George W. Bush

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Posted by motoman 02/27/2009 @ 12:04

Tags : george w. bush, former us presidents, government, politics

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Bush to Address Business Group in Pennsylvania - FOXNews
Former President George W. Bush, who had back-to-back speaking engagements last month, is the keynote speaker for an annual meeting of the Manufacturer & Business Association in Erie, Pa. Former President George W. Bush is inching his way onto the...
Ahmadinejad As Popular As George W. Bush? - The Exception Magazine
By Exception Staff | June 17, 2009 Hooman Majd, an author and journalist, argues that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is about as popular as George W. Bush was at the end of his presidency. According to Majd, Ahmadinejad is unpopular but there are too many unknown...
The messy world George W. Bush left behind - Kurdish Aspect
In the wake of the impractical policies adopted by George W. Bush, the Middle Eastern regions became a vexatious migraine for the world. Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, together have become the black hole in the region. After America was attacked on...
Bush being honored by Rangers with suite - The Associated Press
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The owner's suite at Rangers Ballpark is being renamed in honor of former President George W. Bush. Bush is also the former managing general partner of the Rangers, a position he held from 1989-94 before being elected governor...
ANALYSIS-Obama finds some promises hard to deliver - Reuters
Many diverse groups, from gay activists to human rights campaigners to economic reformers, have had their hopes for quick change dashed since Obama took power in January after eight years of Republican President George W. Bush....
Mia Farrow's Brother, a Suicide, Slammed War After Nephew Died - Daily Kos
Patrick Farrow quickly called President Bush a "war criminal." Here is how I wrote about it then. Sgt. Jason Dene, the nephew of actress and activist Mia Farrow, died in Iraq last week and his uncle blames the "war criminal" George W. Bush for the loss...
Celebrity marathon runner: George W. Bush -
Love him or hate him, George W. Bush is owed a little respect from runners of all political parties. The 43rd president of the United States is more of a runner than most believe. He has completed one marathon and has been running hard since the early...
Obama, the Less-Than-Great Defender - Washington Post
He seems to be so worried about not being George W. Bush that he's forgetting to be the American president. His expression of "deep concerns" about violence directed at peaceful protesters is weak tea. Concerns? The alternative to being an unapologetic...
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Iran's Version of George W. Bush - Daily Kos
He's simply Iran's version of George W. Bush and I'm hopeful he's about to experience a little "Change" of his own, if ya know whutta mean. If you step back from things, take, say, a European look at things, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad really is a lot like...
STUMPTALK: By all means, put George W. Bush on trial! - Crossville Chronicle
By Phillip J. Chesser / Chronicle contributor If people find media circuses entertaining, then they should by all means encourage the new President's justice department to indict President George W. Bush. If they want a replay of Watergate,...

George W. Bush

George W. Bush

George Walker Bush ( /ˈdʒɔrdʒ ˈwɔːkɚ ˈbʊʃ/ (help·info); born July 6, 1946) served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009. He was the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000 before being sworn in as President on January 20, 2001.

Bush is the eldest son of 41st U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. After graduating from Yale University, Bush worked in his family's oil businesses. He married Laura Welch in 1977 and unsuccessfully ran for the United States House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He later co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team before defeating Ann Richards to become Governor of Texas in 1994. In a close and controversial election, Bush was elected President in 2000 as the Republican candidate, receiving a majority of the electoral votes, but losing the popular vote to then Vice-President Al Gore.

Eight months into his first term as President, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred and Bush announced a global War on Terrorism, ordered an invasion of Afghanistan that same year and an invasion of Iraq in 2003. In addition to national security issues, President Bush promoted policies on the economy, health care, education and social security reform. He signed into law broad tax cuts, the No Child Left Behind Act and Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors. His tenure saw a national debate on immigration and social security.

Bush successfully ran for re-election against Democratic Senator John Kerry in 2004, garnering 50.7% of the popular vote to his opponent's 48.3%. After his re-election, Bush received increasingly heated criticism. In 2005, the Bush administration was forced to deal with widespread criticism of its handling of Hurricane Katrina. In December 2007, the United States entered the second-longest post-World War II recession, and his administration took more direct control of the economy, enacting multiple economic stimulus packages. Though Bush was a popular president for much of his first term, his popularity declined sharply during his second term to a near-record low.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut on July 6, 1946, Bush was the first child of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush (born Pierce). He was raised in Midland and Houston, Texas, with his four siblings, Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. Another younger sister, Robin, died from leukemia at the age of three in 1953. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a Senator from Connecticut. Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, served as U.S. President from 1989 to 1993. Bush is also the fourth cousin five times removed of Franklin Pierce, who was President from 1853 to 1857.

As a child, Bush was not accepted for admission by St. John's School in Houston, Texas, a prestigious private school. Instead, he attended The Kinkaid School, the private school from which St. John's had broken away.

Bush attended Phillips Academy, an all-boys private high school in Andover, Massachusetts, where he played baseball and during his senior year was the head cheerleader. Bush attended Yale University from 1964 to 1968, receiving a Bachelor's degree in history in 1968. As a college senior, Bush became a member of the secretive Skull and Bones society. He characterized himself as an average student.

In 1970, Bush applied to, but was not accepted into, the University of Texas School of Law. Beginning in the fall of 1973, Bush attended Harvard University, where he earned an MBA.

In May 1968, Bush was commissioned into the Texas Air National Guard. After training, he was assigned to duty in Houston, flying Convair F-102s out of Ellington Air Force Base. Critics allege that Bush was favorably treated due to his father's political standing, citing his selection as a pilot and his irregular attendance. In June 2005, the United States Department of Defense released all the records of Bush's Texas Air National Guard service, which remain in its official archives.

In late 1972 and early 1973, he drilled with the Alabama Air National Guard, having moved to Memphis to work on the unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Winton M. Blount. In October 1973, Bush was discharged from the Texas Air National Guard and transferred to the Air Force inactive reserves. He was discharged from the Air Force Reserve on November 21, 1974, at the end of his six-year service obligation.

In 1977, he was introduced by friends at a backyard barbecue to Laura Welch, a schoolteacher and librarian. Bush proposed to her after a three-month courtship and they were married on November 5 of that year. The couple settled in Midland, Texas. Bush left his family's Episcopal Church to join his wife's United Methodist Church. In 1981, Laura Bush gave birth to twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara; they graduated from high school in 2000 and from the University of Texas at Austin and Yale University, respectively, in 2004.

Prior to his marriage, Bush had multiple accounts of alcohol abuse. In one instance, he was arrested near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine for driving under the influence of alcohol on September 4, 1976. He pleaded guilty, was fined $150 and had his Maine driver's license suspended until 1978.

In 1978, Bush ran for the House of Representatives from Texas's 19th congressional district. His opponent, Kent Hance, portrayed him as being out of touch with rural Texans; Bush lost the election by 6,000 votes. He returned to the oil industry, and began a series of small, independent oil exploration companies. He created Arbusto Energy, and later changed the name to Bush Exploration. In 1984, his company merged with the larger Spectrum 7, and Bush became chairman. The company was hurt by a decline in oil prices, and as a result, it folded into Harken Energy. Bush served on the board of directors for Harken. Questions of possible insider trading involving Harken arose, but the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) investigation concluded that the information Bush had at the time of his stock sale was not sufficient to constitute insider trading.

Bush moved his family to Washington, D.C. in 1988 to work on his father's campaign for the U.S. presidency. He worked as a campaign adviser and served as liaison to the media; he assisted his father by campaigning across the country. Returning to Texas after the successful campaign, he purchased a share in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in April 1989, where he served as managing general partner for five years. He actively led the team's projects and regularly attended its games, often choosing to sit in the open stands with fans. The sale of Bush's shares in the Rangers in 1998 brought him over $15 million from his initial $800,000 investment.

In December 1991, Bush was one of seven people named by his father to run his father's 1992 Presidential re-election campaign as "campaign advisor." The prior month, Bush had been asked by his father to tell White House chief of staff John H. Sununu that he should resign.

As Bush's brother, Jeb, sought the governorship of Florida, Bush declared his candidacy for the 1994 Texas gubernatorial election. His campaign focused on four themes: welfare reform, tort reform, crime reduction, and education improvement. Bush's campaign advisers were Karen Hughes, Joe Allbaugh, and Karl Rove.

After easily winning the Republican primary, Bush faced popular Democratic incumbent Governor Ann Richards. In the course of the campaign, Bush pledged to sign a bill allowing Texans to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons. Governor Richards had vetoed the bill, but Bush signed it after he became governor. According to The Atlantic Monthly, the race "featured a rumor that she was a lesbian, along with a rare instance of such a tactic's making it into the public record—when a regional chairman of the Bush campaign allowed himself, perhaps inadvertently, to be quoted criticizing Richards for 'appointing avowed homosexual activists' to state jobs." The Atlantic, and others, connected the lesbian rumor to Karl Rove, but Rove denied being involved. Bush won the general election with 53.5 percent against Richards' 45.9 percent.

Bush used a budget surplus to push through Texas's largest tax-cut ($2 billion). He extended government funding for organizations providing education of the dangers of alcohol and drug use and abuse, and helping to reduce domestic violence.

Critics contended that during his tenure, Texas ranked near the bottom in environmental evaluations, but supporters pointed to his efforts to raise the salaries of teachers and improved educational test scores.

Throughout Bush's first term, national attention focused on him as a potential future presidential candidate. Following his re-election, speculation soared. Within a year, he decided to seek the Republican nomination for the presidency.

In June 1999, while Governor of Texas, Bush announced his candidacy for President of the United States. With no incumbent running, Bush entered a large field of candidates for the Republican Party presidential nomination. Along with Bush, that field of candidates consisted of John McCain, Alan Keyes, Steve Forbes, Gary Bauer, Orrin Hatch, Elizabeth Dole, Dan Quayle, Pat Buchanan, Lamar Alexander, John Kasich and Robert C. Smith.

Bush portrayed himself as a compassionate conservative. He campaigned on a platform that included increasing the size of the United States Armed Forces, cutting taxes, improving education, and aiding minorities. By early 2000, the race had centered on Bush and McCain.

