George W. Bush
Many people go into the family business when they grow up. For President George W. Bush, the family business was politics. His grandfather was a senator, his father a president, and his brother Jeb became a governor.
In 2001, George W. Bush himself took office as the 43rd president of the United States. He is only the second president whose father was also president. The other was John Quincy Adams, who rose to the presidency in 1825, 24 years after his father left the White House.
George Walker Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut, but he grew up in Texas. He returned to the Northeast for high school and college. In 1975, Bush earned a business degree from Harvard University in Massachusetts.
MARRIAGE AND BASEBALL
Back in Texas, Bush married Laura Welch, who worked as a librarian and schoolteacher. Then Bush started a series of companies that looked for oil.
In 1989, Bush became a part-owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team. A lifelong baseball fan, Bush enjoyed his time as a team executive. He made a lot of money when the team was sold in 1998.
GOVERNOR OF TEXAS
In 1994, Bush ran for governor of Texas as a member of the Republican Party. He won, beating a popular Democratic governor. Bush himself was a popular governor, and he won reelection in 1998. By 1999, Bush was campaigning to be the next president of the United States.
BUSH BECOMES PRESIDENT
In the election for president in 2000, Bush ran against Al Gore, a Democrat. Gore won the popular vote (the votes of the most people) in the election. But Bush won more votes in the Electoral College.
In the end, the contest came down to one state, Florida. There, Bush had a very small lead in the popular vote. After two re-counts, he still led by just a few hundred votes. The Supreme Court stopped further re-counts, and Bush became president. He was the first candidate since Benjamin Harrison in 1888 to lose the popular vote but still win the presidency.
WHAT DID BUSH WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?
As a candidate, Bush had promised to improve education in America. As the president, he got a law passed that makes students take an achievement test every few grades. The tests measure whether students are learning as expected. If too few students pass the test, their school must improve its students’ performance or face penalties.
President Bush also focused on cutting taxes. In his first two years, he got two big tax cuts passed. At the same time, he raised spending on schools and the military.
In addition, Bush worked to take problems like caring for the poor out of government hands. He wanted to turn them over to charities and religious organizations such as churches, synagogues, and mosques.
PRESIDENT BUSH FACES A CRISIS
On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four American airplanes. They used the planes to attack the Pentagon, the military headquarters of the United States. They also destroyed the twin skyscrapers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing about 3,000 people.
Bush responded by creating the Office of Homeland Security. This office works to protect Americans from terrorist attacks. He also went after the man blamed for the attacks, Osama bin Laden. The United States toppled the government of Afghanistan, where bin Laden was hiding. The United States then helped set up a new government for the country. Bin Laden was not found.
WAR WITH IRAQ
Next, President Bush led the United States into a war with Iraq. A dictator named Saddam Hussein ruled this country. Bush warned that Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction. He worried that Hussein might give weapons to terrorists.
With help from Britain, American military forces invaded Iraq in March 2003. They overthrew Saddam Hussein’s government. American and British officials then searched for weapons of mass destruction, but they didn’t find any.
The United States placed a new government in Iraq. But some groups in the country kept attacking Americans and other foreigners in Iraq. The violence slowed down efforts to rebuild what had been destroyed in Iraq during the war.
BUSH WINS REELECTION
In 2004, Bush was reelected to a second term as president. Bush defeated his Democratic rival John Kerry, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts.