacy
Main article: United States presidential election, 2004
George W. Bush speaks at a campaign rally in 2004.
In 2004, Bush commanded broad support in the Republican Party and did not encounter a primary challenge. He appointed Ken Mehlman as campaign manager, with a political strategy devised by Karl Rove. Bush and the Republican platform included a strong commitment to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for the USA PATRIOT Act, a renewed shift in policy for constitutional amendments banning abortion and same-sex marriage, reforming Social Security to create private investment accounts, creation of an ownership society, and opposing mandatory carbon emissions controls. Bush also called for the implementation of a guest worker program for immigrants, which was criticized by conservatives.
The Bush campaign advertised across the U.S. against Democratic candidates, including Bush's emerging opponent, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Kerry and other Democrats attacked Bush on the Iraq War, and accused him of failing to stimulate the economy and job growth. The Bush campaign portrayed Kerry as a staunch liberal who would raise taxes and increase the size of government. The Bush campaign continuously criticized Kerry's seemingly contradictory statements on the war in Iraq, and argued that Kerry lacked the decisiveness and vision necessary for success in the War on Terror.
In the election, Bush carried 31 of 50 states, receiving a total of 286 electoral votes. He won an outright majority of the popular vote (50.7% to his opponent's 48.3%). The previous President to win an outright majority of the popular vote was Bush's father in the 1988 election. Additionally, it was the first time since Herbert Hoover's election in 1928 that a Republican president was elected alongside re-elected Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress. Bush's 2.5% margin of victory was the narrowest ever for a victorious incumbent President, breaking Woodrow Wilson's 3.1% margin of victory against Charles Evans Hughes in the election of 1916.
Main articles: Presidency of George W. Bush, George W. Bush's first term as President of the United States, and George W. Bush's second term as President of the United States
Though Bush originally outlined an ambitious domestic agenda, his priorities were significantly altered following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Wars were waged in Afghanistan and Iraq with significant domestic debates regarding immigration, healthcare, Social Security, economic policy, and treatment of terrorist detainees. Over an eight year period, Bush's once-high approval ratings steadily declined, while his disapproval numbers increased significantly. In 2007, the United States entered the longest post-World War II recession.
Main article: Domestic policy of the George W. Bush administration
Main article: Economic policy of the George W. Bush administration
Bush took office during a period of economic recession in the wake of the bursting of the Dot-com bubble. The terrorist attacks also impacted the economy. The Bush administration increased federal government spending from $1.789 trillion to $2.983 trillion (70%) while revenues increased from $2025 billion to $2524 billion (from 2000 to 2008). Individual income tax revenues increased by 14%, corporate tax revenues by 50%, customs and duties by 40%. Discretionary defense spending was increased by 107%, discretionary domestic spending by 62%, Medicare spending by 131%, social security by 51%, and income security spending by 130%. Cyclically adjusted, revenues rose by 35% and spending by 65%.
President Bush signing a $1.35 trillion tax cut into law. June 7, 2001
The increase in spending was more than under any predecessor since Lyndon B. Johnson. The number of economic regulation governmental workers increased by 91,196.
The surplus in fiscal year 2000 was $237 billion—the third consecutive surplus and the largest surplus ever. In 2001, Bush's budget estimated that there would be a $5.6 trillion surplus over the next ten years. Facing congressional opposition, Bush held townhall style meetings across the U.S. in order to increase public support for his plan for a $1.35 trillion tax cut program—one of the largest tax cuts in U.S. history. Bush argued that unspent government funds should be returned to taxpayers, saying "the surplus is not the government’s money. The surplus is the people’s money." Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned of a recession and Bush stated that a tax cut would stimulate the economy and create jobs. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, opposed some of the tax cuts on the basis that they would contribute to budget deficits and undermine Social Security. O'Neill disputes the claim, made in Bush's book "Decision Points", that he never openly disagreed with him on planned tax cuts. By 2003, the economy showed signs of improvement, though job growth remained stagnant.Another tax cut program was passed that year.
Under the Bush Administration, real GDP grew at an average annual rate of 2.5%, considerably below the average for business cycles since 1949.
Bush entered office with the Dow Jones Industrial Average at 10,587, and the average peaked in October 2007 at over 14,000. When Bush left office, the average was at 7,949, one of the lowest levels of his presidency.