Bush won the Iowa caucuses, but, although he was heavily favored to win the New Hampshire primary, he trailed John McCain by 19% and lost that primary. However, the Bush campaign regained momentum and, according to political observers, effectively became the front runner after the South Carolina primary. The South Carolina campaign was controversial for the use of telephone poll questions implying that McCain had fathered an illegitimate child with an African-American woman.

On July 25, 2000, Bush surprised some observers by asking the Halliburton corporation's chief executive officer Dick Cheney, a former White House Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative and Secretary of Defense, to be his running mate. Cheney was then serving as head of Bush's Vice-Presidential search committee. Soon after, he was officially nominated by the Republican Party at the 2000 Republican National Convention.

Bush continued to campaign across the country, and touted his record as Governor of Texas. Bush's campaign criticized his Democratic opponent, incumbent Vice President Al Gore, over gun control and taxation.

As the election returns came in on November 7, Bush won twenty-nine states including Florida. The closeness of the Florida outcome led to a recount. Two initial counts went to Bush, but the outcome was tied up in courts for a month until reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. On December 9, in the Bush v. Gore case, the Court reversed a Florida Supreme Court ruling ordering a third count, and stopped an ordered statewide hand recount based on the argument that the use of different standards among Florida's counties violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The machine recount stated that Bush had won the Florida vote by a margin of 537 votes out of six million cast. Bush received 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266. However, he lost the popular vote by 543,895 votes, surpassing the previous 1876 election record. This made him one of three Presidents elected without receiving a plurality of the popular vote.

Bush commanded broad support in the Republican Party and did not encounter a primary challenge. He appointed Kenneth Mehlman as campaign manager, with a political strategy devised by Karl Rove. Bush and the Republican platform included a strong commitment to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support for the USA PATRIOT Act, a renewed shift in policy for constitutional amendments banning abortion and same-sex marriage, reforming Social Security to create private investment accounts, creation of an ownership society, and opposing mandatory carbon emissions controls. Bush also called for the implementation of a temporary guest-worker program for immigrants, which was criticized by conservatives.

The Bush campaign advertised across the U.S. against Democratic candidates, including Bush's emerging opponent, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Kerry and other Democrats attacked Bush on the war in Iraq, perceived excesses of the USA PATRIOT Act and for allegedly failing to stimulate the economy and job growth. The Bush campaign portrayed Kerry as a staunch liberal who would raise taxes and increase the size of government. The Bush campaign continuously criticized Kerry's seemingly contradictory statements on the war in Iraq, and claimed Kerry lacked the decisiveness and vision necessary for success in the war on terrorism.

Bush carried thirty-one of fifty states for a total of 286 electoral votes. He won an absolute majority of the popular vote (50.7% to his opponent's 48.3%). The last President to win an absolute majority of the popular vote had been Bush's father in the 1988 election. Additionally, it was the first time since Herbert Hoover's election in 1928 that a Republican president was elected alongside re-elected Republican congressional majorities in both Houses. Bush's 2.5% margin of victory was the narrowest for a victorious incumbent President up for re-election since Woodrow Wilson's 3.1% margin of victory against Charles Evans Hughes in 1916.

Facing opposition in Congress, Bush held town hall-style public meetings across the U.S. in 2001 to increase public support for his plan for a $1.35 trillion tax cut program—one of the largest tax cuts in U.S. history. Bush argued that unspent government funds should be returned to taxpayers, saying "the surplus is not the government’s money. The surplus is the people’s money." With reports of the threat of recession from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Bush argued that such a tax cut would stimulate the economy and create jobs. Others, including the Treasury Secretary at the time Paul O'Neill, were opposed to some of the tax cuts on the basis that they would contribute to budget deficits and undermine Social Security. By 2003, the economy showed signs of improvement though job growth remained stagnant.

Under the Bush Administration, real GDP grew at an average annual rate of 2.5 percent, considerably below the average for business cycles from 1949 to 2000. The Dow Jones Industrial Average peaked in October 2007 at about 14,000, 30 percent above its level in January 2001, before the subsequent economic crisis wiped out all the gains and more. Unemployment originally rose from 4.2 percent in January 2001 to 6.3 percent in June 2003, but subsequently dropped to 4.5 percent as of July 2007. Adjusted for inflation, median household income dropped by $1,175 between 2000 and 2007. , while Professor Ken Homa of Georgetown University has noted that "after-tax median household income increased by 2%" The poverty rate increased from 11.3% in 2000 to 12.3% in 2006 after peaking at 12.7% in 2004. By October 2008, due to increases in domestic and foreign spending, the national debt had risen to $11.3 trillion, an increase of over 100% from the start of the year 2000 when the debt was $5.6 trillion. The perception of President Bush's effect on the economy is significantly affected by partisanship.

In December 2007, the United States entered the second-longest post-World War II recession, which included a housing market correction, a subprime mortgage crisis, soaring oil prices and a declining dollar value. In February, 63,000 jobs were lost, a 5-year record. To aid with the situation, Bush signed a $170 billion economic stimulus package which aimed to improve the economic situation by sending tax rebate checks to many Americans and providing tax breaks for struggling businesses. The Bush administration pushed for significantly increased regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2003, and after two years, the regulations passed the House but died in the Senate. Many Republican senators, as well as influential members of the Bush Administration, feared that the agency created by these regulations would merely be mimicking the private sector’s risky practices.

In September 2008, the crisis became much more serious beginning with the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac followed by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. and a federal bailout of American International Group for $85 billion.

In November 2008, over five hundred thousand jobs were lost. That marked the largest loss of jobs in the United States in 34 years. In the last four months of 2008 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the loss of 1.9 million jobs.

President Bush undertook a number of educational priorities. He increased funding for the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health in his first years of office, and created education programs to strengthen the grounding in science and mathematics for American high school students. Funding for the NIH was cut in 2006, the first such cut in 36 years, due to rising inflation.

One of the administration's early major initiatives was the No Child Left Behind Act, which aimed to measure and close the gap between rich and poor student performance, provide options to parents with students in low-performing schools, and target more federal funding to low-income schools. This landmark education initiative was signed into law by President Bush in early 2002. Many contend that the initiative has been successful, as cited by the fact that students in the U.S. have performed significantly better on state reading and math tests since Bush signed "No Child Left Behind" into law. Critics argue that it is underfunded and that NCLBA's focus on "high stakes testing" and quantitative outcomes is counterproductive.

After being re-elected, Bush signed into law a Medicare drug benefit program that, according to Jan Crawford Greenburg, resulted in "the greatest expansion in America's welfare state in forty years;" the bill's costs approached $7 trillion. In 2007, Bush opposed and vetoed State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation, which was added by the Democrats onto a war funding bill and passed by Congress. The SCHIP legislation would have significantly expanded federally funded health care benefits and plans to children of some low-income families from about 6 million to 10 million children. It was to be funded by an increase in the cigarette tax. Bush viewed the legislation as a move toward the liberal platform of socialized health care, and claimed that the program could benefit families making as much as $83,000 per year who did not need the help.

Following Republican efforts to pass the Medicare Act of 2003, Bush signed the bill, which included major changes to the Medicare program by providing beneficiaries with some assistance in paying for prescription drugs, while relying on private insurance for the delivery of benefits. The retired persons lobby group AARP worked with the Bush Administration on the program and gave their endorsement. Bush said the law, estimated to cost $400 billion over the first 10 years, would give the elderly "better choices and more control over their health care".

Bush began his second term by outlining a major initiative to reform Social Security, which was facing record deficit projections beginning in 2005. Bush made it the centerpiece of his domestic agenda despite opposition from some in the U.S. Congress. In his 2005 State of the Union Address, Bush discussed the potential impending bankruptcy of the program and outlined his new program, which included partial privatization of the system, personal Social Security accounts and options to permit Americans to divert a portion of their Social Security tax (FICA) into secured investments. Despite emphasizing safeguards and remaining open to other plans, Democrats opposed the proposal to partially privatize the system.

Bush embarked on a 60-day national tour, campaigning vigorously for his initiative in media events, known as the "Conversations on Social Security", in an attempt to gain support from the general public. Despite the energetic campaign, public support for the proposal declined and the House Republican leadership decided not to put Social Security reform on the priority list for the remainder of their 2005 legislative agenda. The proposal's legislative prospects were further diminished by the political fallout from the Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005. After the Democrats gained control of both houses of the Congress as a result of the 2006 midterm elections, the prospects of any further congressional action on the Bush proposal were dead for the remainder of his term in office.

Upon arriving in office in 2001, Bush stated his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, an amendment to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change which seeks to impose mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, citing that the treaty exempted 80 percent of the world's population and would have cost tens of billions of dollars per year. He also cited that the Senate had voted 95–0 in 1997 on a resolution expressing its disapproval of the protocol.

In 2002, Bush announced the Clear Skies Act of 2003, aimed at amending the Clean Air Act to reduce air pollution through the use of emissions trading programs. It was argued, however, that this legislation would have weakened the original legislation by allowing higher levels of pollutants than were permitted at that time. The initiative was introduced to Congress, but failed to make it out of committee.

President Bush believes that global warming is real and has noted that global warming is a serious problem, but he asserted there is a "debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused". The Bush Administration's stance on global warming has remained controversial in the scientific and environmental communities. Many accusations have been made against the administration for allegedly misinforming the public and not having done enough to reduce carbon emissions and deter global warming.

Federal funding for medical research involving the creation or destruction of human embryos through the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health has been forbidden by law since the passage in 1995 of the Dickey Amendment by Congress and the signature of President Bill Clinton. Bush has said that he supports adult stem cell research and has supported Federal legislation that finances adult stem cell research. However Bush does not support embryonic stem cell research. On August 9, 2001, Bush signed an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for the 71 existing "lines" of stem cells, but the ability of these existing lines to provide an adequate medium for testing has been questioned. Testing can only be done on twelve of the original lines, and all of the approved lines have been cultured in contact with mouse cells, which creates safety issues that complicate development and approval of therapies from these lines. On July 19, 2006, Bush used his veto power for the first time in his presidency to veto the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. The bill would have repealed the Dickey Amendment, thereby permitting federal money to be used for research where stem cells are derived from the destruction of an embryo.

