Jeb Bush

3.379945799431 (1845)
Posted by sonny 04/21/2009 @ 06:16

Tags : jeb bush, florida, states, us

News headlines
Cheney supports Bush for president - Christian Science Monitor
WE DO NOT NEED ANOTHER BUSH AT OR NEAR THE WHITE HOUSE. Oh my, I am sure that Jeb is just thrilled to have Dick's endorsement! Was it not enough to be saddled with the legacy of his older brother, no not Neil, that other Bush. If Cheney thinks Jeb Bush...
Vice-Presidential Issues [Peter Wehner] - National Review Online Blogs
As I point out in my posting over at Contentions, former vice president Al Gore charged that George W. Bush had brought “deep dishonor to our country” and had built a “durable reputation as the most dishonest president since Richard Nixon....
Former Governor Jeb Bush won't run for governor again - The News-Press
By Paul Flemming • Tallahassee bureau • May 12, 2009 Bush, who was termed out as Florida's governor in 2006 after eight years in the Governor's Mansion, said through a spokeswoman this morning that he would not seek the office he used to...
Can my man Marco give Crist a run for it in Florida? - TPMCafé
the hard-right credentials, he campaigns in Cuban-Floridian Spanish, and he's linked to Jeb Bush (and maybe Cheney and Limbaugh through eg Jeb Bush) and a whole bunch of mouthy people who can't abide Crist. Any impressions on whether Marco might really...
Blumner: Jeb Bush and the vegetative GOP - Salt Lake Tribune
Jeb Bush and unsuccessful 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently used a pizza parlor in Arlington, Va., to launch a group they hope will freshen up the Republican Party. The newly minted National Council for a New America is intended to...
Yes, it's that bad for the GOP -
It is being launched by Eric Cantor, the Republican Whip from Virginia, and former Governors Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. And yet, the level of ridicule some Republicans, particularly social conservatives, are throwing at them seems completely...
Column: Discussion helps GOP find its way - Wausau Daily Herald
They started with this simple concept, authored by Jeb Bush: "You can't beat something with nothing, and the other side has something. I don't like it, but they have it, and we have to be respectful and mindful of that." During the Reagan years we had...
Jeb Bush to help party rebuild -
Jeb Bush and other Republican leaders are holding the first of a series of town hall meetings aimed at remaking the party's image. BY BETH REINHARD When national Republican leaders brainstormed about repairing their party's image after the setbacks of...
The problem with Republicans - The Week Magazine
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush was accused of spitting on Ronald Reagan's grave for saying that Republicans need knew ideas -- he was just trying to lead his party out of “the kingdom of irrelevance.” There's nothing wrong with sticking with...
Limbaugh: Jeb and Romney “Hate” Palin - PoliGazette
Discussing the Republican listening tour conducted by Former Governors Jeb Bush (FL) and Mitt Romney (MA), and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said yesterday that they are “embarrassed” by Sarah Palin....

Jeb Bush

Seal of Florida

John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (born February 11, 1953) is an American politician and was the 43rd Governor of Florida. He is a prominent member of the Bush family: the younger brother of former President George W. Bush; the older brother of Neil Bush, Marvin Bush and Dorothy Bush Koch; and the second son of former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush.

Bush enrolled at Phillips Andover, a private boarding school in Massachusetts, already attended by his brother, George. Bush made the honor roll in his first semester.

When Bush was 17, he went to León, Guanajuato, in Mexico, as part of his school's student exchange program. He spent his time there teaching English, and it was there that he met his future wife, Columba Garnica Gallo.

Bush attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies in 1973, taking only two and a half years to complete his work, and obtaining generally excellent grades. He had considered a career in Hollywood, but decided instead to pursue politics. He registered for the draft, but the Vietnam War ended before his number came up.

After his early graduation, Bush married Columba Garnica Gallo, on February 23, 1974. Their three children are George P. Bush, Noelle Bush and John Ellis Bush, Jr. Their eldest son, George Prescott Bush (born April 24, 1976 in Texas), went to Gulliver Preparatory School, studied at Rice University, and earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas. Noelle Lucila Bush (born July 26, 1977 in Texas), their daughter and second child, studied at Tallahassee Community College, graduating in 2000. John Ellis "Jebby" Bush, Jr. (born December 13, 1983 in Miami, Florida), their youngest child, attended The Bolles School, a private boarding and day school in Jacksonville, and then the University of Texas.

Bush went to work in an entry level position in the international division of Texas Commerce Bank, a job he received through James Baker, a long time family friend and chairman of the board of Texas Commerce Bank. Bush assisted in drafting communications for the company's chairman, Ben Love.

In November 1977, he was sent to the Venezuelan capital of Caracas to open a new operation for the bank. Bush spent about two years there, working in international finance. He eventually worked for the bank's executive program.

His father ultimately lost the Republican nomination for President that year, but was chosen to be Ronald Reagan's running mate. That fall, George H.W. Bush was elected Vice President of the United States, and won reelection in 1984. In 1988, the elder Bush won both the Republican Party's presidential nomination and the election, becoming the nation's 41st president. In 1992 Bush's father was defeated for re-election by then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.

Following the 1980 presidential election, Bush and his family moved to Miami-Dade County, Florida. He took a job in real estate with Armando Codina, a 32-year-old Cuban immigrant and self-made American millionaire. Codina had made a fortune in a computer business, and then formed a new company, IntrAmerica Investments Inc., to pursue opportunities in real estate.

In 1981, his first year with Codina's new real estate venture, Bush earned $41,508. He soon became a valuable real estate salesman for Codina and helped him build a very successful property business in Florida.

During Bush's years in Miami, he was involved in many different entrepreneurial pursuits, including working for a mobile phone company, serving on the board of a Norwegian-owned company that sold fire equipment to the Alaska oil pipeline, becoming a minority owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, buying a shoe company that sold footwear in Panama, and getting involved in a scheme to sell water pumps in Nigeria.

Codina eventually made Bush his partner in a new development business, which quickly became one of South Florida's leading real estate development firms. As a partner, Bush received 40% of the firm's profits.