Deficit and debt increases 2001–2009. Gross debt has increased over $500 billion each year since FY2003.
Unemployment originally rose from 4.2% in January 2001 to 6.3% in June 2003, but subsequently dropped to 4.5% as of July 2007. Adjusted for inflation, median household income dropped by $1,175 between 2000 and 2007, while Professor Ken Homa of Georgetown University has noted that "after-tax median household income increased by 2%" The poverty rate increased from 11.3% in 2000 to 12.3% in 2006 after peaking at 12.7% in 2004. By October 2008, due to increases in spending,the national debt had risen to $11.3 trillion, an increase of over 100% from 2000 when the debt was only $5.6 trillion. Most debt was accumulated as a result of what became known as the "Bush tax cuts" and increased national security spending. By the end of Bush's presidency, unemployment climbed to 7.2%. The perception of Bush's effect on the economy is significantly affected by partisanship, which makes it difficult to determine who or what caused which problems.
In December 2007, the United States entered the longest post–World War II recession, which included a housing market correction, a subprime mortgage crisis, soaring oil prices, and a declining dollar value. In February, 63,000 jobs were lost, a five-year record. To aid with the situation, Bush signed a $170 billion economic stimulus package which was intended to improve the economic situation by sending tax rebate checks to many Americans and providing tax breaks for struggling businesses. The Bush administration pushed for significantly increased regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2003, and after two years, the regulations passed the House but died in the Senate. Many Republican senators, as well as influential members of the Bush Administration, feared that the agency created by these regulations would merely be mimicking the private sector’s risky practices. In September 2008, the crisis became much more serious beginning with the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac followed by the collapse of Lehman Brothers and a federal bailout of American International Group for $85 billion.
Many economists and world governments determined that the situation became the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Additional regulation over the housing market would have been beneficial, according to former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Bush, meanwhile, proposed a financial rescue plan to buy back a large portion of the U.S. mortgage market. Vince Reinhardt, a former Federal Reserve economist now at the American Enterprise Institute, said "it would have helped for the Bush administration to empower the folks at Treasury and the Federal Reserve and the comptroller of the currency and the FDIC to look at these issues more closely", and additionally, that it would have helped "for Congress to have held hearings".
In November 2008, over 500,000 jobs were lost, which marked the largest loss of jobs in the United States in 34 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in the last four months of 2008, 1.9 million jobs were lost. By the end of 2008, the U.S. had lost a total of 2.6 million jobs.
Education and health
Bush undertook a number of educational priorities, such as increasing the funding for the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health in his first years of office, and creating education programs to strengthen the grounding in science and mathematics for American high school students. Funding for the NIH was cut in 2006, the first such cut in 36 years, due to rising inflation.
Bush signs the No Child Left Behind Act into law, January 2002.
One of the administration's early major initiatives was the No Child Left Behind Act, which aimed to measure and close the gap between rich and poor student performance, provide options to parents with students in low-performing schools, and target more federal funding to low-income schools. This landmark education initiative passed with broad bipartisan support, including that of Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. It was signed into law by Bush in early 2002. Many contend that the initiative has been successful, as cited by the fact that students in the U.S. have performed significantly better on state reading and math tests since Bush signed "No Child Left Behind" into law. Critics argue that it is underfunded and that NCLBA's focus on "high stakes testing" and quantitative outcomes is counterproductive.
After being re-elected, Bush signed into law a Medicare drug benefit program that, according to Jan Crawford Greenburg, resulted in "the greatest expansion in America's welfare state in forty years;" the bill's costs approached $7 trillion. In 2007, Bush opposed and vetoed State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation, which was added by the Democrats onto a war funding bill and passed by Congress. The SCHIP legislation would have significantly expanded federally funded health care benefits and plans to children of some low-income families from about six million to ten million children. It was to be funded by an increase in the cigarette tax. Bush viewed the legislation as a move toward socialized health care, and asserted that the program could benefit families making as much as $83,000 per year who did not need the help.
Social services and Social Security
Following Republican efforts to pass the Medicare Act of 2003, Bush signed the bill, which included major changes to the Medicare program by providing beneficiaries with some assistance in paying for prescription drugs, while relying on private insurance for the delivery of benefits. The retired persons lobby group AARP worked with the Bush Administration on the program and gave their endorsement. Bush said the law, estimated to cost $400 billion over the first ten years, would give the elderly "better choices and more control over their health care".