In 2006, going beyond calls from conservatives to secure the border, Bush demanded that Congress allow more than twelve million illegal immigrants to work in the United States with the creation of a "temporary guest-worker program." Bush does not support amnesty for illegal immigrants, but argues that the lack of legal status denies the protections of U.S. laws to millions of people who face dangers of poverty and exploitation, and penalizes employers despite a demand for immigrant labor.

The President urged Congress to provide additional funds for border security, and committed to deploying 6,000 National Guard troops to the Mexico–United States border. In May-June 2007, Bush strongly supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 which was written by a bipartisan group of Senators with the active participation of the Bush administration. The bill envisioned a legalization program for undocumented immigrants, with an eventual path to citizenship; establishing a guest worker program; a series of border and work site enforcement measures; a reform of the green card application process and the introduction of a point-based "merit" system for green cards; elimination of "chain migration" and of the Diversity Immigrant Visa; and other measures. Bush contended that the proposed bill did not amount to amnesty.

A heated public debate followed, which resulted in a substantial rift within the Republican Party, the majority of conservatives opposed it because of its legalization or amnesty provisions. The bill was eventually defeated in the Senate on June 28, 2007, when a cloture motion failed on a 46-53 vote. President Bush expressed disappointment upon the defeat of one of his signature domestic initiatives. The Bush administration later proposed a series of immigration enforcement measures that do not require a change in law.

Following the events of September 11, Bush issued an executive order authorizing the NSA to monitor communications between suspected terrorists outside the U.S. and parties within the U.S. without obtaining a warrant pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, maintaining that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force. The program proved to be controversial, as critics of the administration, as well as organizations such as the American Bar Association, claimed it was illegal. In August 2006, a U.S. district court judge ruled that the Terrorist Surveillance Program was unconstitutional, but the decision was later reversed. On January 17, 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales informed U.S. Senate leaders that the program would not be reauthorized by the President, but would be subjected to judicial oversight.

On October 17, 2006, Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, a bill passed in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision on Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006), which allows the U.S. government to prosecute unlawful enemy combatants by military commission rather than a standard trial. The bill also denies them access to habeas corpus and, while barring torture of detainees, allows the president to determine what constitutes torture.

President Bush has consistently stated that the United States does not torture. Bush can authorize the CIA to use the simulated-drowning method under extraordinary circumstances. The CIA once considered certain enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, legally permissible. The CIA has exercised the technique on certain key terrorist suspects and were given permission to do so from a memo from the Attorney General. While the Army Field Manual argues "that harsh interrogation tactics elicit unreliable information", the Bush administration states that these enhanced interrogations have "provided critical information" to preserve American lives.

Hurricane Katrina, which was one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, struck early in Bush’s second term. Katrina formed in late August during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and devastated much of the north-central Gulf Coast of the United States, particularly New Orleans.

As the disaster in New Orleans intensified, critics claimed that the president was misrepresenting his administration's role in what they saw as a flawed response. Leaders attacked the president for having appointed apparently incompetent leaders to positions of power at FEMA, notably Michael D. Brown; it was also argued that the federal response was limited as a result of the Iraq War and President Bush himself did not act upon warnings of floods. Bush responded to mounting criticism by accepting full responsibility for the federal government's failures in its handling of the emergency. It has been argued that with Katrina, President Bush passed a political tipping point from which he would not recover.

During Bush's second term, a controversy arose over the Justice Department's midterm dismissal of seven United States Attorneys. The White House maintains the U.S. attorneys were fired for poor performance. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would later resign over the issue, along with other senior members of the Justice Department. The House Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas for advisers Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten to testify regarding this matter, but Bush directed Miers and Bolten to not comply with those subpoenas, invoking his right of executive privilege. Bush has maintained that all of his advisers are protected under a broad executive privilege protection to receive candid advice. The Justice Department has determined that the President's order was legal.

Although Congressional investigations have focused on whether the Justice Department and the White House were using the U.S. Attorney positions for political advantage, no official findings have been released. On March 10, 2008, the Congress filed a federal lawsuit to enforce their issued subpoenas. On July 31, 2008, a United States district court judge ruled that President Bush's top advisers are not immune from Congressional subpoenas.

During his campaign for election as President, Bush's foreign policy platform included support for a stronger economic and political relationship with Latin America, especially Mexico, and a reduction of involvement in "nation-building" and other small-scale military engagements. The administration pursued a national missile defense. In response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President Bush launched the War on Terrorism, in which the United States military and an international coalition invaded Afghanistan. In 2003, President Bush launched the invasion of Iraq, which President Bush viewed as being part of the War on Terrorism.

Those invasions led to the toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq as well as the deaths of many Iraqis, with surveys indicating between four hundred thousand to over one million dead, excluding the tens of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan.

Bush began his second term with an emphasis on improving strained relations with European nations. He appointed long-time adviser Karen Hughes to oversee a global public relations campaign. Bush lauded the pro-democracy struggles in Georgia and Ukraine. In March 2006, he visited India, leading to renewed ties between the two countries, particularly in areas of nuclear energy and counter-terrorism cooperation. Midway through Bush's second term, it was questioned whether Bush was retreating from his freedom and democracy agenda, highlighted in policy changes toward some oil-rich former Soviet republics in central Asia.

After September 11, Bush announced a global War on Terrorism. The Afghan Taliban regime was not forthcoming with Osama bin Laden, so Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime. In his January 29, 2002 State of the Union address, he asserted that an "axis of evil" consisting of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq was "arming to threaten the peace of the world" and "pose a grave and growing danger". The Bush Administration proceeded to assert a right and intention to engage in preemptive war, also called preventive war, in response to perceived threats. This would form a basis for what became known as the Bush Doctrine. The broader "War on Terror", allegations of an "axis of evil", and, in particular, the doctrine of preemptive war, began to weaken the unprecedented levels of international and domestic support for Bush and United States action against al Qaeda following the September 11 attacks.

Some national leaders alleged abuse by U.S. troops and called for the U.S. to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and other such facilities. Dissent from, and criticism of, Bush's leadership in the War on Terror increased as the war in Iraq expanded. In 2006, a National Intelligence Estimate expressed the combined opinion of the United States' own intelligence agencies, concluding that the Iraq War had become the "cause celebre for jihadists" and that the jihad movement was growing.

On October 7, 2001, U.S. and Australian forces initiated bombing campaigns that led to the arrival on November 13 of Northern Alliance troops in Kabul. The main goals of the war were to defeat the Taliban, drive al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, and capture key al Qaeda leaders. In December 2001, the Pentagon reported that the Taliban had been defeated but cautioned that the war would go on to continue weakening Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders. Later that month the UN had installed the Afghan Interim Authority chaired by Hamid Karzai.

Efforts to kill or capture al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden failed as he escaped a battle in December 2001 in the mountainous region of Tora Bora, which the Bush Administration later acknowledged to have resulted from a failure to commit enough U.S. ground troops. Bin Laden and al Qaeda's number two leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as the leader of the Taliban, Mohammed Omar, remain at large.

Despite the initial success in driving the Taliban from power in Kabul, by early 2003 the Taliban was regrouping, amassing new funds and recruits. In 2006, the Taliban insurgency appeared larger, fiercer and better organized than expected, with large-scale allied offensives such as Operation Mountain Thrust attaining limited success. As a result, President Bush commissioned 3,500 additional troops to the country in March 2007.

Beginning with his January 29, 2002 State of the Union address, Bush began publicly focusing attention on Iraq, which he labeled as part of an "axis of evil" allied with terrorists and posing "a grave and growing danger" to U.S. interests through possession of weapons of mass destruction. In the latter half of 2002, CIA reports contained assertions of Saddam Hussein's intent of reconstituting nuclear weapons programs, not properly accounting for Iraqi biological and chemical weapons, and that some Iraqi missiles had a range greater than allowed by the UN sanctions. Claims that the Bush Administration manipulated or exaggerated the threat and evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities would eventually become a major point of criticism for the president.

In late 2002 and early 2003, Bush urged the United Nations to enforce Iraqi disarmament mandates, precipitating a diplomatic crisis. In November 2002, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei led UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, but were forced to depart the country four days prior to the U.S. invasion, despite their requests for more time to complete their tasks. The U.S. initially sought a UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of military force but dropped the bid for UN approval due to vigorous opposition from several countries.

The war effort was joined by more than 20 other nations (most notably the United Kingdom), designated the "coalition of the willing". The invasion of Iraq commenced on March 20, 2003 and the Iraqi military was quickly defeated. The capital, Baghdad, fell on April 9, 2003. On May 1, Bush declared the end of major combat operations in Iraq. The initial success of U.S. operations increased his popularity, but the U.S. and allied forces faced a growing insurgency led by sectarian groups; Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech was later criticized as premature. From 2004 through 2007, the situation in Iraq deteriorated further, with some observers arguing that the country was engaged in a full scale civil war. Bush's policies met with criticism, including demands domestically to set a timetable to withdraw troops from Iraq. The 2006 report of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, led by James Baker, concluded that the situation in Iraq was "grave and deteriorating". While Bush admitted that there were strategic mistakes made in regards to the stability of Iraq, he maintained he would not change the overall Iraq strategy.

In January 2005, free, democratic elections were held in Iraq for the first time in fifty years. According to Iraqi National Security Advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie, "This is the greatest day in the history of this country." Bush praised the event as well, saying that the Iraqis "have taken rightful control of their country's destiny." This led to the election of Jalal Talabani as President and Nouri al-Maliki as Prime Minister of Iraq. A referendum to approve a constitution in Iraq were held in October 2005, supported by the majority Shiites and many Kurds.

On January 10, 2007 Bush addressed the nation from the Oval Office regarding the situation in Iraq. In his speech he announced a surge of 21,500 more troops for Iraq, as well as a job program for Iraqis, more reconstruction proposals, and $1.2 billion for these programs. On May 1, 2007, Bush used his veto for only the second time in his presidency, rejecting a congressional bill setting a deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Five years after the invasion, Bush called the debate over the conflict "understandable" but insisted that a continued U.S. presence there is crucial.

In March 2008 Bush praised the Iraqi government's "bold decision" to launch the Battle of Basra against the Mahdi Army, calling it "a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq". He said he will carefully weigh recommendations from his commanders General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker about how to proceed after the military buildup ends in the summer of 2008. He also praised the Iraqis' legislative achievements, including a pension law, a revised de-Baathification law, a new budget, an amnesty law and a provincial powers measure that, he said, sets the stage for the Iraqi governorate elections, 2008.