There have been several allegations of this, but Bush was never on the payroll of Cuban exile Miguel Recarey. Bush worked at locating office spaces for IMC and did so like every other licensed Realtor; commission based on final performance. Jeb was provided with a detailed list of specifications of what was wanted. This included acceptable locations, a range of size and price per square foot parameters. Jeb's search went on for several months and multiple locations that met the established criteria were actually found by Jeb. Each time, he was provided with a series of reasons why the particular site was not acceptable. In reality, Miguel Recarey was an extremely contradictory fellow, constantly changing his mind. The last property that Jeb Bush brought forth was a deal almost too good to be true: the building was in Coral Gables, right in the middle of the preferred location requested and square foot pricing was well below the going market rate. Miguel found himself in in a difficult predicament and decided to pay Jeb the $75,000 commission, not for purchase of political influence as so many are fond to accuse him of, but for 2 different reasons that don't appear in the maintream media: 1) Jeb had performed exactly as requested and he felt he had a legal liability to pay if so challenged. If so, he did not want to be embroiled in a legal fight with the son of an influential politician and be on the wrong side of the argument, 2) He felt he had a moral obligation to pay and had already run out of excuses of why the last property Jeb found would not be acceptable. Recarey, who ran International Medical Centres (IMC), employed Bush as a real estate consultant and paid him a $75,000 fee for finding the company a new location, although the move never took place. Bush did, however, lobby the Reagan/Bush administration vigorously and successfully on behalf of Recarey and IMC. "I want to be very wealthy," Jeb Bush told the Miami News when questioned during that period.

After narrowly losing a 1994 election for Governor of Florida against Lawton Chiles, Bush pursued policy and charitable interests. He started a non-profit organization called The Foundation For Florida’s Future, a think tank that stated as its mission influencing public policy at the grassroots level. Jeb met with Noel Serrano, a member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce in 1991. Noel states, "Jeb was always a dedicated Public Servant long before he became Governor" He also "volunteered time to assist the Miami Children's Hospital, the United Way of Dade County and the Dade County Homeless Trust".

Jeb Bush has also worked with The James Madison Institute, a free market public policy think tank based in Tallahassee, FL. He helped the institute in numerous ways and still has his think tank working in conjunction with it. In June 2008, Jeb's institute, the Foundation for Excellence in Education,partnered with JMI to hold a summit called "Excellence in Action: A National Summit on Education Reform".

In 1996, The Foundation For Florida’s Future published a book that Bush had co-written, Profiles in Character (ISBN 0-9650912-0-1), a clear parallel to John F. Kennedy's 1955 book Profiles in Courage. The foundation also published and distributed policy papers, such as "A New Lease on Learning: Florida's First Charter School", which Bush co-wrote. Bush subsequently wrote the foreword to another book, published by the conservative Heritage Foundation and written by Nina Shokraii Rees, School Choice 2000: What’s Happening in the States (ISBN 0-89195-089-3).

Bush co-founded the first charter school in the State of Florida: Liberty City Charter School, a grades K-6 elementary school. The school is situated in Liberty City, a Miami neighborhood that was the site, in 1980, of the first major race riot since the Civil Rights era. The school's co-founder, working alongside Bush, was T. Willard Fair, a well-known local black activist and head of the Greater Miami Urban League. The Liberty City Charter School still operates today as a charter school.

Additionally, Bush is an active rock climber, and a strong advocate for climber's rights.

Bush got his start in Florida politics as the Chairman of the Dade County Republican Party. Dade County played an important role in the 1986 election of Bob Martinez to the Governor's office. In return, Martinez appointed Bush as Florida's Secretary of Commerce. He served in that role in 1987 and 1988, before resigning once again to work on his father's presidential campaign. In 1989 he served as the campaign manager of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban-American to serve in Congress. He launched an unsuccessful bid for the Governor's office in 1994 against incumbent Democratic Governor Lawton Chiles. Bush lost the election by only 63,940 votes out of 4,206,076 that were cast for the major party candidates (2,135,008; 50.8% to 2,071,068; 49.2%).

In 1998, Bush defeated the Democratic opponent Lt. Governor Buddy MacKay by over 418,000 votes (2,191,105; 55.3% to 1,773,054; 44.7%) to become Governor of Florida, after courting the state's moderate voters and Hispanics. Simultaneously, his brother, George W. Bush won a landslide re-election victory for a second term as Governor of Texas, and the Bush brothers became the first siblings to govern two states at the same time since Nelson and Winthrop Rockefeller governed New York and Arkansas from 1967 to 1971. Bush is the first Republican governor of Florida to have served two full four-year terms.

Bush's administration was marked by a focus on public education reform. His "A+ Plan" mandated standardized testing in Florida's public schools, eliminated social promotion and established a system of funding public schools based on a statewide grading system using the FCAT test. Bush has been a proponent of school vouchers and charter schools, especially in areas of the state with failing public schools, although to date very few schools have received failing grades from the state. One program that has seen fruition is the Florida Virtual School, a distance-learning program that allows students in rural areas of the state to take Advanced Placement classes for college credit. However, his policies have also been driven by a firm refusal to raise taxes for education, which led Bush to oppose a ballot initiative to amend the Florida Constitution to cap growing school class sizes. Bush said he had "a couple of devious plans if this thing passes". Despite his opposition, the amendment passed; Bush's subsequent suggestions that the amendment be repealed have contributed to criticisms that he has failed to implement it in good faith. A similar concern about new expenditures has led to controversy over whether Florida has provided adequate resources to implement a subsequent voter-approved state constitutional amendment that requires a universal state-financed pre-Kindergarten program.

In higher education, Bush approved three new medical schools during his tenure and also put forth the "One Florida" proposal, an initiative that effectively ended affirmative action admissions programs at state universities. These moves were among the influencing concerns that led to the faculty of the University of Florida to deny Bush an honorary degree, whilst the University of Florida Alumni Association made him an honorary alumnus.

On May 2006, as part of an unprecedented $448.7-million line-item veto of state funding, Bush slashed a total of $5.8 million in grants to public libraries, pilot projects for library homework help and web-based high-school texts, and funding for a joint-use library in Tampa.

After months of controversy that included thousands of e-mails, petition signatures and hundreds of picketers at the State Capitol,the Florida House voted to ditch Bush's plan to give the biggest collection at the century-old State Library to Nova Southeastern University.

Bush signed legislation to protect the Everglades and opposed federal plans to drill for oil off the coast of Florida. In early October 2005, Bush attempted to strike a compromise with fellow Republicans that would allow offshore drilling in an area that stretches 125 miles off Florida's coastline and give the state legislature the power to permit drilling closer to the state's coastlines. The compromise was warmly received by some Florida Republicans and U.S. Congressmen, such as bill sponsor Richard Pombo, but has yet to be agreed upon; others including Republican U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, objected to any backtracking on the drilling moratorium. Jeb Bush is skeptical about man-made global warming.

Bush is pro-life. Bush is an advocate of the death penalty.

Bush was involved in the Terri Schiavo case, involving a woman with massive brain damage, who was on a feeding tube for over 15 years, and whose husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, wished to remove the tube. This move was opposed by Terry Schiavo's parents in the courts. Bush signed "Terri's Law," a law passed by the Florida legislature that permitted the Governor to keep Schiavo on life support. The law was ruled unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court on September 23, 2004. That decision was appealed to the federal courts. On January 24, 2005, however, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, thus allowing the Florida court's ruling to stand. Bush took heated criticism from conservatives who were disappointed that he did not take further action to prevent Schiavo from having her feeding tube removed.