Bush speaks at the United States Coast Guard Academy commencement, May 2007.
Bush began his second term by outlining a major initiative to reform Social Security, which was facing record deficit projections beginning in 2005. Bush made it the centerpiece of his domestic agenda despite opposition from some in the U.S. Congress. In his 2005 State of the Union Address, Bush discussed the potential impending bankruptcy of the program and outlined his new program, which included partial privatization of the system, personal Social Security accounts, and options to permit Americans to divert a portion of their Social Security tax (FICA) into secured investments. Democrats opposed the proposal to partially privatize the system.
Bush embarked on a 60-day national tour, campaigning vigorously for his initiative in media events, known as the "Conversations on Social Security", in an attempt to gain support from the general public. Despite the energetic campaign, public support for the proposal declined and the House Republican leadership decided not to put Social Security reform on the priority list for the remainder of their 2005 legislative agenda. The proposal's legislative prospects were further diminished by the political fallout from the Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005. After the Democrats gained control of both houses of the Congress as a result of the 2006 midterm elections, the prospects of any further congressional action on the Bush proposal were dead for the remainder of his term in office.
Main article: Domestic policy of the George W. Bush administration#Environment
Upon taking office in 2001, Bush stated his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, an amendment to the UN Convention on Climate Change which seeks to impose mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, citing that the treaty exempted 80% of the world's population and would have cost tens of billions of dollars per year. He also cited that the Senate had voted 95–0 in 1997 on a resolution expressing its disapproval of the protocol.
Bush delivers a statement on energy, urging Congress to end offshore oil drill ban, June 18, 2008.
In May 2001, Bush signed an executive order to create an inter-agency task force to streamline energy projects, and later signed two other executive orders to tackle environmental issues.
In 2002, Bush announced the Clear Skies Act of 2003, aimed at amending the Clean Air Act to reduce air pollution through the use of emissions trading programs. Many experts argued that this legislation would have weakened the original legislation by allowing higher emission rates of pollutants than were previously legal. The initiative was introduced to Congress, but failed to make it out of committee.
Bush has said that he believes that global warming is real and has noted that it is a serious problem, but he asserted there is a "debate over whether it's man-made or naturally caused". The Bush Administration's stance on global warming remained controversial in the scientific and environmental communities. Critics have alleged that the administration misinformed the public and did not do enough to reduce carbon emissions and deter global warming.
In his 2006 State of the Union Address, Bush declared, "America is addicted to oil" and announced his Advanced Energy Initiative to increase energy development research.
That same year, Bush declared the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a national monument, creating the largest marine reserve to date. The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument comprises 84 million acres (340,000 km2) and is home to 7,000 species of fish, birds, and other marine animals, many of which are specific to only those islands. The move was hailed by conservationists for "its foresight and leadership in protecting this incredible area".
In his 2007 State of the Union Address, Bush renewed his pledge to work toward diminished reliance on foreign oil by reducing fossil fuel consumption and increasing alternative fuel production. Amid high gasoline prices in 2008, Bush lifted a ban on offshore drilling. However, the move was largely symbolic as there is still a federal law banning offshore drilling. Bush said, "This means that the only thing standing between the American people and these vast oil reserves is action from the U.S. Congress." Bush had said in June 2008, "In the long run, the solution is to reduce demand for oil by promoting alternative energy technologies. My administration has worked with Congress to invest in gas-saving technologies like advanced batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.... In the short run, the American economy will continue to rely largely on oil. And that means we need to increase supply, especially here at home. So my administration has repeatedly called on Congress to expand domestic oil production."
President Bush signing the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, September 26, 2006
In his 2008 State of the Union Address, Bush announced that the U.S. would commit $2 billion over the next three years to a new international fund to promote clean energy technologies and fight climate change, saying, "Along with contributions from other countries, this fund will increase and accelerate the deployment of all forms of cleaner, more efficient technologies in developing nations like India and China, and help leverage substantial private-sector capital by making clean energy projects more financially attractive." He also announced plans to reaffirm the United States' commitment to work with major economies, and, through the UN, to complete an international agreement that will slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases; he stated, "This agreement will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride."