On July 31, 2008, Bush announced that with the end of July, American troop deaths had reached their lowest number—thirteen—since the war began in 2003. Due to increased stability in Iraq, Bush announced the withdrawal of additional American forces, which reflected an emerging consensus between the White House and the Pentagon that the war has "turned a corner". He also described what he saw as the success of the 2007 troop surge.

Bush publicly condemned Kim Jong-il of North Korea, naming North Korea one of three states in an "axis of evil," and saying that "the United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." Within months, "both countries had walked away from their respective commitments under the U.S.-DPRK Agreed Framework of October 1994." North Korea's October 9, 2006 detonation of a nuclear device further complicated Bush's foreign policy, which centered for both terms of his presidency on " the terrorists and regimes who seek chemical, biological or nuclear weapons from threatening the United States and the world." Bush condemned North Korea's claims, reaffirmed his commitment to "a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula," and stated that "transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States," for which North Korea would be held accountable. On May 7, 2007, North Korea agreed to shut down its nuclear reactors immediately pending the release of frozen funds held in a foreign bank account. This was a result of a series of three-way talks initiated by the United States and including China. On September 2, 2007, North Korea agreed to disclose and dismantle all of its nuclear programs by the end of 2007.

President Bush has been supportive of expanding economic sanctions on Syria. In early 2007, the Treasury Department, acting on a June 2005 executive order, froze American bank accounts of Syria's Higher Institute of Applied Science and Technology, Electronics Institute, and National Standards and Calibration Laboratory. Bush's order prohibits Americans from doing business with these institutions suspected of helping spread weapons of mass destruction and being supportive of terrorism. Under separate executive orders signed by Bush in 2004 and later 2007, the Treasury Department froze the assets of two Lebanese and two Syrians, accusing them of activities to "undermine the legitimate political process in Lebanon" in November 2007. Those designated included: Assaad Halim Hardan, a member of Lebanon's parliament and current leader of the Syrian Socialist National Party; Wi'am Wahhab, a former member of Lebanon's government (Minister of the Environment) under Prime Minister Omar Karami (2004-2005); Hafiz Makhluf, a colonel and senior official in the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate and a cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; and Muhammad Nasif Khayrbik, identified as a close adviser to Assad.

On May 10, 2005, Vladimir Arutyunian threw a live hand grenade toward a podium where Bush was speaking at Freedom Square in Tbilisi, Georgia. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili was seated nearby. It landed in the crowd about 65 feet (20 m) from the podium after hitting a girl, but it did not detonate. Arutyunian was arrested in July 2005, confessed, was convicted and was given a life sentence in January 2006.

President Bush withdrew U.S. support for several international agreements, including the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) with Russia. Bush emphasized a careful approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians; he denounced Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat for his support of violence, but sponsored dialogues between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Bush supported Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and lauded the democratic elections held in Palestine after Arafat's death.

Bush also expressed U.S. support for the defense of Taiwan following the stand-off in April 2001 with the People's Republic of China over the Hainan Island incident, when an EP-3E Aries II surveillance aircraft collided with one of China's People's Liberation Army Air Force jet, leading to the detention of U.S. personnel.

In 2003–2004, Bush authorized U.S. military intervention in Haiti and Liberia to protect U.S. interests.

In his State of the Union Address in January 2003, Bush outlined a five-year strategy for global emergency AIDS relief, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Bush announced $15 billion for this effort. This program is believed by some to be a positive aspect of Bush's legacy across the political spectrum.

Bush condemned the attacks by militia forces on the people of Darfur and denounced the killings in Sudan as genocide. Bush said that an international peacekeeping presence was critical in Darfur, but opposed referring the situation to the International Criminal Court.

On June 10, 2007, he met with Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and became the first president to visit Albania. Bush has voiced his support for the independence of Kosovo.

In 2008, in the course of a good-will trip to Asia, he attended the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Following the announcement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement on July 1, 2005, Bush nominated John G. Roberts to succeed her. On September 5, following the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, this nomination was withdrawn and Bush instead nominated Roberts for Chief Justice to succeed Rehnquist. Roberts was confirmed by the Senate as the 17th Chief Justice on September 29, 2005.

On October 3, 2005, Bush nominated White House Counsel Harriet Miers for O'Connor's position; after facing significant opposition, her name was withdrawn on October 27. Four days later, on October 31, Bush nominated federal appellate judge Samuel Alito for the position and he was confirmed as the 110th Supreme Court Justice on January 31, 2006.

In addition to his two Supreme Court appointments, Bush appointed 61 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals and 261 judges to the United States district courts. Each of these numbers, along with his total of 324 judicial appointments, is third in American history, behind both Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. Bush also experienced a number of judicial appointment controversies, as 39 people nominated to 27 different federal appellate judgeships were blocked by the Senate Democrats either directly in the Senate Judiciary Committee or on the full Senate floor using a filibuster.

Raised in West Texas, Bush's accent, vacations on his Texas ranch, and penchant for country metaphors contribute to his folksy, American cowboy image. "I think people look at him and think John Wayne," says Piers Morgan, editor of the British Daily Mirror. It has been suggested that Bush's accent was an active choice, as a way of distinguishing himself from Northeastern intellectuals and anchoring himself to his Texas roots. Both supporters and detractors have pointed to his country persona as reasons for their support or criticism.

Bush's popularity was highly variable during his two terms. He began his presidency with approval ratings near 50%. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Bush gained an approval rating of 90%, maintaining 80–90% approval for four months after the attacks. It remained over 50% during most of his first term.

In May 2004, Gallup reported that 89% of the Republican electorate approved of Bush. The support waned, however, due mostly to a minority of Republicans' frustration with him on issues of spending, illegal immigration, and Middle Eastern affairs. Within the United States Military, the president was strongly supported in the 2004 presidential elections. When compared with Democratic challenger John Kerry, 73% of military personnel said that they would vote for Bush, versus 18% for Kerry. According to Peter Feaver, a Duke University political scientist who has studied the political leanings of the U.S. military, members of the armed services supported Bush because they found him more likely to prosecute the War in Iraq than Kerry.

Bush's approval rating has been below the 50% mark in AP-Ipsos polling since December 2004. Since then, his approval ratings and approval of his handling of domestic and foreign policy issues have steadily dropped. Bush received heavy criticism for his handling of the Iraq War, his response to Hurricane Katrina and to the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, NSA warrantless surveillance, Plame affair and Guantanamo Bay detention camp controversies.

Polls conducted in 2006 showed an average of 37% approval ratings for Bush; the lowest for any second term president in this point of term since Harry S. Truman in March 1951, when his approval rating was 28%, which contributed to what Bush called the "thumping" of the Republican Party in the 2006 mid-term elections. Throughout 2007, Bush's approval rating hovered in the mid-thirties percentile, although in a Reuters poll of October 17, 2007, Bush received a lower approval rating of 24%, the lowest point of his presidency.

By April 2008, Bush's disapproval ratings were the highest ever recorded in the 70-year history of the Gallup poll for any president, with 69% of those polled disapproving of the job Bush was doing as president and 28% approving. In September 2008, Bush's approval rating ranged from 19%–the lowest ever– to 34% in polls performed by different agencies. and his disapproval rating stood at 69%. Bush left the White House as one of the most unpopular American presidents. He left office second in unpopularity only to Richard Nixon.

In 2006, 744 professional historians surveyed by Siena College regarded Bush's presidency as follows: Great: 2%; Near Great: 5%; Average: 11%; Below Average: 24%; Failure: 58%. Thomas Kelly, professor emeritus of American studies at Siena College, said that "In this case, current public opinion polls actually seem to cut the President more slack than the experts do." Similar outcomes were retrieved by two informal surveys done by the History News Network in 2004 and 2008.

A March 13, 2008 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reported that 53% of Americans—a slim majority—believe that "the U.S. will ultimately succeed in achieving its goals" in Iraq. That figure was up from 42 percent in September 2007 and the highest since 2006.

Calls for Bush's impeachment were made, though most polls showed a plurality of Americans did not support the president's impeachment. The reasoning behind impeachment usually centered on the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, the Bush administration's justification for the war in Iraq, and alleged violations of the Geneva Conventions. Representative Dennis Kucinich, a Democrat from Ohio, introduced 35 articles of impeachment on the floor of the House of Representatives against President Bush on June 9, 2008, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared that impeachment was "off the table".

President Bush has been criticized internationally and targeted by the global anti-war and anti-globalization campaigns, particularly for his administration's foreign policy. Views of him within the international community are more negative than previous American Presidents, with France largely opposed to what he advocates and public opinion in Britain, an American ally since World War II, largely against him.

Bush was described as having especially close personal relationships with Tony Blair and Vicente Fox, although formal relations were sometimes strained. Other leaders, such as Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, have openly criticized the president. Later in Bush's presidency, tensions arose between himself and Vladimir Putin, which has led to a cooling of their relationship.

In 2006, a majority of respondents in 18 of 21 countries surveyed around the world were found to hold an unfavorable opinion of Bush. Respondents indicated that they judged his administration as negative for world security. In 2007, the Pew Global Attitudes Project reported that during the Bush presidency, attitudes towards the United States and the American people become less favorable around the world.

A March 2007 survey of Arab opinion conducted by Zogby International and the University of Maryland found that Bush is the most disliked leader in the Arab world. More than three times as many respondents registered their dislike for Bush as for the second most unpopular leader, Ariel Sharon.

The Pew Research Center's 2007 Global Attitudes poll found that out of 47 countries, a majority of respondents expressed "a lot of confidence" or "some confidence" in Bush in only nine countries: Israel, India, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria and Uganda.

During a June 2007 visit to Albania Bush was greeted enthusiastically. The mostly Islamic Eastern European nation with a population of 3.6 million has troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan and the country's government is highly supportive of American foreign policy. A huge image of the President now hangs in the middle of the capital city of Tirana flanked by Albanian and American flags. The Bush administration's support for the independence of Albanian-majority Kosovo, while endearing him to the Albanians, has troubled U.S. relations with Serbia, leading to the February 2008 torching of the U.S. embassy in Belgrade.