Bush oversaw 21 executions as Governor (more than Graham, Martinez and Chiles while they were in office). Bush never agreed to commute any sentence.

Bush also presided over switching from electric chair (the only method of executions until 2000, now optional) to lethal injection, after a botched electrocution of Allen Lee Davis (first inmate executed under his administration and last, to date, electrocuted in Florida). After two previous botched executions (Jesse Tafero in 1990 and Pedro Medina in 1997) Governors Martinez and Chiles along with legislature declined to change methods.

While he is an advocate of capital punishment, Bush suspended all executions in Florida on December 15, 2006, after the execution of Ángel Nieves Díaz was seemingly botched. The execution took 37 minutes to complete, and required a second injection of the lethal chemicals.

Bush said one of the most important goals of his final two years as Governor was to secure the FTAA Secretariat for Miami.

Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan, a former fifth-grade teacher, principal, and superintendent, served only one term with Bush. After Brogan remarried, he opted not to serve a second term. Brogan was reelected to a second term in 2002 with Bush and then resigned in March 2003. He and his new wife moved to Boca Raton, where he serves as president of Florida Atlantic University. In Tallahassee, a museum was named in honor of Brogan's late wife, Mary, who died on June 27, 1999 of breast cancer and, like her husband, was a Florida school teacher.

Following Brogan's resignation, Bush appointed former Florida Senate President Toni Jennings, with whom he had occasionally disagreed in regards to public policy, as Lieutenant Governor.

As Governor, Bush served as the chairman of the Florida Cabinet, which provides collective governance over part of state government.

Bush was a member of the National Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association.

Before Bush's re-election, no Republican in Florida had ever been re-elected to serve a second term as the state's Governor. In addition, there was likely no precedent for any Governor to be branded by the opposition as its "Number One Target" for removal from office, as Bush was ranked in 2002. This was not merely a statewide effort to oust the Republican Governor, but a much-publicized goal of the DNC and its highest leadership during the 2002 election cycle.

Bush almost faced Janet Reno in the 2002 Florida Governor's race. However, a number of other Democratic candidates also wanted to become Florida's next Governor, including Bill McBride. A prominent litigator with Holland & Knight and a novice candidate, McBride was favored by national Democratic Party leaders in part because of his military background and perceived ability to attract Florida's more conservative voters.

In the ensuing Democratic primary contest (where only Democratic voters could vote, pursuant to state primary laws), circumstances surrounding McBride's victory outraged many voters in South Florida. Some voting venues – located in Reno's urban strongholds of Broward County and Dade County, and operated by Democrats elected as county election officials – reportedly opened hours late, and then ignored Bush's Executive Order, issued at Reno's request, to stay open later to accommodate all voters.

In the closely watched Florida Governor's race that attracted national attention, Bush was re-elected in November 2002, becoming the first Republican in the state's history to be re-elected as Governor. Bush defeated Democratic challenger Bill McBride with 56% to 43%, a greater margin of victory than in Bush's 1998 campaign for the Governor's office. Bush also increased the number of counties in his victory column, winning several Florida counties for the very first time.

Bush made Florida political history not only by becoming the first Republican Governor to ever win re-election in Florida, but also by being the first Florida Governor to select a woman, Toni Jennings, to serve as Florida's Lieutenant Governor. No woman had ever been appointed or elected to that high office in Florida's executive branch.

Bush is also the first Governor to hold office while having a brother simultaneously serve as President.

Due to term limits under state law, Bush was unable to seek a third term as Governor. Some speculated that Bush would run against Florida's current Democratic senator, Bill Nelson, in the 2006 U.S. Senate election, but he did not; the Republican candidate was Katherine Harris, who lost to Nelson.

Notwithstanding rumors, he did not run for president in the 2008 election.

Bush is popular among Cubans in Florida (winning 80 percent of the Cuban vote in 2002) and popular among non-Cuban Hispanics (56 percent in 2002, equaling the 56 percent he won statewide). As a longtime supporter of Israel, Bush also maintains a significant connection to Florida's Jewish voters. He was endorsed in his two winning Governor races by a national Jewish publication, and won 44 percent of the state's Jewish vote in the 2002 Governor's race. Many black voters support his focus on public education and parental choice in education, and a number of Black Republican clubs have risen in Florida. In his re-election in 2002, Bush surprised critics by winning the white female vote in the swing-voting battleground of Central Florida's I-4 corridor. Most recently, he has reached out extensively to Florida's Haitian community.

Bush's appeal to Florida's highly diverse group of voters, along with his success in expanding the so-called "big tent" of the Florida Republican Party, appear to have propelled him into a commanding political position. Nationwide, American conservatives appear to be positive about Bush, seeing him as committed to upholding core conservative principles.

Throughout his two administrations, Bush's office touted his record of non–discrimination and rewarding merit, claiming he employed highly qualified women, blacks and other minorities more often in top-level government positions than any previous Florida Governor.

Outside of Florida, fellow Republican leaders throughout the country have sought Bush's aid both on and off the campaign trail. Bush's out-of-state campaign visits include Kentucky, where Republican challenger Ernie Fletcher appeared with Bush and won that state's governorship in 2003, ending a 32-year streak of Democratic governors. In California, after Democratic Governor Gray Davis was ousted in a recall vote, Bush dispatched Florida's budget director to that state to lead an independent audit of California's budget, at the request of the state's newly elected Republican Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Bush has been active in the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century, whose stated goal is to promote American global leadership.

Since 2004, he has been serving a four-year term as a Board Member for the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB). Created by Congress, this board’s purpose is to establish policy on reports examining K-12 students’ academic progress in America’s public and private schools. In 2008, Bush will be serving on the NAGB educational committee focused on Standards, Design and Methodology.

In April 2007, Jeb Bush joined Tenet Healthcare's board of directors. The following August, Bush joined investment bank, Lehman Brothers, as an adviser in its private equity group.

In May 2006, AP reported that Bush was privately approached to become the next commissioner of the National Football League. This is said to be an interest of his, but it was unknown whether or not he would take the position. The former commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, announced that his tenure would soon be over and he is searching for replacements. "I'm flattered," Jeb Bush said May 24, 2006 of the NFL's interest, "but I'm Governor of the state of Florida and I intend to be Governor until I leave – which is January 2007. And I'm not going to consider any other options other than being Governor until I finish". Roger Goodell eventually became the new NFL commissioner.

In 2008, Bush indicated that he was considering running in the 2010 U.S. Senate race for the seat being vacated by Mel Martinez, who announced that he would retire at the end of his term. But in January 2009, he announced that he would not run for the Senate.

