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George H. W. Bush

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George Herbert Walker Bush

Order 41st President
President from January 20, 1989January 20, 1993
Vice President J. Danforth Quayle
Preceded by Ronald Reagan
Succeeded by Bill Clinton
Born June 12, 1924
Milton, Massachusetts, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse Barbara Pierce Bush
Signature [[Image:{{{signature}}}|128px]]

George Herbert Walker Bush, GCB, (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States (1989–1993). Previously, he had served as a U.S. congressman from Texas (1967–1971), 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), Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1976–1977), Chairman of the First International Bank in Houston (1977–1980), and the 43rd Vice President of the United States under President Ronald Reagan (1981–1989). He has twice run unsuccessfully for the United States Senate, once for President of the United States, and once for his reelection to that office. A decorated naval aviator, as of now, he is the last World War II veteran to have served as President. Bush is the father of the 43rd and current president, George Walker Bush. His father, Prescott Bush, was a United States Senator.


Early life

George Herbert Walker Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts to Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker. His father served as a U.S. Senator from Connecticut and was a partner in the prominent investment banking firm Brown Brothers Harriman. His grandfather, for whom he was named, was George Herbert Walker, a wealthy businessman and important figure in American golf history

George Bush began his formal education at the Greenwich Country Day School in Greenwich, Connecticut. Bush attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts from 1936 to 1942, where he demonstrated early leadership, captaining the baseball team, and was a member of an exclusive fraternity called the A.U.V, or "Auctoritas, Unitas, Veritas" – Latin for "Authority, Unity, Truth". His roommate at the boarding school was a young man named Edward G. Hooker. It was at Phillips Academy that Bush learned of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

World War II: decorated naval aviator

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 on June 9, 1943, several 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 U.S.S. San Jacinto 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.

After Bush's promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade on August 1, San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. On September 2, 1944, Bush piloted one of four 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 TBM Avengers from VT-51 encountered intense antiaircraft fire. While starting the attack, Bush's aircraft was hit and his engine caught 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 U.S.S. Finback. For this action Bush received the Distinguished Flying Cross. During the month he remained on 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.

Postwar: Yale, family, oil business

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. A left-handed first baseman, Bush played in the first College World Series. As a Senior he was, like his son George W. Bush (1968) and his father Prescott S. Bush (1917), inducted into the Skull and Bones secret society in 1948, helping him to build friendships and political support. Joining the Skull and Bones a year after him at Bush's request was William Sloane Coffin, a fellow classmate from the Phillips Academy. Throughout their lives, they have remained friends despite political disagreement, as Coffin became a notable anti-war activist of the political left.

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

He married Barbara Pierce on January 6, 1945. Their marriage produced six children: George W., Pauline Robinson ("Robin") (1949–1953, died of leukemia), John (Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy Walker. The family has built on Bush's political successes, effectiveness as Rockefeller tributaries for four generations of Walkers and Bushes, and those of his father Sen. Prescott Bush, with his son George W. Bush's Governorship of Texas and subsequent election as president, and his son Jeb Bush's election as Governor of Florida. The Bush political "dynasty" has been compared to that of John Adams and the Kennedy family. Bush's maternal grandfather was George Herbert Walker Sr., the founder of G.H. Walker & Co. and namesake of golf's Walker Cup. Bush's uncle George Herbert Walker, Jr. is the current head of the company. Bush's first cousin George Herbert Walker III is the U.S. ambassador to Hungary.

Bush ventured into the highly speculative Texas oil exploration business after World War II with considerable success. He secured a position with Dresser Industries. His son, Neil Mallon Bush, is named after his employer at Dresser, Neil Mallon, who became a close family friend. Dresser Industries, decades later, merged with Halliburton, whose former CEOs include Dick Cheney, George H. W. Bush's Secretary of Defense and, as of 2005, Vice President of the United States.