Following the inauguration of Barack Obama, Bush and his family boarded a presidential helicopter typically used as Marine One to travel to Andrews Air Force Base.

Bush, with his wife, then boarded an Air Force Boeing VC-25 for a flight to a homecoming celebration in Midland, Texas. Because he was no longer President, this flight was designated Special Air Mission 28000, instead of Air Force One.

After a welcome rally in Midland, the Bushes returned to their ranch in Crawford, Texas by helicopter. They bought a home in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas, Texas, where they planned to settle down.

His first speaking engagement will occur on March 17, 2009 in Calgary, Alberta. He will be speaking at a private event titled "A conversation with George W. Bush" at the Telus Convention Centre.

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George W. Bush presidential campaign, 2004

Electoral map, 2004 election

This article is about the presidential campaign of George W. Bush, the incumbent President of the United States and winner of the 2004 Presidential Election. See George W. Bush for a detailed biography and information about his current presidency, and George W. Bush presidential campaign, 2000 for a description of his first presidential campaign. See United States presidential election, 2004 for general information on the 2004 election.

George W. Bush's opponent was U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), whose primary campaign was successful in securing the majority of Democratic delegate votes. For his presidential campaign, see John Kerry presidential campaign, 2004.

George W. Bush's chief political strategist was Karl Rove, who had the title Senior Advisor to the President. He was later joined in August 2004 by Karen Hughes, a former Bush advisor who returned after some time away. His campaign manager was Ken Mehlman.

Bush expressed opinions in agreement with the "pro-life" movement.

Bush established the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, which allowed the federal government to fund community aid programs that were provided by a religious institution. He proposed a youth mentoring program for disadvantaged students and children of prisoners.

Bush supported making the tax cuts passed during his first term permanent; he maintained that the tax cuts made the recent recession shallower and shorter than it would otherwise have been.

Bush's proposals for expanding health care coverage were more modest than those advanced by Senator Kerry. Several estimates were made comparing the cost and impact of the Bush and Kerry proposals. While the estimates varied, they all indicated that the increase in coverage and the funding requirements of the Bush plan would both be lower than those of the more comprehensive Kerry plan.

Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires mandatory standardized testing, forces schools that do not meet standards to provide alternate options for students, and stated the aim of closing the race and gender gap in schools. His FY 2005 budget proposed a 49% increase in elementary and secondary education compared to the FY 2001 budget.

Bush's Clear Skies Act repealed or reduced air pollution controls, including environmental protections of the Clean Air Act. His FY 2005 budget provided $4.4 billion for conservation programs. He signed legislation pushing for the cleanup of abandoned industrial sites (also known as brownfields) and keeping forest fires at bay. He fell under criticism for rejecting the Kyoto Protocol which would commit the United States to reducing greenhouse gas emissions which are believed by much of the relevant science community to cause global warming. The Bush administration stated that this would cost the economy up to $.3.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act and created the Department of Homeland Security. He also created the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) and the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC). He then promoted the idea of an independent "Czar of Intelligence" outside of the White House in response to the 9/11 Commission's findings.

Bush has expressed support for "protecting the sanctity of marriage." He endorsed the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage for all of the states as strictly heterosexual. Late in the 2004 campaign, however, he said that the states should be allowed to "enable people to you know, be able to have rights, like others," though marriage would not be among them. Activists on both sides of the issue took this comment as endorsing civil unions.

Supported continued American involvement in Afghanistan. Believed President Hamid Karzai to be beneficial to Afghanistan's progress.

In a series of negotiations which involved Libya, Britain, and the United States, Libya turned over materials relevant to the production of nuclear weapons.

Supported the continuation of American military presence in Iraq. Promoted the goal of democratic elections by January 2005 as integral to the nation's democratic reform.

Bush advocated pressure on the Saudi Royal Family to more directly combat terrorism and to seize the assets of terrorists operating within their borders.

In previous campaigns, Bush had been criticized for his military service record. He skipped over a long waiting list to receive a spot in the Air National Guard; once he was in the Guard, it has been alleged he did not complete all his required duties. These long-standing charges were given more attention in the 2004 campaign because of the contrast with Kerry's record as a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War.

A group of Bush supporters countered with an advertising campaign arguing that some of Kerry's medals had been undeserved (see John Kerry military service controversy). The subject was further highlighted when CBS News released memos purportedly from Bush's commanding officer in the Guard. The memos added some unflattering details about Bush's Guard service. Almost immediately, however, widespread doubts were raised about their authenticity. CBS News eventually concluded that it could not validate them and that it should not have used them. The incident may have ended up helping Bush by creating doubts about the legitimacy of his detractors.

Citing an unexplained bulge in the back of his suit jacket, allegations in the media suggested that George W. Bush was wired with a hidden earpiece of sorts in order to receive coaching during the 2004 Presidential Debate. A number of blogs began following this matter, speculating that the "bulge" could have been anything from an audio transmitter, medical device, or bulletproof vest.

The maker of the suit, Georges de Paris, said that the bulge was simply a pucker in the fabric that became more visible when Bush crossed his arms and leaned forward. At least one doctor has concluded it was Bush's backbone.

President Bush stated in an interview with Charles Gibson on ABC's Good Morning America that the mystery bulge was "a poorly tailored shirt." He said there was no sound system or electrical signal. After the election, sources in the Bush Administration claimed to The Hill that the bulge was merely Bush's bulletproof vest, and that the information was not disclosed to avoid compromising his personal security.

Bush's campaign launched its first major set of television commercials on March 3, 2004. Although these four spots (three in English and one in Spanish) contained no reference to Senator Kerry, two (one in English and the one in Spanish, both titled, "Safer, Stronger") generated controversy for their inclusion of four seconds of images drawn from the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, including the wreckage of the World Trade Center site, images of New York firefighters (the New York firefighters' union supported Kerry), and the image of a flag-draped coffin being carried out of the attack site.

Some families of 9/11 victims accused the Bush campaign of being insensitive to the memory of those who died and of exploiting the tragedy for his personal political gain. Bush campaign advisor Karen Hughes defended the ads as "very tasteful" and noted that 9/11 was a defining event for Bush's presidency.

The main topic of this heated discussion is the use of actual images of the attack. The use of images from the attack, said Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell, a Democrat, on Face the Nation, implies support from New York firefighters. Rendell claims that a New York firefighters union head supports Kerry for President. But although the International Association of Firefighters was the first union to support Kerry, the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York endorsed the President for re-election in August 2004.

George Bush received endorsements from many Republicans, Democrat Senator Zell Miller of Georgia and former 12-year mayor of New York City Ed Koch. The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York, representing 20,000 active and retired firefighters, endorsed the President on August 31, 2004.

Bush's campaign never officially announced a campaign slogan. However, Bush's campaign made several bus tours bearing de facto slogans. These include the "Yes, America Can" Bus Tour and the "Heart and Soul" Bus Tour , which used the slogan "Moving America Forward". The 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City featured the slogan "A Safer World and More Hopeful America". Another slogan used was "steady leadership in times of change".

As a result of Bush's speech in NYC, the incumbent President was able to do something his opponent John Kerry was unable to do much of... get a significant bounce in the polls. The day after the convention was finished, the polls showed a double-digit lead over Kerry, although when the poll asked about the economy both candidates were still in a dead heat.

On September 20, the Bush campaign and the Kerry campaign jointly released a memorandum of understanding between the two campaigns. The 32-page MOU covered in minute detail many aspects of the staging and format for the presidential and vice-presidential debates.

On September 30, Bush debated Kerry at University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida in the first of three scheduled debates. Polls conducted immediately following the debate suggests that a majority of undecided voters believe that, while neither candidate committed any serious gaffes, Kerry fared better than Bush did.

The final debate occurred on October 13 at Arizona State University and was moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News.

The only vice presidential debate between Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards happened on October 5 at Case Western Reserve University. It was moderated by Gwen Ifill of the Public Broadcasting Service.

The foundation of Bush's campaign for re-election was ideological conservatism. Members of the campaign team believe there are clear ideological differences between George W. Bush and John Kerry, and believe this contrasts with the 2000 Presidential election, in which both candidates attempted to portray themselves as "centrists". Critics have argued that the crux of Bush's campaign was the suggestion that John Kerry would be soft on terrorism in comparison to George Bush, and to present Bush as a "war President". They also claim that the Bush campaign is concerned mainly with personalities rather than tackling ideological issues.

Much of the opposition to the Bush campaign (and vis-a-vis support to the Kerry campaign) took the form of "Anybody but Bush" - voters who would vote for anyone instead of George W. Bush.

Not since the 1972 presidential election had Minnesota been an important Battleground Swing State as it was in 2004. As a result President George W. Bush made 8 unprecedented campaign visits to Minnesota. On April 26, 2004 he made a first time presidential campaign visit to Edina, Minnesota during which Congressmen Jim Ramstad presented The President with the book “Lest We Forget” by John C. Martin, a U.S. Civil War veteran and Department Commander of the G.A.R. The National Daughters of the Grand Army first presented the book to President Coolidge on August 3, 1928.

The election took place on November 2, 2004 and ended with Bush gaining 286 electoral votes and Kerry garnering 251 electoral votes. Ironically, one vote went to Kerry's running mate and former presidential candidate, John Edwards, when one of the electors (pledged to Kerry) voted for John Edwards by mistake. This was the first time in U.S. history that an elector had voted the same person for president and vice-president. As President Bush's running mate, Vice President Dick Cheney received 286 votes and John Edwards received 252.

The key state that both candidates needed was Ohio. Ohio has 20 electoral votes, enough for both candidates to surpass the necessary 270. Ohio was reporting its results, but had not counted provisional ballots. In Ohio, Kerry trailed by 136,000 votes (not including provisional ballots). The chances of Kerry gaining the necessary votes through provisional ballots was slim.

With 286 electoral votes, President George W. Bush won the 2004 Presidential Election.

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Criticism of George W. Bush

A poster for a June 25, 2008 anti-George W. Bush rally in Dublin, Ireland.