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Katherine Harris

Katherine Harris

Katherine "Kate" Harris (born April 5, 1957, Key West, Florida) is an American Republican politician, former Secretary of State of Florida, and former member of the United States House of Representatives. Harris won the 2002 election to represent Florida's 13th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. She held that post from 2003 to 2007. Harris lost the November 7, 2006, election to represent Florida in the United States Senate.

Harris rose to national attention due to her controversial role as Secretary of State of Florida during the 2000 presidential election.

Harris' family is one of Florida's wealthiest and most politically influential. Her father owned Citrus and Chemical Bank in Lakeland, Florida. Her grandfather was Ben Hill Griffin, Jr., a wealthy businessman in the citrus and cattle industries and a powerful figure in the state legislature, who, shortly before his death in 1990, was ranked as the 261st richest American on the Forbes 400 list. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida is named for him. Harris married Swedish businessman Anders Sven Axel Ebbeson (born March 16, 1945) in 1996 and has one stepdaughter, Louise.

Harris comes from a family that is active in Christian evangelism. Her grandfather was a Christian missionary in Africa, while her aunt and uncle were missionaries in India and now head the Arab World Missions. Harris studied under Dr. Francis Schaeffer at a L’Abris Fellowship International center. She says her faith is “the most important thing in my life.” Harris grew up in the Presbyterian Church in America (she has criticized the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for being "more liberal"). Currently she attends Calvary Chapel in Sarasota, Florida..

Harris graduated from Bartow High School in Bartow, Florida in 1975, and then attended the University of Madrid in 1978. Harris received a bachelor of arts degree in history from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia in 1979, and then studied under Christian theologian Francis Schaeffer at the L'Abri community in Huemoz, Switzerland, not far from Lausanne. While in college she was an intern for U.S. Representative Andy Ireland. Harris received a mid-career masters degree in public administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in 1997 with a concentration in international trade. Before entering politics, Harris was a marketing executive at IBM and a vice president of a commercial real estate firm.

Harris entered politics by winning election to the Florida Senate in 1994 in one of the most expensive state races in Florida history to date. Harris' political career was guided by Dan Berger, Adam Goodman, and Benjamin McKay, along with her campaign manager, David Lapides.

In the 1994 state senate election, Sarasota-based Riscorp, Inc. made illegal contributions totaling $400,000 to dozens of political candidates and committees, including $20,600 to the Harris campaign. Harris played a prominent role in introducing the CEO of Riscorp to various Florida legislators. Two years later, in 1996, Harris sponsored a bill "to block Riscorp competitors from getting a greater share of Florida workers' compensation market, also pushed a proposal that would hurt a particular competitor." This issue later emerged during her campaign for Florida Secretary of State in 1998. According to a SunHerald column from June, 2005, "Harris denied any knowledge of the scheme, was never charged with any crime and was cleared of wrongdoing by a state investigator." The CEO of Riscorp, William Griffin, eventually pled guilty to illegal campaign donations amongst allegations of other serious wrongdoing at Riscorp and served prison time in 1998. The election of Jeb Bush as governor of Florida was a major factor in stopping further investigation into the Riscorp scandal.

Harris was elected Florida Secretary of State in 1998, defeating then-incumbent Sandra Mortham. Her office played a leading role in the closely contested 2000 U.S. presidential election. Her SoS campaign was guided by Mark Reichelderfer, Trey Evers, Benjamin McKay, Adam Goodman and sometimes Dan Berger.

During her first 22 months in office, Harris spent more than $106,000 for travel, more than any cabinet officer or the governor. She visited eight countries on ten foreign trips, which included Iran, India, and the Netherlands.

In early 2001, Florida Senate leaders eliminated the $3.4 million that Harris had budgeted for international relations for the year, assigning it instead to Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development agency. But Florida House leader Tom Feeney said that he disagreed with the Senate and felt Harris was an able advocate to foreign countries. After the House refused to go along with the proposed budget action, the Senate agreed to restore the money but insisted on a review committee, appointed by Senate President John McKay, Feeney, and governor Jeb Bush, to evaluate all of Harris' expenditures on international affairs since July 1, 1999, and produce a report.

As Secretary of State for the State of Florida, Harris was a central figure in the 2000 US presidential election in Florida. Harris was integral in the purging of thousands of voters from registration roles, mainly blacks and other democractic leaning constituencies. Harris certified that the Republican candidate, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, had defeated the Democratic candidate, then-Vice President Al Gore, in the popular vote of Florida and thus certified the Republican slate of electors. The margin separating Bush from Gore was 537 votes. Harris ordered a halt after several recounts. Her ruling was challenged, and she prevailed in the first court of jurisdiction, and then overturned on appeal by the Florida Supreme Court.

That decision was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. In a per curiam decision, by a 7–2 vote, the Court in Bush v. Gore held that the Florida Supreme Court's method for recounting ballots was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. By a 5–4 vote, the Court held that no alternative method could be established within the time limits set by the State of Florida. Three of the concurring justices also asserted that the Florida Supreme Court had violated Article II, § 1, cl. 2 of the Constitution, by misinterpreting Florida election law that had been enacted by the Florida Legislature.

The decision allowed Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris's previous certification of George W. Bush as the winner of Florida's electoral votes to stand. Florida's 25 electoral votes gave Bush, the Republican candidate, 271 electoral votes, defeating Democratic candidate Al Gore, who ended up with 266 electoral votes (with one D.C. elector abstaining).

Harris later wrote Center of the Storm, her own memoir of the 2000 election controversy.

In 2002, Harris ran against Sarasota Attorney Jan Schneider for the congressional district vacated by retiring Republican Rep. Dan Miller, winning by 10 percentage points in this overwhelmingly Republican district.

Harris considered running for the seat of retiring Senator Bob Graham in 2004 but was reportedly dissuaded by the Bush White House to allow Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez to run for the open seat. Martinez went on to narrowly beat challenger Betty Castor. Harris ran for re-election to her House seat in 2004; she was re-elected with a margin four points lower than her previous showing.

In a 2004 speech in Venice, Florida, Harris claimed that a "Middle Eastern" man was arrested for attempting to blow up the power grid in Carmel, Indiana; Carmel Mayor James Brainard and a spokesman for Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan said they had no knowledge of such a plot. Brainard said he had never spoken to Harris.

During a 2004 campaign stop in Sarasota, a local resident, Barry Seltzer, "tr to 'intimidate' a group of Harris supporters" by menacing Harris and her supporters with his automobile. Witnesses described Seltzer as having swerved off the road and onto the sidewalk, directing it at Harris and her supporters. Nobody was injured in the incident. Seltzer, who claimed he was "exercising political expression," was eventually arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

In 2005 and 2006, Harris faced political controversy when a major corporate campaign donor, defense contractor MZM, Inc., was implicated in a bribery scandal that resulted in the criminal conviction and resignation of California congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham and conviction of MZM founder, Mitchell Wade. Wade bundled together $32,000 in contributions from employees of MZM, and reimbursed those employees for their contributions.

