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George W. Bush

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George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn into office on January 20, 2001, re-elected on November 2, 2004, and sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005. Prior to his Presidency, President Bush served for 6 years as the 46th Governor of the State of Texas, where he earned a reputation for bipartisanship and as a compassionate conservative who shaped public policy based on the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, strong families, and local control.

President Bush was born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, [[Birth State Name:=Connecticut|Connecticut]], and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1968, and then served as an F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. President Bush received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1975. Following graduation, he moved back to Midland and began a career in the energy business. After working on his father’s successful 1988 Presidential campaign, President Bush assembled the group of partners who purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989. On November 8, 1994, President Bush was elected Governor of Texas. He became the first Governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive 4-year terms when he was re-elected on November 3, 1998.

President Bush is married to Laura Welch Bush, a former teacher and librarian, and they have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna. The Bush family also includes two dogs, Barney and Miss Beazley, and a cat, Willie.

Key Events in Bush's First Term, 2001-05


2001 In January, Bush is inaugurated after a narrow, contentious electoral college victory over Vice President Al Gore (D), that was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court.

In March, the U.S. withdraws from the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement that commits countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to stave off global warming.

In September, in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, hijacked planes crash into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C., and a field in Shanksville, Pa., killing almost 3,000 people. The U.S. responds by launching a "war on terror" to capture or kill those responsible and prevent further attacks.

In October, the Office of Homeland Security (later the Department of Homeland Security) is created, combining various government agencies to better safeguard the U.S. against terrorism.

Also in October, Bush signs the USA Patriot Act into law, expanding the powers of law enforcement officials in fighting terrorism. Critics later complain of the law's abuse by some government agencies, however.

Additionally in October, the U.S. leads a military attack on Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden, leader of the Al Qaeda terrorist group that carried out the Sept. 11 attacks, is believed to be hiding. U.S. forces are unable to capture or kill bin Laden, but they manage to overthrow the country's repressive Taliban government and install a president, Hamid Karzai, who is friendly to the West and is later confirmed by voters. Taliban insurgents, however, remain a threat to Karzai's authority.

2002 In his January State of the Union address, Bush causes a stir when he refers to Iran, Iraq and North Korea as members of an "axis of evil" whose pursuit of weapons of mass destruction makes them a threat to world peace.

Also in January, the U.S. begins moving suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere to a makeshift prison at the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Also in January, Bush signs into law No Child Left Behind (NCLB), an education reform bill. NCLB makes measurable student progress a condition of continued federal funding for schools.

A speech given by Bush in June outlines his vision for what becomes known as the "road map for peace" between Israel and the Palestinians, the ultimate goal of which is to establish two states living peacefully side by side. Little progress is made in implementing the plan during Bush's presidency, however.

2003 In January, Bush unveils the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which will provide $15 billion for the battle against AIDS in 15 countries, mostly in Africa.

In March, the U.S. leads an international coalition in an invasion of Iraq, over what it says is the threat of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and terrorist ties. (Those assertions are later discredited.) Although Hussein is quickly overthrown, a violent insurgency launches attacks against the new government and international troops.

In December, Bush signs into law a new bill offering prescription drugs at reduced costs for seniors enrolled in the government health insurance program Medicare.

2004 In June, the Supreme Court rules against the Bush administration in Rasul v. Bush, finding that the detainees at Guantánamo Bay can challenge their imprisonment in U.S. courts.

Key Events in Bush's Second Term, 2005-09


2005 In February, Bush introduces a plan to keep the Social Security program solvent by offering recipients the alternative of private retirement accounts. He ultimately fails to get the plan implemented.

In August, Hurricane Katrina strikes the Gulf Coast. The hurricane, subsequent flooding and related problems kill more than 1,000 people and displace many others. The Bush administration is strongly criticized for not responding quickly or effectively enough to the disaster.

In December, a New York Times article uncovers a secret and extensive warrantless wiretapping program being run by the National Security Administration (NSA). At the urging of the Bush administration, Congress eventually passes legislation that legalizes the program and immunizes from prosecution the telecommunications companies that had cooperated with it.

2006 In September, Congress passes the Military Commissions Act, an attempt by the Bush administration to keep the Guantánamo detainees out of the U.S. court system, which it argues is not suited for trying suspected terrorists. (The Supreme Court later rules that the new law cannot prevent the detainees from having access to the courts.) The Military Commissions Act also bans torture and other forms of "cruel and inhuman" treatment during interrogations of terrorism suspects, a response to controversy over some U.S. interrogation methods that many call torture.

2007 In January, Bush announces that he will send about 20,000 new troops to help fight the insurgency in Iraq. The infusion of troops, popularly referred to as the "surge," is followed by reduced levels of violence. Many view the surge as a success, although critics note that Iraq remains politically fragmented.

In February, the U.S. reaches an agreement with North Korea for the latter to disclose its nuclear programs and shut down a nuclear reactor. In return, the U.S. provides fuel shipments and removes North Korea from its list of terrorist states. Although the deal is initially seen as a diplomatic triumph, North Korea later reneges on it.

In April, the Supreme Court upholds a law Bush signed in 2003 that bans a type of late-term abortion known as "intact dilation and extraction," referred to by critics as "partial-birth abortion." The law's opponents had argued that it did not sufficiently consider the health of the woman involved.

2008 In September, the Treasury Department unveils a plan known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which provides $800 billion to banks to buy bad assets that have led to a freeze in lending and are threatening the economy. The first version of the plan fails to pass Congress, but a revised bill containing additional money to meet lawmakers' individual concerns eventually passes.