George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, drew significant domestic and international criticism throughout his presidency. His level of popular support declined from 90 percent (the highest ever recorded by Gallup) immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks to 25 percent the lowest level for any sitting President in 35 years, rivaling Richard Nixon's unpopularity at the time of the Watergate scandal and his subsequent resignation. A NBC/WSJ poll also taken in June 2007 indicated only 19% of respondents believing that the country was headed in the right direction, the lowest level recorded in 15 years.

His opponents have criticized his way of fighting the War on Terrorism, his support for the USA PATRIOT Act and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, among many other acts and issues along the way, and there was even a small-scale movement to impeach him. Former President Jimmy Carter has called Bush's presidency "the worst in history", although he later said that comment was "careless or misinterpreted," and that he "wasn't comparing this administration with other administrations back through history, but just with President Nixon's." According to an August 2008 poll, 41% of Americans consider Bush to be the worst President of all time, though 50% of Americans disagreed.

He has also received criticism for publicly using phrases like "bring it on" and "wanted dead or alive," both regarding terrorists.

However on September 9, 2007, Bush's homeland security adviser again caused a stir when she, in referencing a new tape by Bin Laden, said "This is about the best he can do. This is a man on a run, from a cave, who's virtually impotent other than these tapes". "In appearance on two Sunday talk shows, she used the 'virtually impotent' reference both times, suggesting the language was chosen with careful purpose". "Such a comment could prove incendiary to like-minded followers of bin Laden who see themselves as a 'vanguard of a global assault on the United States' ... "A provocation like that is not helpful" said Thomas Sanderson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies .

President Bush has taken a significant amount of criticism for his decision to invade Iraq in March 2003 and his handling of the situation afterwards. As President Bush organized the effort, made the case, and ordered the invasion himself, he has borne the brunt of the criticism for the war. A Newsweek poll taken in June 2007 showed a record 73% of respondents disapproving of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq.

Critics of the invasion claimed that it would lead to the deaths of thousands of Coalition soldiers and Iraqi soldiers and civilians, and that it would moreover damage peace and stability throughout the Middle East. When this later turned out to be the case, public support for Bush and his policies dropped sharply.

Another oft-stated reason for opposition is the Westphalian concept that foreign governments should never possess a right to intervene in another sovereign nation's internal affairs. Giorgio Agamben, the Italian philosopher, has also offered a critique of the logic of such pre-emptive war.

Anti-war sentiment has led to a number of large protests in the US, among the most visible being the one led by Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, and some reflection in electoral politics. A significant minority of mostly Democratic politicians, such as former Vice President Al Gore and Barack Obama, opposed the invasion of Iraq. John Kerry, the Democratic nominee for President in 2004, voted to authorize the invasion. Howard Dean, a rival for the nomination, ran on an anti-war position, but did not favor quick troop withdrawal. Dennis Kucinich, another candidate for the Democratic nomination, favored replacement of the U.S. occupation force with one sponsored by the UN, as did Ralph Nader's independent presidential candidacy.

Another point of discussion has been whether the detainment and treatment of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison and the Guantánamo Bay detainment camp constitutes torture or not. Although a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll "found that sizable majorities of Americans disagree with tactics ranging from leaving prisoners naked and chained in uncomfortable positions for hours, to trying to make a prisoner think he was being drowned.

A Pentagon memo lists many interrogation techniques which were requested and approved during the presidency of George W. Bush on the basis that "The current guidelines for interrogation procedures at GTMO limit the ability of interrogators to counter advanced resistance". The Bush administration's connection to torture has been one of the main considerations in the movement to impeach George W. Bush.

Torture has in several cases become military policy and several high ranking US officials are being charged with war crimes in Germany.

Domestic criticism of Bush has waxed and waned throughout his administration. Before 9/11, Bush was reviled by the bulk of the American left, mostly for his role in the controversial 2000 election, and for perceived shortcomings in his No Child Left Behind program for education. The next major domestic item which Bush faced significant opposition to was his program of tax cuts, codified in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. Both acts ultimately passed, but calls for their repeal lasted until the end of the 2004 campaign. Democratic candidate Howard Dean in particular called for a repeal of the part of the tax cuts which affected the wealthiest Americans in order to fund public health care programs and reduce the federal deficit.

After Bush was re-elected, he made Social Security reform a top priority. He proposed options to permit Americans to divert a portion of their Social Security tax (FICA) into secured investments, creating a "nest egg" that he claimed would enjoy steady growth. This led Democrats to label the program a "privatization" of Social Security. Bush embarked on a 60-day tour to shore up public support for the plan, attacking the political reaction against reforms. Ultimately, however, no consensus on a plan could be reached within the congressional Republican party, and Bush was left without any political will to pass his reforms. The issue was dropped, and the status quo maintained.

Bush has been increasingly forced to defend his actions on many fronts and has been unable to generate widespread support in the nation as a whole. An example of the general displeasure and extent to which many Americans have lost respect and confidence in the President lies in his recent election as the "Biggest Tool of 2006" in an online poll created by Comedy Central.

The Republican Party's defeat in the 2006 US midterm elections is taken as another sign of plummeting public support for President Bush. After the Democratic Party's victory, MSNBC reported that "The war in Iraq, scandals in Congress and declining support for Bush and Republicans on Capitol Hill defined the battle for House and Senate control".

After 9/11, Bush signed legislation interpreted as limiting the civil liberties of United States citizens. The two most prominent pieces of legislation are the PATRIOT Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which remove certain privacy rights and the right of habeas corpus. Criticism has come from a number of sides on this issue. Conservatives have criticized him for increased government spending, including non-defense spending, after running as a candidate who pledged to reduce spending and make government smaller. Liberals have criticized him for eliminating basic civil liberties and for not fulfilling his Constitutional duties to uphold habeas corpus.

The Bush administration had also come under attack from the American right-wing, particularly with regard to its economic policies. The American Conservative laments "Bush doesn’t know how to stop. Like a credit-card thief, the President of the United States is going on a shopping binge and making other people pay. If history gives Bush a nickname, it will be Deadbeat Dubya".

Calling Bush "The Mother of All Big Spenders", the libertarian think-tank Cato Institute writes that "Sadly, the Bush administration has consistently sacrificed sound policy to the god of political expediency". Yet when Democrats want to increase spending on domestic issues such as health care for the poor, Bush suddenly becomes a "fiscal conservative" accusing them of "working to bring back the failed tax-and-spend policies of the past" and vowing to fight them. But says Cato's Chris Edwards, "When he gives speeches now, you hear him bashing the Democrats on overspending. It sounds ridiculous, because we know he's a big spender." "After running up $3 trillion in new debt - including more than half a trillion dollars for what some have called his flawed Iraq policy - some people find it astounding that the president is once again lecturing Congress about fiscal responsibility and fiscal priorities," stated Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev).

Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve for 18 years, serving under six Presidents and who describes himself as "a lifelong Libertarian Republican", writes in his book The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World that Bush and the congressional Republicans "swapped principle for power". "Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences". Interestingly he writes that former President Bill Clinton had "a consistent, disciplined focus on long-term economic growth became a hallmark of his presidency" and says that Clinton was "by far" one of the two "smartest presidents I've worked with".

Greenspan, again promoting his book, also says "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil" and "getting Saddam out of there was very important, but had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, it had to do with oil." With regards to the costs of the war in Iraq, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will come to between one and one and a half trillion dollars by 2010.

In fact, according to the former World Bank vice-president, Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and now a professor at the Columbia Business School, when other factors, like medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen are added in, the cost just to date is closer to $3.3 trillion. However, continues Stiglitz, "Three trillion is a very conservative number, the true costs are likely to be much larger than that". "The money being spent on the war each week would be enough to wipe out illiteracy around the world ... Just a few days' funding would be enough to provide health insurance for US children who were not covered," he said.

The relaxed regulation under the Bush presidency are regarded to have been a major contributing factor to the subprime mortgage crisis, and there are fears that the United States and the world economy could slide into another Great Depression.

A Harper's magazine column by Linda Bilmes, a lecturer in Public Finance at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Joseph Stiglitz titled The $10 trillion hangover: Paying the price for eight years of Bush, "estimate that the cost of undoing the Bush administration’s economic choices, from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the collapse of the financial system, soaring debt and new commitments to interest payments and Medicare, all add up to over $10 trillion" a monumental amountEight years in office, a $10.6 trillion debt. See also National Debt Graph: Bush Sets 50-Year Record. The National debt from George Washington to the beginning of Ronald Reagan's term totaled about one trillion dollars.

The President came under more criticism when the powerful Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast region during the early hours of August 30, 2005. In the wake of the hurricane, two levees protecting New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain collapsed, leading to widespread flooding. In the aftermath of this disaster, thousands of city residents, unable or unwilling to evacuate prior to the hurricane, became stranded with little or no relief for several days, resulting in lawless and unsanitary conditions in some areas. Blame for inadequate disaster response was partially attributed to state and local authorities, but public outcry in the disaster's early hours was largely directed at the Bush administration, mainly FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security alleging weak crisis management and coordination. In fact a Canadian search-and-rescue team actually made it to a New Orleans suburb 5 days before U.S. aid arrived.

Others have identified political conservatism as the overriding cause of problems in the way the disaster was handled. These critics argue that the alleged unreadiness of the United States National Guard, negligence of federal authorities, and haplessness of officials such as Michael Brown did not represent incompetence on the part of the federal authorities, but were instead natural and deliberate consequences of the conservative philosophy embraced by the Bush administration, especially "sink or swim" policies to force reductions in government expenditure and privatize key government responsibilities such as disaster preparedness, both of which resulted in the systematic dismantling of FEMA by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Criticism led to the resignation of FEMA director Michael Brown, and eventually, Bush himself accepted personal responsibility for what he deemed "serious problems in the federal government's response" in a September 15, 2005 press conference. Currently, the administration is investigating itself, yet several politicians have called for either congressional or independent investigations, claiming that the Executive Branch cannot satisfactorily investigate itself.

After four years in office, the George W. Bush administration has compiled an environmental record that is taking our nation in a new and dangerous direction. Last year alone, Bush administration agencies made more than 150 actions that weakened our environmental laws. Over the course of the first term, this administration led the most thorough and destructive campaign against America's environmental safeguards in the past 40 years.