Regarding this issue, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein has recently said that Harris did not appear to know the donations were obtained illegally. Harris has maintained she had no personal knowledge that her campaign was given illegal contributions. For its part, Wade admitted that the donations to the Harris campaign were illegal and were part of an attempt to influence Harris to MZM's benefit.

Documents filed with Wade's plea say that he took Harris to dinner in March 2005, a year after the illegal contributions, where they discussed the possibility of another fundraiser and the possibility of getting funding for a Navy counterintelligence program in the member's district.

CQPolitics noted "Harris’ former political strategist, Ed Rollins, spoke on the record about the dinner and detailed a meal that cost $2,800, far in excess of the $50 limit on gifts that members of Congress are allowed to accept" at the Washington restaurant Citronelle. Wade and Harris discussed MZM's desire for a $10 million appropriation, and Wade offered to host a fundraiser for Harris' 2006 Senate campaign. Regarding the MZM contributions, the Sentinel article goes on to say "The Justice Department has said Wade, who personally handed many of the checks to Harris, did not tell Harris the contributions were illegal". Regarding the expensive meal, the article quotes Harris as saying that she personally had only a "beverage and appetizer" worth less than "$100". House rules prohibit accepting any gift worth $50 or more.

In May 2006, Harris' campaign spokesman Christopher Ingram acknowledged that she had also had a previous dinner with Wade in the same restaurant in March 2004, when the $32,000 in illegal donations had been given to her campaign. Ingram told the press that he did not know how much that meal cost, but that a charitable donation of an unknown amount had been given to a charity whose name he did not know, equivalent to her share of the meal. "She takes responsibility for the oversight that there was no reimbursement," he said.

Mona Tate Yost, an aide to Harris, left to work for MZM during the time Wade was pressing Harris to secure federal funding (April or May 2005).

On September 7, 2006, Federal investigators questioned Jim Dornan, who quit as Harris's campaign manager the previous November.

On June 7, 2005, with support from her new campaign advisors of Ed Rollins and Jim Dornan, Harris announced her candidacy for the 2006 Florida United States Senate election, challenging incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.

Both lackluster fundraising relative to Nelson and controversy over campaign contributions from MZM caused Harris to fall far behind in all polls by May 2006. Late in the primary race, Republican contender Will McBride polled only 31 points behind Nelson in a hypothetical election against him, while Harris polled 33 points behind Nelson in the same poll. However, Harris showed she was still popular among Republican voters by winning the September 5 primary over McBride and two other challengers with approximately 50% of the total vote.

Nelson defeated Harris by over one million votes; Harris polled less than 39% of the vote.

By late July 2006, she had gone through three campaign managers and her campaign was floundering. At that time, it was disclosed that state Republican Party leaders had told Harris they would not support her because she could not win in the general election.

Financial problems plagued her Senate campaign from the start. During the primary, it was clear that the incumbent Senator Nelson had a substantial financial advantage.

On the March 15, 2006 edition of Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, Harris pledged to spend $10 million of her own money, which she said was all of her inheritance, on her campaign. She also stated that her run is dedicated to the memory of her father.

Despite her promise, the $10 million never materialized. Reports surfaced that Harris would not actually receive the inheritance from her father, who instead left his entire estate to her mother. She donated $3 million to her campaign, but later took back $100,000, fueling speculation that she would be unable to donate the promised amount.

In October, Harris announced that she was trying to sell her house in Washington to raise money for her campaign, but the home was not publicly listed for sale and no sale was ever announced.

In late February 2006, in the midst of revelations surrounding Mitchell Wade's illegal contributions, Harris' campaign finance director and campaign treasurer both resigned.

In June, the Harris campaign received a legal bill for thousands of dollars that contained a reference to "DOJ subpoena". Later, an ex-aide told the Associated Press that Harris had received a grand jury subpoena from federal investigators, but kept it from her top advisers, prompting several staff members to quit when they found out.

On June 8, 2006, Harris' fourth chief of staff, Fred Asbell, left in order to pursue a "business opportunity". Asbell said he'd "greatly enjoyed" his time with the campaign and he would remain in a consultant position.

In late August, Harris lost another key staffer, Rhyan Metzler, in the wake of a disastrous political rally at Orlando Executive Airport. Only 40 people showed up for the event, and Harris blamed the paltry turnout in part on a last-minute change in location. She claimed that a tree fell on the hangar that was originally scheduled to hold the rally, forcing her campaign to switch to another hangar. Airport officials, however, stated that no trees had fallen, and that the event in fact took place in the hangar that Harris' campaign had originally booked. Harris' campaign blamed Metzler for the comments Harris made after the rally.

The Pensacola News Journal suggested that Harris might withdraw from the Senate race after winning a primary victory, thereby allowing the Republicans to nominate another candidate, such as Tom Gallagher, to run against Bill Nelson.

Katherine Harris has been dismissed by one Republican colleague as an "overbearing virago who should not have entered politics". She has lost significant support even among fellow Republicans, partly because of Bill Nelson's clear victory. However, Harris still maintains considerable support among the Republican Floridian Jewish community. In August, Katherine Harris touted political endorsements from fellow Republican lawmakers on her campaign web site. However, some of those cited claim that they never endorsed her. This conflict resulted in several Republican congressmen calling the Harris campaign to complain after the St. Petersburg Times notified them of the endorsements listed on Harris' Web site. A short time later, their names were removed without comment from Harris' Web site.

Of Harris' three primary opponents, only Will McBride endorsed her candidacy for the general election. In the first few days after the primary, a number of Republican nominees such as Charlie Crist and Tom Lee went on a statewide unity tour with Gov. Bush. Harris was not invited; Republicans said the tour was only for nominees to statewide offices. Harris claimed Bush would campaign with her sometime in the two months before the election, but the governor's office denied this.

President Bush did not make public appearances or private meetings with Harris before the primary. He did, however, appear with her at a fundraiser on September 21 in Tampa.

All 22 of Florida's daily newspapers endorsed Nelson.

Harris was a headline speaker at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church's "Reclaiming America for Christ" conference held in Ft. Lauderdale on March 17–18, 2006. The conference web site invited attendees to attend in order to "reclaim this nation for Christ." The stated mission of is "To inform, equip, motivate, and support Christians; enabling them to defend and implement the Biblical principles on which our country was founded." As part of her speech, Harris urged conferees to "win back America for God." Her appearance was noted in a Rolling Stone article covering the conference.