Stem cell research and first use of veto power
Federal funding for medical research involving the creation or destruction of human embryos through the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health has been forbidden by law since the passage in 1995 of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment by Congress and the signature of President Bill Clinton. Bush has said that he supports adult stem cell research and has supported federal legislation that finances adult stem cell research. However, Bush did not support embryonic stem cell research. On August 9, 2001, Bush signed an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for the 71 existing "lines" of stem cells, but the ability of these existing lines to provide an adequate medium for testing has been questioned. Testing can only be done on 12 of the original lines, and all of the approved lines have been cultured in contact with mouse cells, which creates safety issues that complicate development and approval of therapies from these lines. On July 19, 2006, Bush used his veto power for the first time in his presidency to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. The bill would have repealed the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, thereby permitting federal money to be used for research where stem cells are derived from the destruction of an embryo.
Bush discusses border security with Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff near El Paso, November 2005.
In 2006, Bush urged Congress to allow more than 12 million illegal immigrants to work in the United States with the creation of a "temporary guest-worker program". Bush did not support amnesty for illegal immigrants, but argued that the lack of legal status denies the protections of U.S. laws to millions of people who face dangers of poverty and exploitation, and penalizes employers despite a demand for immigrant labor. Nearly 8 million immigrants came to the United States from 2000 to 2005, more than in any other five-year period in the nation's history. Almost half entered illegally.
Bush also urged Congress to provide additional funds for border security and committed to deploying 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexico–United States border. In May–June 2007, Bush strongly supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, which was written by a bipartisan group of Senators with the active participation of the Bush administration. The bill envisioned a legalization program for illegal immigrants, with an eventual path to citizenship; establishing a guest worker program; a series of border and work site enforcement measures; a reform of the green card application process and the introduction of a point-based "merit" system for green cards; elimination of "chain migration" and of the Diversity Immigrant Visa; and other measures. Bush contended that the proposed bill did not amount to amnesty.
A heated public debate followed, which resulted in a substantial rift within the Republican Party, most conservatives opposed it because of its legalization or amnesty provisions. The bill was eventually defeated in the Senate on June 28, 2007, when a cloture motion failed on a 46–53 vote. Bush expressed disappointment upon the defeat of one of his signature domestic initiatives. The Bush administration later proposed a series of immigration enforcement measures that do not require a change in law.
On September 19, 2010, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Bush offered to accept 100,000 Palestinian refugees as American citizens if a permanent settlement had been reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Main article: Political effects of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina, which was one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, struck early in Bush’s second term. Katrina formed in late August during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and devastated much of the north-central Gulf Coast of the United States, particularly New Orleans.
Bush shakes hands with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on September 2, 2005, after viewing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Bush declared a state of emergency in Louisiana on August 27, and in Mississippi and Alabama the following day; he authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to manage the disaster, but his announcement failed to spur these agencies to action. The eye of the hurricane made landfall on August 29, and New Orleans began to flood due to levee breaches; later that day, Bush declared that a major disaster existed in Louisiana, officially authorizing FEMA to start using federal funds to assist in the recovery effort. On August 30, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff declared it "an incident of national significance", triggering the first use of the newly created National Response Plan. Three days later, on September 2, National Guard troops first entered the city of New Orleans. The same day, Bush toured parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and declared that the success of the recovery effort up to that point was "not enough".
As the disaster in New Orleans intensified, critics charged that Bush was misrepresenting his administration's role in what they saw as a flawed response. Leaders attacked Bush for having appointed apparently incompetent leaders to positions of power at FEMA, notably Michael D. Brown; it was also argued that the federal response was limited as a result of the Iraq War and Bush himself did not act upon warnings of floods. Bush responded to mounting criticism by accepting full responsibility for the federal government's failures in its handling of the emergency. It has been argued that with Katrina, Bush passed a political tipping point from which he would not recover.
Midterm dismissal of U.S. attorneys
Main article: Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy
Bush with Alberto Gonzales
During Bush's second term, a controversy arose over the Justice Department's midterm dismissal of seven United States Attorneys. The White House maintained that the U.S. attorneys were fired for poor performance. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales later resigned over the issue, along with other senior members of the Justice Department. The House Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas for advisers Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten to testify regarding this matter, but Bush directed Miers and Bolten to not comply with those subpoenas, invoking his right of executive privilege. Bush maintained that all of his advisers were protected under a broad executive privilege protection to receive candid advice. The Justice Department determined that the President's order was legal.