In Texas Chainsaw Management (2007) Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. argues that "The verdict on George W. Bush as the nation's environmental steward has already been written in stone. No president has mounted a more sustained and deliberate assault on the nation's environment. No president has acted with more solicitude toward polluting industries. Assaulting the environment across a broad front, the Bush administration has promoted and implemented more than 400 measures that eviscerate 30 years of environmental policy." Kennedy has also written a book Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy. See also the website BushGreenWatch.

George W. Bush has also been criticized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, representing over 20 Nobel Laureates, who accuse him of failing to acknowledge basic science on environmental issues. The group says that the Bush administration has engaged in intentional suppression and distortion of facts regarding the environment.

In the waning days of his administration, Bush sought rule changes which would negatively impact a wide range of environmental issues.

George Bush is behaving like a furious defaulter whose home is about to be repossessed. Smashing the porcelain, ripping the doors off their hinges, he is determined that there will be nothing worth owning by the time the bastards kick him out. His midnight regulations, opening America's wilderness to logging and mining, trashing pollution controls, tearing up conservation laws, will do almost as much damage in the last 60 days of his presidency as he achieved in the foregoing 3,000. His backers - among them the nastiest pollutocrats in America - are calling in their favours. But this last binge of vandalism is also the Bush presidency reduced to its essentials. Destruction is not an accidental product of its ideology. Destruction is the ideology. Neoconservatism is power expressed by showing that you can reduce any part of the world to rubble.

The dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy is an ongoing political dispute initiated by the unprecedented dismissal of seven United States Attorneys by the Bush administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2006, and their replacement by interim appointees under provisions of the 2005 Patriot Act reauthorization.

Congressional investigations have focused on whether the Department of Justice and the White House were using the U.S. Attorney positions for political advantage. Allegations are that some of the attorneys were targeted for dismissal to impede investigations of Republican politicians or that some were targeted for their failure to initiate investigations that would damage Democratic politicians or hamper Democratic-leaning voters. Clear explanations for the dismissals remain elusive, however, with several administration officials providing contradictory testimony or testimony contradicted by documents subpoened by Congress. On July 25, 2007 the United States House Committee on the Judiciary voted along party lines 22-17 to issue citations of Contempt of Congress to White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers for their failure to respond to Congressional subpoenas.

Critics argue that the scandal has undermined both the integrity of the Department of Justice and the non-partisan tradition of U.S. Attorneys. Others have gone so far as to liken the event to Watergate, referring to it as Gonzales-gate. Many members of Congress from both parties called for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. As of June 25, 2007, six senior staff of the Department of Justice had resigned, including the Deputy Attorney General, the Acting Associate Attorney General, the Chief of Staff for the Attorney General, the Chief of Staff for the Deputy Attorney General, the Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, and the DOJ's White House Liaison. By September 17, 2007 Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, and several additional senior Department of Justice officers had departed from office. His successor, Michael Mukasey after a controversy over his Senate testimony regarding the legality of torture and waterboarding, was confirmed to office by a vote of the Senate on November 8, 2007, and was sworn in on November 9, 2007.

Moral and ethical questions have been raised over the billions of dollars Bush has requested for the Iraq war, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has said ensures that less money is made available to help children and the poor in the United States. Critics have accused him of stinginess toward poor children with regards to health care in a time when it is increasingly unaffordable. Another example is Bush's effort to cut food stamps for the poor. In 2005, Bush called for "billions of dollars in cuts that will touch people on food stamps and farmers on price supports, children under Medicaid and adults in public housing." While passed by the Republican Congress, initially the "White House proposed the restriction".

Bush's critics have questioned his leadership skills regarding some events. One occasion was on the moment of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks: after being told by Chief of Staff Andrew Card that the U.S. was "under attack", Bush continued with a reading lesson with elementary school children for seven minutes. Democratic 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry cited Bush's lack of swift action, calling into question the incumbent's leadership capabilities, and concluding: "Americans want to know that the person they choose as president has all the skills and ability, all of the mental toughness, all of the gut instinct necessary to be a strong commander in chief." The 9/11 Commission later released a summary of Bush's closed-door testimony, which stated that Bush's "instinct was to project calm, not to have the country see an excited reaction at a moment of crisis". It went on to say "The President felt he should project strength and calm until he could better understand what was happening." This situation was featured prominently in Michael Moore's 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.

Bush twice, in late 2001 and early 2002, stated that before entering the classroom he had seen on a television set the first plane hit the World Trade Center, and that he had assumed it was an accident. This was impossible, as no televised footage of the first plane crashing into the tower was broadcast until the afternoon of that day. The White House explained his remarks as "a mistaken recollection".

Bush has admitted undergoing a 'battle' with alcohol and alcoholism, which, he has stated, ended in 1986.

Bush's presidency has seen the re-emergence of the use of a term previously applied to his father, "Bushism", to describe Bush's colorful mispronunciations and misuse of words when speaking. Bushisms have been widely popularized and archived across the Internet due to their often humorous nature. Even as early as the 2000 presidential debates, this was the subject of a Saturday Night Live sketch (see "Strategery"). Perhaps his most famous mispronunciation is that of "nucular" instead of "nuclear" when referring to nuclear weapons. In addition, he is often disparagingly called "Dubya", a stereotypical Texan pronunciation of the letter "W," which is Bush's middle initial. However, Bush's supporters have been known to refer to him as Dubya as well.

Bush critic Georgie Anne Geyer found his behavior shocking and Sean-Paul Kelley, founder of the left-wing blog The Agonist, found his behavior appalling. Mishaps include an unexpected shoulder rub he gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G8 summit, an incident where Bush wiped his glasses on an unsuspecting woman's dress on The Late Show with David Letterman, an incident when he ruined a rented house in Montgomery, Alabama and never paid the damage fine, a time when he flashed the finger in front of a camera during his time as governor, and a ceremony in which he presented the mothers of fallen soldiers with a Presidential coin and jokingly commented to one of them, "Now don't go sell it on eBay".

Bush has been continually charged by critics, including some conservatives, to have a low regard for human life and suffering, at times even pathological or disrespectful. The criticism ranges from broad indictments of his overall policy to noted specific instances. For example, when Bush was questioned by conservative pundit Tucker Carlson regarding possible clemency for the reformed Texas Death Row inmate Karla Faye Tucker, Carlson reported that Bush openly mocked her situation, even assuming an off-the-cuff impersonation of Tucker literally whimpering for her life. The incident led to controversy between Bush and a coalition of Republican politicians, evangelicals, and Christians seeking clemency for Tucker, who had become a devout Christian before being executed. Another incident involved a meeting between the president and Senator Jim Webb of Virginia that had nearly escalated to confrontation. Bush was warned by his aides in advance to be sensitive towards Webb regarding his son, an Iraq War soldier who had almost been killed during his service. The president approached Webb and asked him, "How's your boy?". Webb had replied "I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President.", to which Bush responded, "That's not what I asked you. How's your boy?" Bush's curt response reportedly had almost resulted in a physical confrontation between Webb and the President of the United States.

The national news press has also often accused Bush of literally intimidating both individual reporters and newsgroups such as the White House Press Corp during questioning and interviews with a bullying, aggressive physical presence, confrontational attitude, as well as often repeating directly to reporters that he refuses to read their work at all.

In 2008, the History News Network conducted an unscientific poll among 109 professional historians. That poll found that, among those professional historians, 98% believe that the George W. Bush presidency is a failure, and that 61% believe it to be the worst in history.

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Presidency of George W. Bush

Presidency of George W. Bush

The Presidency of George W. Bush began on his inauguration on January 20, 2001 as the 43rd President of the United States of America. The oldest son of former United States President George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush was elected president in the 2000 general election, thus becoming the second 2nd generation president (after the John Quincy Adams), succeeding his father after just one other president, and with just two terms between them. Although losing the national popular vote, the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore awarded Bush the required number of electoral votes with a 537-vote margin in the state of Florida in a highly debated election. Bush was re-elected in 2004, and his term ended on January 20, 2009, with the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

As president, Bush pushed through a $1.3 trillion tax cut program and the No Child Left Behind Act, and also pushed for socially conservative efforts such as the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and faith-based welfare initiatives.

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Bush declared a global War on Terrorism and, in October 2001, ordered an invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban, destroy Al-Qaeda, and to capture Osama bin Laden. In March 2003, Bush received a mandate from the U.S. Congress to lead an invasion of Iraq, asserting that Iraq was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441.

Bush was also able to initiate his AIDS program that committed $15 billion to combat AIDS over 5 years and is credited for saving millions of lives.His record as a humanitarian can also be tied to helping send as many as 29 million African children to school.

Running as a self-described "war president" in the midst of the Iraq War, Bush won re-election in 2004, as his campaign against Senator John Kerry was successful despite controversy over Bush's pursuance of the Iraq War and his handling of the economy.

His Second term was highlighted by several free trade agreements, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 alongside a strong push for offshore and domestic drilling, the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, a strong push for Social Security and Illegal Immigration reform, a surge of troops in Iraq which was followed by a huge drop in violence, and several different economic initiatives that were aimed at preventing a banking system collapse, stopping foreclosures, and stimulating the economy during the ongoing recession.

After his re-election, Bush received increasingly heated criticism, even from former allies. His worldwide and domestic popularity decreased due to the war and other issues such as the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy, record budget deficits affecting the administration, and the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. As president, Bush has received some of the lowest approval ratings in American history and left office as one of the most unpopular Presidents in history.

Bush's Cabinet had included figures that were prominent in past administrations, notably former Secretary of State Colin Powell who had served as United States National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had served as White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford; Rumsfeld's successor, Robert Gates, served as Director of Central Intelligence under George H.W. Bush. Vice President Dick Cheney served as Secretary of Defense under George H. W. Bush.

Bush placed a high value on personal loyalty and, as a result, his administration had high message discipline. He maintained a "hands-off" style of management that he believes prevents him from being tangled by intricacies that hinder sound decision-making. "I'm confident in my management style. I'm a delegator because I trust the people I've asked to join the team. I'm willing to delegate. That makes it easier to be President," he said in an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC in December of 2003. Critics allege, however, that Bush is willing to overlook mistakes made by loyal subordinates.

There was been only one non-Republican in Bush's cabinet: Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, the first Asian American cabinet secretary, who had previously served as Secretary of Commerce under Bill Clinton, is a Democrat. Mineta resigned from Bush's cabinet on July 7, 2006 to pursue "other challenges". Mary Peters, a Republican, was nominated and confirmed to succeed him as Transportation Secretary.