Harris then went on and called for Jews to be converted to Christianity.

Vern Buchanan was the Republican nominee and Christine Jennings the Democratic nominee to replace Harris in the 2006 election. The race had been ranked as "leaning Democratic" by CQ Politics, but Buchanan scored a very narrow victory, winning the election by a few hundred votes.

Katherine Harris was the subject of some popular skits on Saturday Night Live; she was also portrayed by actress Laura Dern in the 2008 film Recount which won her a Golden Globe for the role.

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Lawton Chiles

Pair of Lawton Chiles' walking shoes on display at the Florida State Capitol.

Lawton Mainor Chiles, Jr. (April 3, 1930 – December 12, 1998) was an American politician from the U.S. state of Florida. In a career spanning four decades, Chiles, a Democrat who never lost an election, served in the Florida House of Representatives (1958-1966), the Florida State Senate (1966-1970), the United States Senate (1971-1989), and as the forty-first Governor of Florida from 1991 until his death in office in the last month of his term. He was the first Democratic Governor in state history to have a Republican-controlled legislature.

Chiles was born in Polk County, Florida near Lakeland. There he attended public school, then went on to the University of Florida. At UF, Chiles was active in student politics, inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame (the most prestigious honor a student can receive at UF) and inducted into Florida Blue Key. He was also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He graduated in 1952. Following his college years he went to Korea as an artillery officer in the US Army. After the war, Chiles returned to the University of Florida for law school, graduating in 1955; he passed the state bar exam that year and went into practice in Lakeland. He was married to Rhea Chiles.

In 1958, Chiles, a Democrat, was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. He served there until 1966, when he was elected to a seat in the state senate, which he held until 1970. While serving in the state senate, Chiles served on the 1968 Florida Law Revision Commission. During his time in the state legislature, Chiles continued to work as a lawyer and developer back home in Lakeland. He was one of the initial investors in the Red Lobster restaurant chain.

In 1970, Chiles decided to run for a seat in the United States Senate. At the time, despite his 12 years in the state legislature, he was largely unknown outside his Lakeland-based district. To generate some media coverage across the state, Chiles embarked upon a 1,003-mile, 91-day walk across Florida from Pensacola to Key West. The walk earned him the recognition he sought, as well as the nickname that would follow him throughout his political career – "Walkin' Lawton". In his journal Chiles wrote that sometimes he walked alone, while other times he met ordinary Floridians along the way. In later years, Chiles would recall the walk allowed him to see Florida's natural beauty, as well as the state's problems, with fresh eyes. After the walk, Chiles was elected easily.

Chiles was re-elected to the U.S. Senate twice, in 1976 and 1982. Chiles, never flashy, was considered a moderate lawmaker who rarely made waves. He served as the Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging of the 96th Congress (1979-1981), and in the 100th Congress (1987-1989) served as chairman of the influential Senate Budget Committee. While heading the Budget Committee, he played a key role in the 1987 revision of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act.

Chiles underwent quadruple-bypass heart surgery in 1985. After his recovery, he became increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of work in the Senate, complaining that it was too difficult to get anything done. He announced in 1988 that he would not seek re-election that year. Chiles was succeeded by Republican Connie Mack.

After the surgery, Chiles developed clinical depression, and was treated with Prozac. He retired from the Senate in 1989 and intended to retire from politics entirely. However, several supporters convinced him to enter the 1990 Florida Governor's race against Republican incumbent Bob Martinez. During the Democratic Party primary, his opponent Bill Nelson attempted to make an issue of Chiles' age and health, a strategy that backfired badly in a state with a large retiree population.

Chiles ran a campaign to "reinvent" the state's government, and defeated Martinez to take office in 1991. During his first term as Governor, Chiles managed to accomplish very little. Although he developed ambitious health-care and tax reform packages, neither passed in the hostile state legislature. The early years of his term were troubled by a national economic recession that severely damaged Florida's tourism-based economy, and by Hurricane Andrew, which struck near Homestead in August, 1992.

Shortly before election day of that year, the third and final debate of the campaign was held at prime-television time when most statewide polls showed that contest as too-close-too-call. As recounted in "Southern Politics in the 1990s" "Moderator Tim Russert of NBC's Meet the Press raised the death-penalty issue early in the confrontation, asking Bush to justify running the advertisement. Bush attempted to make his case by implying that Chiles was "liberal on crime" and hadn't yet acted on ten other death warrants. Chiles seemed barely able to contain himself when it was his turn. His voice was filled with a cold fury as he stared at his opponent and said, "All my political life I have supported the death penalty; as governor I have executed eight men. I hold the phone as they walk into the death chamber. I give the last command as they pull the switch." As Bush stood mute, Chiles wagged a finger and chided (him) for airing the ad at all: "You knew it was false. You admitted it was false. You admitted it was a fake," he said. "And I am ashamed that you would use the loss of a mother in an ad like this." (Jeb) who seemed flustered by the force of Chiles' words, never gained the offensive." And towards the end of that debate, Chiles was in full control of the flow. Chiles responded to a reporter's inquiry about his floundering campaign with the line about "the old he-coon walks just before the light of day," an old Southern reference to the oldest and wisest raccoon in a pack. The metaphor, which won over many who understood it, pointed up Bush's status as a political novice who was largely pre-scripted; Chiles came from behind to win a narrow victory in the election, celebrating his victory on election night wearing a coonskin cap on his head. . Bush seemed to learn his lesson from that campaign and ran a much more caring, compassionate, campaign four years later and was elected and re-elected Governor of Florida easily in 2002 and the Republicans comfortably retained control of the governorship in the troubled election year of 2006.

Chiles' second term as Governor was notable as the first time in state history that a Democratic Governor had a legislature controlled by the Republican Party. Despite the hostile environment, he had some successes, including a successful law suit he and state Attorney General Bob Butterworth filed against the tobacco industry, which resulted in an $11.3 billion settlement for the state. He also won approval for a $2.7 billion statewide school construction program.

In 1995 Chiles sought treatment for a neurological problem, after he awoke with nausea, slurred speech, and loss of coordination. He recovered fully.

Being term-limited and with his second term coming to an end, Chiles supported his Lieutenant Governor, Kenneth H. "Buddy" MacKay, for Governor in 1998 against Jeb Bush. Bush, however, scored an easy victory over MacKay, whose campaign suffered from weak fundraising and a split in the Democratic Party that neither MacKay nor Chiles was able to heal by election day. On December 12 that year, just three weeks before his long-awaited retirement was to begin, Chiles suffered a fatal heart attack while exercising on a cycling machine in the Governor's mansion gymnasium. Funeral services were held at Faith Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, following a funeral procession that traced part of his walk from the 1970 Senate campaign, from the panhandle town of Century to Tallahassee. He was succeeded in office by MacKay, who served until Bush's term of office began on January 5, 1999.