Congressman and failed Senate campaigns

Vice President Bush in a meeting with President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Vice President Bush in a meeting with President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

In 1964, Bush ventured into conventional politics by running against Texas' Democratic Senator Ralph Yarborough, making an issue of Yarborough's support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the time many Southern politicians (including the Republican Sen. John Tower of Texas) opposed the legislation. Bush called Yarborough an "extremist" and a "left wing demagogue" while Yarborough said Bush was a "carpetbagger" trying to buy a Senate seat "just as they would buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange". Bush lost in the 1964 in a Democratic landslide.

Bush did not give up on elective politics, and was elected in 1966 and 1968 to the House of Representatives from the 7th District of Texas.

Bush lost his second attempt at a Senate seat in 1970 to Democrat Lloyd Bentsen, who had defeated the incumbent Yarborough in the Democratic primary. Coincidently, Bentsen would later became the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President in the 1988 presidential election and, teamed with Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, would lose to the Bush-Quayle ticket; in 1993, Bentsen became Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration.

1970s appointive offices

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, Bush was considered for appointment as the replacement Vice President, but new President Gerald Ford chose Nelson Rockefeller instead. 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 PRC, the Liaison Office did not have the official status of an embassy and Bush did not hold the position of "ambassador" even though he unofficially acted as one.)

In 1975, Ford brought Bush back to Washington to become Director of Central Intelligence. The CIA had been rocked by a series of revelations about illegal and unauthorized activities, and Bush was credited with helping to restore the agency's morale and integrity. [1] In 1999, the CIA headquarters facility in Langley, Virginia was renamed the George Bush Center for Intelligence. [2]

Bush has since commented that he did not particularly enjoy this string of jobs, saying he never wanted to be a "career bureaucrat". However, had Bush not received this succession of appointments after his Senate defeat in 1970, it is unlikely he would have risen to a level of national prominence in politics.

After a Democratic administration took power in 1977, Bush became Chairman of the First International Bank in Houston. He also became a board member of the Committee on the Present Danger.

1980 presidential campaign

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.

Bush was not above criticizing Reagan, labeling the latter's supply side-influenced plans for massive tax cuts as "voodoo economics". Bush won the Iowa caucus to start the primary season, causing him to tell the press that he had "Big Mo" (meaning momentum). However, Reagan came back to decisively win the following New Hampshire primary, and Bush's "mo" was gone. [3] With a growing popularity among the Republican voting base, Reagan won most of the remaining primaries and the nomination.

Vice President

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

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 VP. 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.

As Vice President, Bush was loyal to Reagan and kept any policy differences hidden. Bush did not wield strong power within the Reagan administration, but had some influence on Reagan's staffing and was given some line responsibilities. [4] Reagan kept Bush busy on overseas diplomatic trips; Bush attended so many state funerals that he famously quipped, "I'm George Bush. You die, I fly." [5]

The Reagan/Bush ticket won again in 1984, against the Democrats' Walter Mondale/Geraldine Ferraro ticket.

During his second term as Vice President, Bush had the distinction of becoming 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. [6] This claim met with some skepticism, but Bush was never charged with any wrongdoing.

1988 presidential campaign

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.

In 1988, after eight years as Vice President, Bush ran for President. Though considered the early frontrunner for the nomination, Bush came in third in the Iowa caucus, beaten by winner U.S. Senator Bob Dole and runner-up televangelist Pat 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. Bush, often criticized for his lack of eloquence compared to Reagan, surprised many by giving possibly the best speech of his public career, widely known as the "Thousand points of light" speech [7] 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 as particularly bitter compared to recent ones and became famous for its highly negative advertisements. One advertisement run by the Bush campaign showed Dukakis awkwardly riding in a U.S. Army tank. Another, produced and placed by an independent group supporting Bush, referred to murderer Willie Horton who committed a rape and assault while on a furlough from a life sentence being served in Massachusetts. The Horton case, and Dukakis's unconditional opposition to the reinstatement of capital punishment in the United States, played a role in creating the impression that Dukakis was "soft on crime." These images helped enhance Bush's stature as a possible Commander-in-Chief compared to the Massachusetts governor.