In 2006, Bush replaced long-time chief of staff Andrew Card with Joshua Bolten and made major staff and cabinet changes with the intention of revitalizing his Administration.

On November 8, 2006 (the day after the Democrats took back Congress in the midterm elections), Bush announced plans to replace Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with former CIA Director Robert Gates. Gates was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 6 and took office as the 22nd Secretary of Defense on December 18.

Bush's first Attorney General, John Ashcroft, was politically controversial, but widely viewed as competent. Ashcroft resigned days after Bush's 2004 re-election. Bush's second Attorney General was Alberto Gonzales. In addition to his work on providing guidelines for enhanced interrogation techniques prior to his appointment, he claimed there was no right to Habeas Corpus. Michael Bernard Mukasey succeeded Gonzales and is the country's 81st Attorney General.

Bush's first nomination for Secretary of Labor was Linda Chavez. This nomination came under attack when evidence came to light that she had given money to an illegal immigrant from Guatemala who lived in her home. Chavez claimed that the woman was not an employee and she had merely provided her with emergency assistance due to the domestic abuse the woman had been facing at the time. Chavez's nomination was withdrawn.

Bush's first Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham was controversial at the time of his 2001 appointment because as a senator he co-sponsored S.896, a bill to abolish the United States Department of Energy, in 1999. Samuel Wright Bodman III, Sc.D. is the United States Secretary of Energy and was previously Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department.

When Tom Ridge announced his decision to resign as Secretary of Homeland Security, Bush's first choice to replace him was Bernard Kerik, who served as Police Commissioner of the City of New York during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Kerik's nomination raised controversy when it was discovered that he had perviously hired an undocumented worker as a nanny and housekeeper. After a week, Kerik pulled his nomination and Bush went on to nominate Michael Chertoff.

On October 24, 2005, Bush nominated Ben Bernanke to succeed Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. The Senate Banking Committee recommended Bernanke's confirmation by a 13-1 voice vote on November 16, 2005. With the full Senate's approval on January 31, 2006 by another voice vote, Bernanke was sworn in on February 1, 2006.

The guiding political philosophy of the Bush administration has been termed neoconservative. The specific elements of neoconservative leadership have been itemized in policy papers by members of the Project for a New American Century, and is represented in the editorial perspective of the political journal the Weekly Standard. Administration officials chosen from the membership of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) began with the selection of the candidate for vice president, Dick Cheney. Others included Richard Armitage, Zalmay Khalilzad, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Richard Perle, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz.

In 1998, following perceived Iraqi unwillingness to co-operate with UN weapons inspections, members of the PNAC, including former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, wrote to President Bill Clinton urging him to remove Saddam Hussein from power using US diplomatic, political and military power.

In September 2000, the PNAC issued a report entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources For A New Century, proceeding "from the belief that America should seek to preserve and extend its position of global leadership by maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military forces." The group stated that when diplomacy or sanctions fail, the United States must be prepared to take military action. The PNAC argued that the Cold War deployment of forces was obsolete. Defense spending and force deployment must reflect the post-Cold War duties that US forces are obligated to perform. Constabulary duties such as peacekeeping in the Balkans and the enforcement of the No Fly Zones in Iraq put a strain upon, and reduced the readiness of US forces. The PNAC recommended the forward redeployment of US forces at new strategically placed permanent military bases in Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia. Permanent bases would ease the strain on US forces, allowing readiness to be maintained and the carrier fleet to be reduced. Furthermore, PNAC advocated that the US-globalized military should be enlarged, equipped and restructured for the "constabulary" roles associated with shaping the security in critical regions of the world.

George W. Bush’s environmental record began with promises as a presidential candidate to clean up power plants and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In a speech on September 29, 2000 in Saginaw, Michigan, Bush pledged to commit two billion dollars to the funding of clean coal technology research. In the same speech, he also promised to work with Congress, environmental groups and the energy industry to require a reduction of the emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury and carbon dioxide into the environment within a “reasonable period of time.” He would later reverse his position on that specific campaign pledge in March 2001 in a letter to Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel, stating that carbon dioxide was not considered a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, and that restricting carbon dioxide emissions would lead to higher energy prices.

In 2001, President Bush appointed Philip A. Cooney, a former lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, to the White House Council on Environmental Equality. Cooney is known to have modernized government climate reports in order to minimize the findings of scientific sources tying greenhouse gas emissions to global warming.

In March 2001, the Bush administration announced that it would not implement the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty signed in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan that would require nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, claiming that ratifying the treaty would create economic setbacks in the U.S. and does not put enough pressure to limit emissions from developing nations. In February 2002, Bush announced his alternative to the Kyoto Protocol, by bringing forth a plan to reduce the intensity of greenhouse gasses by 18% over ten years. The intensity of greenhouse gasses specifically is the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions and economic output, meaning that under this plan, emissions would still continue to grow, but at a slower pace. Bush stated that this plan would prevent the release of 500 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, which is about the equivalent of 70 million cars from the road. This target would achieve this goal by providing tax credits to businesses that use renewable energy sources.

In late November 2002, the Bush Administration released proposed rule changes that would lead to increased logging of federal forests for commercial or recreational activities by giving local forest managers the ability to open up the forests to development without requiring environmental impact assessments and without specific standards to maintain local fish and wildlife populations. The proposed changes would affect roughly 192,000,000 acres (780,000 km2) of US forests and grasslands. Administration officials claimed the changes were appropriate because existing rules, which were approved by the Clinton administration two months before Bush took office, were unclear.

In November 2004, Bush administration officials asked the United Nations to allow US industries to use an additional 458 tons of methyl bromide, an ozone-destroying pesticide that was slated for elimination by the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The additional increase request brings the US’s total exemption for the year 2005 to 9,400 metric tons of methyl bromide, more than all other nations’ requests combined, and well over the 7,674 metric tons used by US agribusiness in 2002.

In January 2004, Interior Secretary Gale Norton approved a move to open nearly 9,000,000 acres (36,000 km2) of Alaska's North Slope to oil and gas development, citing claims from the energy industry that nearly 13 billion barrels (2.1×109 m3) of oil could be extracted from the region. The North Slope neighbor's the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary and habitat for migratory birds, whales, seals and other wildlife. Reports from the U.S. Geological Survey, however, estimate that less than one-third of the reported 13 billion barrels (2.1×109 m3) is economically recoverable in the entire 23,500,000-acre (95,000 km2) National Petroleum Reserve.

In July 2005 the Environmental Protection Agency decided to delay the release of an annual report on fuel economy. The report shows that automakers have taken advantage of loopholes in US fuel economy regulations to manufacture vehicles that are less fuel-efficient than they were in the late 1980s. Fuel-efficiency had on average dropped six percent during that period, from 22.1 miles per gallon to 20.8 mpg. Evidence suggests that the administration’s decision to delay the report’s release was because of its potential to affect Congress’s upcoming final vote on an energy bill six years in the making, which turned a blind eye to fuel economy regulations.

Bush's presidency had been characterized by the unitary executive theory, which is a vigorous defense of "executive privilege", evidenced in such acts as signing Executive Order 13233, which suspends the release of presidential papers, tight control of Congressional inquiries into White House officers such as in the 9/11 Commission's interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Bush and Dick Cheney, and the generally high level of coordination between the White House, Congressional Republicans and Senate Republicans in both of Bush's terms. Many commentators have claimed that deference to executive privilege was one of the principal considerations in Bush's administration, when he proposed his three nominations for the Supreme Court, and appointed John R. Bolton to the United Nations.

Ellen Mariani, widow of Louis Neil Mariani, killed in the September 11 attacks, has charged George W. Bush, et al., because "Defendant GWB has not been forthright and honest with regard to his administration's pre-knowledge of the potential of the "911" attacks" (Mariani v. Bush, Case number 03-5273, United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania). Former White House chief counter-terrorism advisor Richard A. Clarke has criticized both the failure to prevent the attacks of 9/11, and the response to them in both domestic and foreign policy, in his book Against All Enemies.

Third Way issued a new report on September 5, 2006 analyzing the Bush administration’s record on national security. The report was released at a press conference in the Capitol with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, retired General Wesley Clark, Assistant Minority Leader Dick Durbin, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Carl Levin, and founding Third Way Co-Chair Senator Thomas Carper. In The Neo Con: The Bush Defense Record by the Numbers, Third Way analyzed available data across seven key national security indicators: Iraq, terrorism (broadly defined), Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, the condition of the American military, and China. The report finds that the numbers lead to an indisputable conclusion that incompetence and a failed strategy have "helped lead us to this dangerous situation".

Anti-crime tax funds have been appropriated to youth programs based on political connections instead of merit. Current and former Justice Department employees allege that the head of the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ignored staff rankings in favor of programs that had political, social or religious connections to the Bush White House.

In 2007, Red Cross investigators concluded in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency's interrogation methods for high-level Al-Qaeda prisoners constituted torture which could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to the book Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals by Jane Mayer, a journalist for The New Yorker.

According to the book, the report of the International Committee of the Red Cross found that the methods used on Abu Zubaydah, the first major Qaeda figure captured by the United States, were “categorically” torture, which is illegal under both American and international law. A copy of the report was given to the C.I.A. in 2007. For example, the book states that Abu Zubaydah was confined in a box “so small he said he had to double up his limbs in the fetal position” and was one of several prisoners to be “slammed against the walls,” according to the Red Cross report. The C.I.A. has admitted that Abu Zubaydah and two other prisoners were waterboarded, a practice in which water is poured on the nose and mouth to create the sensation of suffocation and drowning. Lawrence Wilkerson, former army officer and chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, warned senior Bush Administration officials who formulated the U.S. torture policy that they should never leave the U.S., except perhaps to Israel or Saudi Arabia, because they "broke the law" and could in the future be prosecuted "in a foreign court, or in an international court" for their roles in authorizing torture.

Manfred Nowak, the special representative on torture at the UN Commission on Human Rights stated in January 2009 that Bush and Donald Rumsfeld should both be prosecuted for war crimes due to their approval of the interrogation methods used on prisoners at the USA military base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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Source : Wikipedia