As Governor Chiles strongly supported the death penalty and presided over 18 executions. He oversaw the first female execution in Florida since 1848. During this time the electric chair was only method of execution allowed in the state. After the botched electrocution of Pedro Medina in 1997 many people urged the Governor and legislature to introduce lethal injection as a "more humane" method. But soon Chiles signed a bill to keep the electric chair and faced strong criticism. Lethal injection was introduced under Bush's administration in 1999 after the botched execution of Allen Lee Davis.

Chiles was known as a health care and children's advocate throughout his career. He emphasized health coverage for the uninsured and led a campaign to create the National Commission for Prevention of Infant Mortality in the late 1980s. In 1994 he fought for the creation of regional health care alliances throughout the state, which allow small businesses to pool their health care dollars and broaden coverage while saving money. He also created the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.

In 1992, Chiles created the Florida Healthy Start program to provide a comprehensive prenatal and infant care program available to all pregnant women and infants across the state; since the program's inception the state's infant mortality rate has dropped 18%. In 1996, Chiles appointed a Governor's Commission on Education to examine the state's school system. One of the significant recommendations that came from that commission eventually led to the highly controversial 2002 state constitutional amendment restricting Florida's school class sizes.

Perhaps his greatest legacy was his impact on the Florida Supreme Court, where his appointments continued to have a major impact on state and national events long after Chiles' death. Chiles appointed Justice Major B. Harding in 1991, Justice Charles T. Wells in 1994, Justice Harry Lee Anstead in 1994, Justice Barbara J. Pariente in 1997, and Justice R. Fred Lewis in 1998. Chiles and incoming Gov. Jeb Bush jointly appointed Justice Peggy A. Quince in 1998 just a few days before Chiles' death. Quince was jointly appointed because her term as Justice would begin the exact moment that Bush's first term as Governor began, so there was a legal question which Governor had the authority to appoint her. Bush and Chiles agreed to make a joint appointment to avoid a lawsuit over the question.

Chiles' niece is US Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina, a Democrat elected in 2008. Hagan is the daughter of Chiles' sister Jeannette.

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George H. W. Bush

George H. W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) served as the 41st President of the United States from 1989 to 1993. Bush held a variety of political positions prior to his presidency, including Vice President of the United States in the administration of Ronald Reagan (1981–1989) and Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) under Gerald R. Ford.

Bush was born in Massachusetts to Senator Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush. Following the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941, at the age of 18, Bush postponed going to college and became the youngest naval aviator in the US Navy at the time. He served until the end of the war, then attended Yale University. Graduating in 1948, he moved his family to West Texas and entered the oil business, becoming a millionaire by the age of 40.

He became involved in politics soon after founding his own oil company, serving as a member of the House of Representatives, among other positions. He ran unsuccessfully for president of the United States in 1980, but was chosen by party nominee Ronald Reagan to be the vice presidential nominee; the two were subsequently elected. During his tenure, Bush headed administration task forces on deregulation and fighting drug abuse.

In 1988, Bush launched a successful campaign to succeed Reagan as president, defeating Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis. Foreign policy drove the Bush presidency; operations were conducted in Panama and the Persian Gulf at a time of world change; the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union dissolved two years later. Domestically, Bush reneged on a 1988 campaign promise and after a struggle with Congress, signed an increase in taxes that Congress had passed. In the wake of economic concerns, he lost the 1992 presidential election to Democrat Bill Clinton.

Bush is the father of George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, and Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida. He was the last World War II veteran to serve as U.S. president, and the last president to have fought in a war before being elected.

George Herbert Walker Bush was born at 173 Adams Street in Milton, Massachusetts on June 12, 1924. The Bush family moved from Milton to Greenwich, Connecticut shortly after his birth.

Bush began his formal education at the Greenwich Country Day School in Greenwich. Beginning in 1936, he attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where he held a large number of leadership positions including being the president of the senior class and secretary of the student council, president of the community fund-raising group, a member of the editorial board of the school newspaper, and captain of both the varsity baseball and soccer teams.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Bush decided to join the US Navy, so after graduating from Phillips Academy earlier in 1942, he became a naval aviator at the age of 18. After completing the 10-month course, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve at Corpus Christi, Texas on June 9, 1943, just three days before his 19th birthday, which made him the youngest naval aviator to that date.

He was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51) as the photographic officer in September 1943. The following year, his squadron was based on the USS San Jacinto as a member of Air Group 51, where his lanky physique earned him the nickname 'Skin'. During this time, the task force was victorious in one of the largest air battles of World War II: the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

After Bush's promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade on August 1, the San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. Bush piloted one of four Grumman TBM Avenger aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chichijima. His crew for the mission, which occurred on September 2, 1944, included Radioman Second Class John Delaney and Lieutenant Junior Grade William White. During their attack, the Avengers encountered intense anti-aircraft fire; Bush's aircraft was hit by flak and his engine caught on fire. Despite his plane being on fire, Bush completed his attack and released bombs over his target, scoring several damaging hits. With his engine afire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft; the other man's parachute did not open. It has not been determined which man bailed out with Bush as both Delaney and White were killed as a result of the battle. Bush waited for four hours in an inflated raft, while several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine USS Finback. For the next month he remained on the Finback, and participated in the rescue of other pilots.

Bush subsequently returned to San Jacinto in November 1944 and participated in operations in the Philippines until his squadron was replaced and sent home to the United States. Through 1944, he flew 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to San Jacinto.

Because of his valuable combat experience, Bush was reassigned to Norfolk Navy Base and put in a training wing for new torpedo pilots. He was later assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, Vermont-153. Upon the Japanese surrender in 1945, Bush was honorably discharged in September of that year.

George Bush married Barbara Pierce on January 6, 1945, only weeks after his return from the war. Their marriage produced six children: George Walker Bush (born 1946), Pauline Robinson Bush ("Robin", 1949–1953, died of leukemia), John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (born 1953), Neil Mallon Bush (born 1955), Marvin Pierce Bush (born 1956), and Dorothy Bush Koch (born 1959).

Bush had been accepted to Yale University prior to his enlistment in the military, but decided to fight in World War II instead of going to college. He took up the offer after his discharge and marriage, however. While at Yale, he was enrolled in an accelerated program that allowed him to graduate in two and a half years, rather than four. He was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and was elected president. He also captained the Yale baseball team, and as a left-handed first baseman, played in the first two College World Series. As the team captain, Bush met Babe Ruth before a game during his senior year. Late in his junior year he was, like his father Prescott Bush (1917), initiated into the Skull and Bones secret society. He graduated as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa from Yale in 1948 with a Bachelor's degree in economics.