The Bush-Quayle ticket beat Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen soundly in the Electoral College, by 426 to 111 (Lloyd Bentsen received one vote). In the nationwide popular vote, Bush took 53.4% of the ballots cast while Dukakis gained 45.6%.

Presidency 1989-1993


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."[8]

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" [9] thus becoming the first President of the United States of America to openly state and work toward global governance.

Tiananmen Square (April-June 1989)

Main article: Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

Fall of the Berlin Wall (November 1989)

Main article: Fall of the Berlin Wall

Invasion of Panama (December 1989)

Main article: Operation Just Cause

Operation Just Cause was the U.S. military invasion of Panama that deposed Manuel Noriega in December 1989.

Gulf War (January-February 1991)

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 for leading the United Nations coalition in the 1990–1991 Gulf War despite his strong support for Saddam Hussein's regime against Congress over the latter's response to the Halabja affair, when he was Vice President and in his early days as President. In 1990, led by Saddam Hussein, Iraq invaded its oil-rich neighbor to the south, Kuwait. The broad coalition 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." It has since been revealed that the United Nations were unaware that the United States had actually attacked Iraq until they saw it on CNN (John Pilger).

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, he 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 later fell dramatically due to an economic recession.

U.S.-Soviet cooperation, fall of the Soviet Union, and a "New World Order" (1989-1991)

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.

NAFTA (1992)

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 Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, spearheaded the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Bill Clinton signed in 1993.

The official White House portrait of President George H.W. Bush
The official White House portrait of President George H.W. Bush

Pardons (December 1992)

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 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

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

Presidents Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter at the dedication of the Reagan Presidential Library.
Presidents Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter at the dedication of the Reagan Presidential Library.

The tail end of the late 1980s recession, that had dogged most of Bush's term in office, was a contributing factor to his defeat in the 1992 Presidential election. Several other factors were key in his defeat, including siding with Congressional Democrats 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. Another major factor, which may have helped Bill Clinton defeat Bush in the 1992 election, was the candidacy of Ross Perot. Perot won 19% of the popular vote, and Clinton, still a largely unknown quantity in American politics, won the election.

Despite his defeat, George H.W. Bush left office in 1993 with a 56 percent job approval rating. [14]


Five presidents and first ladies attended the funeral of Richard Nixon on April 27, 1994, in Nixon's hometown of Yorba Linda, California. From left: Bill and Hillary Clinton, George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Gerald and Betty Ford.
Five presidents and first ladies attended the funeral of Richard Nixon on April 27, 1994, in Nixon's hometown of Yorba Linda, California. From left: Bill and Hillary Clinton, George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Gerald and Betty Ford.
Former presidents Bush and Bill Clinton at Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.
Former presidents Bush and Bill Clinton at Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.

Since his final election campaign, Bush has largely retired from public life. The Bushes live in Houston and their summer home 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.

Bush has never written a memoir of his political life, and says he does not plan to. 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 a number of paid speeches and participated in business ventures with the Carlyle Group.

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 tenth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will be named USS George H. W. Bush when it is launched in 2009.

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."

Bush, along with his son President George W. Bush, his daughter-in-law, Laura, and another 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 another 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. He also made a jump on June 9, 1999, before his 75th birthday, and told reporters then he had also parachuted in Arizona two years earlier. 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.)

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.


  • Bush was nearly 6 feet, 4 inches tall in his prime, making him one of the tallest U.S. presidents to date.
  • He was the first President to have two middle names and the first President to be born in June.
  • 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: "bushusuru", meaning "to commit an instance of embarrassing public vomiting", or literally "to do the Bush thing". [15]
  • G.H.W. Bush is the only president to have been CIA director, and the only president to have been ambassador to the People's Republic of China.
  • G.H.W. Bush is the only president to have been a World War II U.S. Navy combat aviator.
  • In the television series The Simpsons' seventh-season episode "Two Bad Neighbors", the character George H. W. Bush was featured. He, Mrs. Bush and Bart Simpson interacted in a manner modeled on the relationships between Dennis The Menace Mitchell and Mr. & Mrs. Wilson. Furthermore, he was (before the dissolution) a member of the Stonecutter's world council alongside Orville Redenbacher, Mr. T and Jack Nicholson. He is currently a member of the 'No Homers' World Council.
  • 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).
  • G.H.W. 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 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."