Although Congressional investigations focused on whether the Justice Department and the White House were using the U.S. Attorney positions for political advantage, no official findings have been released. On March 10, 2008, the Congress filed a federal lawsuit to enforce their issued subpoenas. On July 31, 2008, a United States district court judge ruled that Bush's top advisers were not immune from Congressional subpoenas.
In all, twelve Justice Department officials resigned rather than testify under oath before Congress. They included Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his chief of staff Kyle Sampson, Gonzales’ liaison to the White House Monica Goodling, aide to the president Karl Rove and his senior aide Sara M. Taylor. In addition, legal counsel to the president Harriet Miers and deputy chief of staff to the president Joshua Bolten were both found in contempt of Congress.
In 2010, the Justice Department investigator concluded that though political considerations did play a part in as many as four of the attorney firings, the firings were "inappropriately political", but not criminal. According to the prosecutors, "Evidence did not demonstrate that any prosecutable criminal offense was committed by the administration..."
Main article: Foreign policy of the George W. Bush administration
Bush presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Pope John Paul II during a visit to the Vatican, June 2004.
Foreign Minister of India Pranab Mukherjee with US President George W. Bush in 2008.
In July 2001 Bush visited the pope at Castel Gandolfo.
During his Presidential campaign, Bush's foreign policy platform included support for stronger economic and political relationship with Latin Americas, especially Mexico, and a reduction of involvement in "nation-building" and other small-scale military engagements. The administration pursued a national missile defense. Bush was an advocate of China's entry into the World Trade Organization. He said free trade was a force for democratization in China.
In his 2002 State of the Union Address, Bush referred to an axis of evil including Iraq, Iran and North Korea. After the September 11 attacks on New York, Bush launched the War on Terror, in which the United States military and a small international coalition invaded Afghanistan, the location of Osama Bin Laden, who planned the New York attacks. In 2003, Bush then launched the invasion of Iraq, searching for Weapons of Mass Destruction, which he described as being part of the War on Terrorism.
Those invasions led to the toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Since the 2003 invasion more than one hundred thousand have died in Iraq.
Countries visited by President George W. Bush during his terms in office
Bush began his second term with an emphasis on improving strained relations with European nations. He appointed long-time adviser Karen Hughes to oversee a global public relations campaign. Bush lauded the pro-democracy struggles in Georgia and Ukraine.
In March 2006, a visit to India led to renewed ties between the two countries, reversing decades of U.S. policy. The visit focused particularly on areas of nuclear energy and counter-terrorism cooperation, discussions that would lead eventually to the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement. This is in stark contrast to the stance taken by his predecessor, Clinton, whose approach and response to India after the 1998 nuclear tests was that of sanctions and hectoring. The relationship between India and the United States was one that dramatically improved during Bush's tenure.
Midway through Bush's second term, it was questioned whether Bush was retreating from his freedom and democracy agenda, highlighted in policy changes toward some oil-rich former Soviet republics in central Asia.
In an address before both Houses of Congress on September 20, 2001, Bush thanked the nations of the world for their support following the September 11 attacks. He specifically thanked British Prime Minister Tony Blair for traveling to the Washington to show "unity of purpose with America", and said "America has no truer friend than Great Britain."
September 11, 2001
Main article: September 11 attacks
Bush, standing with firefighter Bob Beckwith, addresses rescue workers at Ground Zero in New York, September 14, 2001.
The September 11 terrorist attacks were a major turning point in Bush's presidency. That evening, he addressed the nation from the Oval Office, promising a strong response to the attacks. He also emphasized the need for the nation to come together and comfort the families of the victims. On September 14, he visited Ground Zero, meeting with Mayor Rudy Giuliani, firefighters, police officers, and volunteers. Bush addressed the gathering via a megaphone while standing on a heap of rubble, to much applause: "I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."
President Bush Declares "Freedom at War with Fear", September 20, 2001 Problems listening to this file? See media help.
