George H. W. Bush
Order:41st President
Term of Office:January 20, 1989 - January 20, 1993
Predecessor:Ronald Reagan
Successor:Bill Clinton
Date of Birth:Thursday, June 12, 1924
Place of Birth:Milton, Massachusetts
First Lady:Barbara Pierce
Political Party:Republican
Vice President:Dan Quayle

George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States (1989-1993). Previously, he served as director of the CIA in 1976-1977, and the 43rd Vice President of the United States under President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989).

His son, George W. Bush, is the 43rd President of the United States. As a result George H. W. Bush is sometimes referred to as "the Elder Bush", "Bush the Elder", "George Bush Senior" and "Bush Senior" (incorrectly), "Bush 41", or "the first President Bush" in order to avoid possible confusion between his presidency and that of his son.

Table of contents
1 Personal background
2 Presidency
3 Major legislation signed
4 Major legislation vetoed
5 Supreme Court appointments
6 Related articles
7 External links

Personal background

George Bush's father, Prescott Bush, served as a Senator from Connecticut.

George Bush attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where he demonstrated early leadership, captaining the baseball team. Here he learned of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and after graduating in June, 1942, he joined the US Navy.

He was a naval aviator during World War II, the youngest ever at that time, and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in the Pacific Theater.

After the War he attended Yale University, and was inducted into the secret society (essentially a fraternity) Skull and Bones, helping him to build friendships and political support.

He married Barbara Pierce on January 6, 1945. Their marriage produced 6 children, George W, Robin (died of leukemia at the age of 3), John (Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. His family has built on his and his father's political successes 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 ventured into the Texas oil business after the war, with mixed results. He secured a position with Dresser through his father's investment banking relationship with the company. His son, Neil Mallon Bush, is named after his employer at Dresser, Neil Mallon, a close family friend.

In 1964, Bush ventured into conventional politics by unsuccessfully running against Democratic Senator Ralph Yarborough, making an issue of Yarborough's vote for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which almost all Southern politicians opposed. He was later elected in 1966 and 1968 to the House of Representatives from the 7th District of Texas. He later lost his second attempt at a Senate seat in 1970 to Democrat Lloyd Bentsen who defeated the incumbent Yarborough in the Democratic primary. He served as US Ambassador to the United Nations, US Envoy to communist China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and on the executive board of the Committee on the Present Danger.

In 1980, Bush ran for President, losing in the Republican Party primaries to Ronald Reagan, the former Governor of California. Reagan selected Bush as his running mate and Vice Presidential candidate on the Republican Presidential ticket of 1980, and they went on to win. Reagan needed Bush to strengthen his tough stance on the Soviet Union, that Reagan earned from a speech at the 1976 Republican Convention. Bush had been many things Reagan had not been, a military man, a life-long Republican, and an internationalist with UN, CIA and China experience. Reagan had started life a Democrat, had not fought in World War II, and headed the Actors' Labor union, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).

The Reagan/Bush ticket won again in 1984, against the Democrats' Walter Mondale/Geraldine Ferraro ticket. In 1988, after 8 years as Vice President, Bush ran for President with the little known Senator Dan Quayle as his running mate and beat Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen, 426 to 111 electoral votes. (Lloyd Bentsen received one.)

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 cancerous polyps from his colon. Bush served as Acting President for approximately 8 hours, during which time he is reported to have spent most of the time playing tennis.


As President of the United States, George Bush is perhaps best known for leading the United Nations coalition in the 1990-1991 Gulf War. 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. President Bush's popularity rating in America soared during and immediately after the successful military operations, but later fell due to an economic recession.

A mild economic recession from July 1990 to March 1991 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" 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.

After losing the election, Bush has retired from public life. After retiring, he did, however, notably parachute from an airplane for the first time since World War II. The Bushes live in Houston, Texas and their summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located on the Southwest corner of the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas.

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

George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas was renamed after the former president in 1997.

Major legislation signed

Major legislation vetoed

Supreme Court appointments

Related articles

External links

Preceded by:
Ronald Reagan
Presidents of the United States Succeeded by:
Bill Clinton