  • O'Brien, Cormac. Secret Lives of the U.S. Presidents. Quirk Books (2004). Philadelphia, PA. ISBN 1-931686-57-2. pp. 251-255.


  1. George Herbert Walker Bush -, accessed February 26, 2006
  2. The George Bush Center for Intelligence - CIA, accessed February 26, 2006
  3. Expectations, momentum, fatal mistakes - Tom Curry, MSNBC, January 15, 2004
  4. The Vice Presidency Grows Up - Alvin S. Felzenberg,, accessed February 26, 2006
  5. George Herbert Walker Bush -, accessed February 26, 2006
  6. Transcript - New York Times, June 30, 1997
  7. George H.W. Bush: 1988 Republican National Convention Acceptance Address - transcript, speech delivered August 18, 1988, Superdome, New Orleans
  8. George H.W. Bush: Inagural Address - transcript, speech delivered January 20, 1989
  9. 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
  10. Reasons Not to Invade Iraq, by George Bush Sr. - The Memory Hole, accessed February 26, 2006
  11. A Word Transformed - accessed February 26, 2006
  12. Bush tells Gulf vets why Hussein left in Baghdad - S. H. Kelly, United States Army News Center, March 3, 1999
  13. Transcripts from Malta Summit - CNN
  14. Poll: Clinton Legacy Mixed - Gary Langer, ABC News, January 17, 2001
  15. Open Mic - Scandal Scope - Richard von Busack, Metroactive Features, accessed February 26, 2006

Further reading

  • Tarpley, Webster G. and Chaitkin, Anton. 2004. George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography. Tree of life publications.
  • Barilleaux, Ryan J. and Mary E. Stuckey, eds. Leadership and the Bush Presidency: Prudence or Drift in an Era of Change. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1992.
  • Stephen J. Ducat. 2004. The Wimp Factor. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Bush, George H. W., 1999. All the Best: George Bush: My Life and Other Writings. New York: Scribner.
  • Duffy, Michail & Dan Goodgame 1992. Marching in Place: The Status Quo Presidency of George Bush. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Green, John Robert. 2000. The Presidency of George Bush. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
  • Hyams, Joe. 1991. Flight of the Avenger: George Bush at War. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovic Publishers.
  • Podhoretz, John. 1993. Hell of a Ride: Backstage at the White House Follies, 1989-1993. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Jean Edward Smith. 1992. George Bush's War. New York: Henry Holt & Company.

See also

Further information: Category:George H.W. Bush, and [[]], and [[]], and [[]], and [[]], and [[]], and [[]], and [[]], and [[]]

External links

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Preceded by:
John V. Dowdy
U.S. Congressman for the 7th District of Texas
1967 – 1971
Succeeded by:
Bill Archer
Preceded by:
Charles W. Yost
U.S. Ambassador to the UN
1971 – 1973
Succeeded by:
John A. Scali
Preceded by:
Bob Dole
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
1973 – 1974
Succeeded by:
Mary Louise Smith
Preceded by:
William E. Colby
Director of Central Intelligence
1976 – 1977
Succeeded by:
Adm. Stansfield Turner
Preceded by:
Bob Dole
U.S. Republican Party Vice Presidential Nominees
1980 (won), 1984 (won)
Succeeded by:
Dan Quayle
Preceded by:
Walter Mondale
Vice President of the United States
January 20, 1981January 20, 1989
Acting President: July 13, 1985
Succeeded by:
Dan Quayle
Preceded by:
Ronald Reagan
U.S. Republican Party Presidential Nominees
1988 (won), 1992 (lost)
Succeeded by:
Bob Dole
Preceded by:
Ronald Reagan
President of the United States
January 20, 1989January 20, 1993
Succeeded by:
Bill Clinton
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