George W. Bush

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George W. Bush
George w bush.jpeg
43rd President of the United States
Term of office
January 20, 2001 - Present
Political party Republican
Vice President Dick Cheney
Preceded by Bill Clinton
Succeeded by Barack Obama
Born July 6, 1946
New Haven, Connecticut
Spouse Laura Bush
Religion United Methodist

George Walker Bush (born New Haven, Connecticut 1946) was the Governor of Texas (1996-2001) and has served as the 43rd President of the United States of America since 2001. Campaigning on the notion that the United States should not be in the business of nation-building,[1] he won the office by a narrow margin in the decisive State of Florida in the 2000 Presidential election. Legal challenges to the certified vote count went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court when liberal Democratic contender Al Gore, who initially conceded defeat on the night of the election, then contested the outcome for weeks until the Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore.

In the 2004 Presidential election Bush won re-election, helped in part by a 300,000 vote victory (5%) in the State of Florida, where the outcome had been so close in 2000.[2] Leftist Democratic candidate John Kerry conceded defeat the day after the election.

Presidency (2001-2009)

Response to the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks

The September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks resulted in George W. Bush becoming a self-described war time President. On that morning President Bush had traveled to Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida to promote his educational agenda, when 19 Islamic terrorists connected with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airplanes. Two of them crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, the third in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the fourth in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after passengers of the flight successfully stopped the hijackers from hitting Washington D.C., possibly the White House or Capital. As a resulted over 3,000 Americans were killed, and over 6,000 injured, the largest terrorist attack in American history. After White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card had whispered in the President's ear that the United States was under attack, President Bush addressed the public in the Booker school's media center, saying a brief four paragraph statement that "Terrorism against our nation will not stand. This will not stand." Which was a formation that Presidnet George H. W. Bush used in August 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Hugh Shelton, talk with the press about the previous day's terrorist attacks during a cabinet meeting Sept. 12, 2001. White House photo by Tina Hager.
Although the attacks may have been an attempt from al-Qaeda to divide the United States, they were unsuccessful. Across the nation Americans had donated blood and raised money for reconstruction in New York City. Within weeks Americans had raised over one billion dollars in money. [3] On September 14th President Bush declared a national emergency. The FBI identified the attacks from al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. As Secretary of State Colin Powell began to build an international coalition with other countries to support the United States global War on Terrorism, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld began to redeploy troops and aircraft's to the middle east. On September 24th, President Bush issued an executive order freezing all funding to financial assets to individuals and groups suspected of terrorism, and over 80 other nations soon followed. Bush then established the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate federal agencies working to prevent terrorism. The President appointed Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to the office. In October President Bush signed into law the U.S. Patriot Act, which allowed authorities to obtain a signal nationwide search warrant that could be used anywhere on suspected terrorists. It also made it easier to wiretap terrorists and track their email.

On October 5th, a new anthrax scare from terrorists began. Anthrax - a deadly bacteria had been sent in the mail to news organizations in New York City and Washington, D.C. and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office. The FBI investigated the anthrax attacks, although no suspects were identified.

War in Afghanistan

On October 7th, 2001, President George W. Bush ordered to bomb targets to al-Qaeda's camps and the Taliban's military forces in Afghanistan. "We will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail, freedom will prevail", President Bush explained. The attack quickly shattered the Taliban's defenses, and by early December the Taliban regime had collapsed. The United States and it's allies then helped Afghanistan create a new government. By March 2002, the Taliban and al-Qaeda members were beginning to regroup again in the mountain's of the Pakistan border. President Bush responded by launching Operation Anaconda, where al-Qaeda troops were defeated.

2002-2003 build up of the War in Iraq

In his infamous January 2002 State of the Union speech, President Bush declared an "Axis of Evil" made up of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, countries that posed a grave treat to the world and were suspected of supporting terrorism. Considering it a more dangerous and urgent treat then North Korea, President Bush began putting pressure on Iraq throughout 2002 for a regime change. Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons against Iran and the Kurds, an ethnic minority in Iraq. Considering that Iraq may had been building Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD's) and was a treat to the United States and it's allies, On September 12, 2002 President Bush tried to gain U.N. support for a U.S. led invasion of Iraq and asked for a resolution that Iraq gave up it's Weapons of Mass Destruction. While the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution that demanded Saddam Hussein declare all of it's WMD's, stop supporting terrorism and oppressing his people, Congress authorized the use of military force against Iraq. The United States, Great Britain and about 30 other countries began to prepare for war.