In a September 20 speech, Bush condemned Osama bin Laden and his organization Al-Qaeda, and issued an ultimatum to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, where bin Laden was operating, to "hand over the terrorists, or ... share in their fate".
War on Terrorism
Main article: War on Terror
Bush presents then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
After September 11, Bush announced a global War on Terror. The Afghan Taliban regime was not forthcoming with Osama bin Laden, so Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime. In his January 29, 2002 State of the Union Address, he asserted that an "axis of evil" consisting of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq was "arming to threaten the peace of the world" and "pose a grave and growing danger". The Bush Administration asserted both a right and the intention to wage preemptive war, or preventive war. This became the basis for the Bush Doctrine which weakened the unprecedented levels of international and domestic support for the United States which had followed the September 11 attacks.
Dissent and criticism of Bush's leadership in the War on Terror increased as the war in Iraq continued. In 2006, a National Intelligence Estimate concluded that the Iraq War had become the "cause célèbre for jihadists" which were growing.
Main article: War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
Bush and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan appear together in 2006 at a joint news conference in Kabul.
On October 7, 2001, U.S. and British forces initiated bombing campaigns that led to the arrival of Northern Alliance troops in Kabul on November 13. The main goals of the war were to defeat the Taliban, drive al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan, and capture key al-Qaeda leaders. In December 2001, the Pentagon reported that the Taliban had been defeated, but cautioned that the war would go on to continue weakening Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders. Later that month the UN had installed the Afghan Transitional Administration chaired by Hamid Karzai.
Efforts to kill or capture al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden failed as he escaped a battle in December 2001 in the mountainous region of Tora Bora, which the Bush Administration later acknowledged to have resulted from a failure to commit enough U.S. ground troops. On March 13, 2002, Bush stated that "I truly am not that concerned about him" when asked about bin Laden, brushing him off as "a person who has now been marginalized", despite declaring that he was wanted "Dead or Alive" shortly after 9/11, and statements from U.S. commanders that bin Laden was "still a threat in the new Afghanistan". It was not until May 2011, two years after Bush left office, that bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces. Bin Laden's successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as the leader of the Taliban, Mohammed Omar, remain at large.
Despite the initial success in driving the Taliban from power in Kabul, by early 2003 the Taliban was regrouping, amassing new funds and recruits. In 2006, the Taliban insurgency appeared larger, fiercer and better organized than expected, with large-scale allied offensives such as Operation Mountain Thrust attaining limited success. As a result, Bush commissioned 3,500 additional troops to the country in March 2007.
Main article: Iraq War
Bush, with Naval Flight Officer Lieutenant Ryan Philips, in the flight suit he wore for his televised arrival and speech in 2003
Beginning with his January 29, 2002 State of the Union address, Bush began publicly focusing attention on Iraq, which he labeled as part of an "axis of evil" allied with terrorists and posing "a grave and growing danger" to U.S. interests through possession of weapons of mass destruction.
In the latter half of 2002, CIA reports contained assertions of Saddam Hussein's intent of reconstituting nuclear weapons programs, not properly accounting for Iraqi biological and chemical weapons, and that some Iraqi missiles had a range greater than allowed by the UN sanctions. Contentions that the Bush Administration manipulated or exaggerated the threat and evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities would eventually become a major point of criticism for the president.
In late 2002 and early 2003, Bush urged the United Nations to enforce Iraqi disarmament mandates, precipitating a diplomatic crisis. In November 2002, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei led UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, but were advised by the U.S. to depart the country four days prior to the U.S. invasion, despite their requests for more time to complete their tasks. The U.S. initially sought a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of military force but dropped the bid for UN approval due to vigorous opposition from several countries.
More than 20 nations (most notably the United Kingdom), designated the "coalition of the willing" joined the United States in invading Iraq. They launched the invasion on March 20, 2003. The Iraqi military was quickly defeated. The capital, Baghdad, fell on April 9, 2003. On May 1, Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq. The initial success of U.S. operations increased his popularity, but the U.S. and allied forces faced a growing insurgency led by sectarian groups; Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech was later criticized as premature. From 2004 until 2007, the situation in Iraq deteriorated further, with some observers arguing that there was a full scale civil war in Iraq. Bush's policies met with criticism, including demands domestically to set a timetable to withdraw troops from Iraq. The 2006 report of the bipartisan I