Aftermath of the Invasion

On March 23rd, 2003, U.S. led coalition forces began an attack on Iraq. Most of the Iraqi army dissolved and coalition forces quickly took control of the country. However, sectarian violence worsened through bombings and sniper attacks. On Thanksgiving 2003 President Bush and U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice visited troops in Iraq to boost moral. Saddam Hussein was captured in December 2003 while little evidence had shown that he had obtained Weapons of Mass Destruction.

On January 30, 2005 Iraq had it's first general election since the liberation. They voted for a 275-member Iraqi National Assembly which later drafted a constitution. In December Iraq elected a permanent 275-member Council of Representatives. There were low levels of violence during the voting. In a show down with Congressional Democrats after taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in the 2006 Congressional Midterm elections, Democrats retreated on their pledge to end the Iraq War early and bring the troops home. Democrats had threatened to withhold funding for the troops unless a date certain for withdrawal was set. After the final vote, 280-142 in the House and 80-14 in the Senate, the anti-War movement was defeated. The deal cut with Democratic leaders in exchange for their acquiescing to fund the troops calls for the President to sign legislation raising the minimum wage. [4] One commentator remarked, "Despite all the talk of standing up to George W. Bush, despite all the bravado about taking control of Congress, despite the so-called mandate to change direction, Democrats caved....They claim that the majority of Americans are with them on the Iraq issue, but...President Bush, at the weakest moment of his presidency, still bested his Democratic rivals." [5]

On January 23, 2007 President Bush ordered an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq.

In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we're deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down the terrorists, insurgents, and the roaming death squads. And in Anbar Province, where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them, we're sending an additional 4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out.

[6]

The surge was opposed by a majority of the United States Congress. However, it has resulted in significantly reduced sectarian violence. According to U.S. Central Command General David Petraeus, violence in Iraq by December 2008 was at a 5 year low. [7]

Humanitarian aid

President Bush has worked to stop the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. In the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) $15 billion dollars over five years (2003–2008) was spent on fighting global HIV/AIDS and improving treatment.

Economy

Upon gaining office in 2001, Bush signed into law a $1.35 trillion cut in taxation over 10 years. The plan included the objectives of doubling the child tax credit from $500 to $1,000, reducing the tax penalty on married couples and fully repealing the tax on estates. A United States Senate Finance Committee Report estimated that with all the planned reductions fully phased in, the average family of four making $50,000 would save $1,825 per year.[8]

Since the tax cuts, IRS revenues increased from $1.78 trillion in 2003 to $2.56 trillion in 2007 with a 46.3% increase of individual income tax receipts. Surging $785 billion since the 2003 investment tax cuts, it is the largest four-year revenue increase in U.S. history[9]

During this same time period, spending mandated by Congress has also increased by more than 29 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, representing an 11.4 percent increase in federal spending as a percentage of GDP. This spending has doubled the federal debt, increasing it from 58 to 66 percent of GDP. Defense spending increased 61 percent, and non-defense by 23 percent during the eight years since 2000. The largest non-defense spending increase has been for federally-funded medical expenses, at 54 percent.[10] In total, Bush has increased government expenditures by the largest percentage of any president since Lyndon Johnson. However, this appears likely to be eclipsed by the spending plans of Barack Obama, who pledged on 6 December 2008 to invest "record amounts of money" in infrastructure, a plan which some members of Congress are estimating at $400 to $700 billion.[11].

Bush has presided over a period of general economic growth. This is partially due to changes in the stock market that lead to a record high in 2007, although the NASDAQ is still down considerably from the levels it was at before the Dot-com bubble burst. Corporations showed profits growing by double digits growth.[12] Even the working class benefited from the Bush economy, as unemployment hit an all time low in March 2007.[13] Bush signed into law a minimum wage increase, one of the platforms for the Democrats in the 2006 Congressional elections, after the House and Senate included Bush's request of provisions for small-business tax breaks.[14][15] Tax policies have been favorable to reducing the Capital Gains Tax, with a subsequent surge in investment.

Involvement in the 2008 Presidential election

In March 2008, Bush endorsed his one-time rival John McCain as the Republican candidate for President of the United States. However, due to the President's declining popularity in polls, McCain appeared to distance himself from Mr. Bush on the campaign trail. At the same time, Democratic candidiate Barack Obama tried to portray a McCain presidency as four more years of George W. Bush. The President spoke by videolink at the 2008 Republican National Convention, while his wife Laura appeared on stage with McCain's wife Cindy.

President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush pose for their last official holiday portrait, Dec. 7, 2008, in the Blue Room of the White House.

Future Plans

John McCain lost the election to Senator Obama, and President Bush met with the new president-elect to discuss the presidential transition between his administration and Obama's, which he promised would be efficient and without problems. George W. Bush's term ends at noon on January 20, 2009, at which point President-elect Obama will be inaugurated. In an interview with ABC's Charles Gibson in December 2008, Bush said his retirement plans included moving back to his home state of Texas and writing a book. He also wants to build an institute at the Southern Methodist University to serve as a non-partisan public policy forum, to debate issues and run volunteer projects from.

Family

George W. Bush is the son of George H. W. Bush, who served as vice-president from 1981 to 1989 and as president from 1989 to 1993, and Barbara Bush. President Bush is married to Laura Welch Bush, a former teacher and librarian, and they have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna. John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, Neil Bush and Marvin Bush are his brothers. Dorothy Bush Koch is his only surviving sister, as Pauline Robinson Bush died at age four of leukemia.

Faith

George W. Bush is a member of the United Methodist Church, and most people feel that George W. Bush's faith is sincere and profound. The Faith of George W. Bush, a non-political book by author Stephen Strang, made the New York Times best-sellers list. [16] When asked where he would be without the influence of family friend Billy Graham, George W. Bush said "I wouldn't be president." "It was just a conversation," said the younger Bush about a talk with Graham in the mid-'80s that changed his life. During the pivotal conversation Bush recalled saying, "'You know, Billy, I'm longing for something.' And I know that he sent me a Bible I still have. All I can tell you is that as a result of being inspired by Billy Graham, I started reading the Bible and shortly after, I quit drinking." [17] Bush's faith led him to veto a bill which would have provided for federal funding of immoral embryonic stem cell research.

In an interview with ABC's "Nightline" on 12/8/08, the president also said he probably is not a literalist when reading the Bible although an individual can learn a great deal from it, including the New Testament teaching that God sent his only son.

Asked about creation and evolution, Bush said: "I think you can have both. I think evolution can -- you're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president. But it's, I think that God created the earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution."[18] [19] [20] He added:

I happen to believe that evolution doesn't fully explain the mystery of life.

Polls

When President George W. Bush entered office, his popularity rating was near 50%. However, after the September 11 attacks, his popularity rose significantly, reaching an all-time high of 90%.[21] Since, then, though, it declined as some of his policies have become unpopular (largely due to the media's persistently negative -- and biased -- reporting on the Iraq War and misrepresentation of his policies).[22] In 2007, George had an approval rating of only 24%. [23] The same poll gave the Democratic controlled Congress an approval rating of only 11%). [24]

See Also

References

  1. http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2000/debates/transcripts/u221003.html
  2. Florida Election Records, Florida Dept. of State
  3. The American Vision from National Geographic, pg. 1033
  4. Congress OKs war bill sans time-line, By S.A. Miller, The Washington Times, May 25, 2007.
  5. Democrats Show True Colors, Tony Phyrillas, New Media journal, May 29, 2007,
  6. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/603653/the_iraq_war_troop_surge_one_year_later.html
  7. http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE4B86G720081209
  8. $1.35 trillion tax cut becomes law, CNN, 21 June 2001
  9. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119189497675953035.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
  10. Big Government Under The Bush Administration, AIER, 16 November 2008
  11. Obama Pledges Public Works on a Vast Scale, New York Times, 6 December 2008
  12. http://www.usatoday.com/money/markets/us/2006-05-08-mart-usat_x.htm
  13. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/economy
  14. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/20/AR2006122001784.html
  15. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/10/AR2007011001666.html
  16. http://www.christianlifemissions.org/ministries/georgewbush.htm
  17. Billy Graham and the White House [1]
  18. http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=6418908
  19. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/12/09/bush-says-creation-incompatible-evolution/
  20. http://www.onenewsnow.com/Business/Default.aspx?id=347242
  21. USAT Gallup Poll
  22. Historical Bush Approval Ratings from University of Minnesota [2]
  23. Voters unhappy with Bush and Congress, Reuters, October 17 2007
  24. [3]