After graduating from Yale, Bush moved his family to West Texas. His father's business connections proved useful when he ventured into the oil business, starting as a sales clerk with Dresser Industries, a subsidiary of Brown Brothers Harriman. His father had served on the board of directors there for 22 years. Bush started the Bush-Overby Oil Development company in 1951 and co-founded the Zapata Petroleum Corporation, an oil company which drilled in the Permian Basin in Texas, two years later. He was named president of the Zapata Offshore Company, a subsidiary which specialized in offshore drilling, in 1954. The subsidiary became independent in 1958, so Bush moved the company from Midland, Texas to Houston. He continued serving as president of the company until 1964, and later chairman until 1966, but his ambitions turned political. By that time, Bush had become a millionaire.

Bush served as Chairman of the Republican Party for Harris County, Texas in 1964, but wanted to be more involved in policy making, so he set his stakes high: he aimed for a US Senate seat from Texas. After winning the Republican primary, Bush faced his opponent, incumbent Democrat Ralph Yarborough. Yarborough attacked Bush as a right-wing extremist, and Bush lost the general election.

Bush did not give up on elective politics and was elected in 1966 to a House of Representatives seat from the 7th District of Texas, defeating Democrat Frank Briscoe with 57% of the vote; he became the first Republican to represent Houston. His voting record in the House was generally conservative: Bush opposed the public accommodations contention in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and supported open-housing legislation, something generally unpopular in his district. He supported the Nixon administration's Vietnam policies, but broke with Republicans on the issue of birth control. Despite being a first-term congressman, Bush was appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, where he voted to abolish the military draft. He was elected to a second term in 1968.

In 1970, Nixon convinced Bush to relinquish his House seat to again run for the Senate against Ralph Yarborough, a fierce Nixon critic. In the Republican primary, Bush easily defeated conservative Robert J. Morris, by a margin of 87.6 percent to 12.4 percent. However, former Congressman Lloyd Bentsen, a more moderate Democrat and native of Mission, Texas, defeated Yarborough in the Democratic primary. Yarborough then endorsed Bentsen, who defeated Bush 54 percent to 43 percent.

Following his 1970 loss, Bush was well known as a prominent Republican businessman from the "Sun Belt", a group of states in the Southern part of the country. Nixon noticed and appreciated the sacrifice Bush had made of his Congressional position, so he appointed him Ambassador to the United Nations. He was confirmed unanimously by the Senate, and served for two years, beginning in 1971.

Gerald Ford, Nixon's successor, appointed Bush to be Chief of the US Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China. Since the United States at the time maintained official relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan and not the People's Republic of China, the Liaison Office did not have the official status of an embassy and Bush did not formally hold the position of "ambassador", though he unofficially acted as one. The time that he spent in China — 14 months — were seen as largely beneficial for US-Chinese relations.

After Ford's accession to the presidency, Bush was under serious consideration for being nominated as Vice President. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona declined to be considered and endorsed Bush, who, along with his supporters, reportedly mounted an internal campaign to get a nomination. Ford eventually narrowed his list to Nelson Rockefeller and Bush. However, White House Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld reportedly preferred Rockefeller over Bush. Rockefeller was finally named and confirmed.

In 1976, Ford brought Bush back to Washington to become Director of Central Intelligence. He served in this role for 355 days, from January 30, 1976 to January 20, 1977. The CIA had been rocked by a series of revelations, including those based on investigations by Senator Frank Church's Committee regarding illegal and unauthorized activities by the CIA, and Bush was credited with helping to restore the agency's morale. In his capacity as DCI, Bush gave national security briefings to Jimmy Carter both as a Presidential candidate and as President-elect, and discussed the possibility of remaining in that position in a Carter administration but it was not to be.

After a Democratic administration took power in 1977, Bush became chairman on the Executive Committee of the First International Bank in Houston. He later spent a year as a part-time professor of Administrative Science at Rice University in the Jones School of Business beginning in 1978, the year it opened; Bush said of his time there, "I loved my brief time in the world of academia." Between 1977 and 1979, he was a director of the Council on Foreign Relations foreign policy organization.

Bush had decided in the late 1970s that he was going to run for president in 1980; in 1979, he attended 850 political events and traveled more than 250,000 miles (400,000 km) to campaign for the nation's highest office. In the contest for the Republican Party nomination, Bush stressed his wide range of government experience, while competing against rivals Howard Baker, Bob Dole, John Anderson (who would later run as an independent), Phil Crane, John Connally, and the front-runner Ronald Reagan, former actor and Governor of California.

In the primary election, Bush focused almost entirely on the Iowa caucuses, while Reagan ran a more traditional campaign. Bush represented the centrist wing in the GOP, whereas Reagan represented conservatives. Bush famously labeled Reagan's supply side-influenced plans for massive tax cuts "voodoo economics." His strategy proved useful, to some degree, as he won in Iowa with 31.5 percent to Reagan's 29.4 percent. After the win, Bush stated that his campaign was full of momentum, or "Big Mo". As a result of the loss, Reagan replaced his campaign manager, reorganized his staff, and concentrated on the New Hampshire primary. The two men agreed to a debate in the state, organized by the Nashua Telegraph, but paid for by the Reagan campaign. Reagan invited the other four candidates as well, but Bush refused to debate them, and eventually they left. The debate proved to be a pivotal moment in the campaign; when the moderator, John Breene, ordered Reagan's microphone turned off, his angry response, "I am paying for this microphone Mr. Greene" , struck a chord with the public. Bush ended up losing New Hampshire's primary with 23 percent to Reagan's 50 percent. Bush lost most of the remaining primaries as well, and formally dropped out of the race in May of that year.

With his political future seeming dismal, Bush sold his house in Houston and bought his grandfather's estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, known as "Walker's Point." At the Republican Convention, however, Reagan selected Bush as his Vice Presidential nominee, placing him on the winning Republican presidential ticket of 1980.

As Vice President, Bush generally took on a low-profile while recognizing the constitutional limits of the office; he avoided decision-making or criticizing Reagan in any way. As had become customary, he and his wife moved into the Vice President's residence at Number One Observatory Circle, about two miles from the White House. The Bushes attended a large number of public and ceremonial events in their positions, including many state funerals, which became a common joke for comedians. Mrs. Bush found the funerals largely beneficial, saying, "George met with many current or future heads of state at the funerals he attended, enabling him to forge personal relationships that were important to President Reagan." As the President of the Senate, Bush stayed in contact with members of Congress, and kept the president informed on occurrences on Capitol Hill.

On March 30, 1981, early into the administration, Reagan was shot and seriously wounded in Washington, D.C. Bush, second in command by the presidential line of succession, was in Dallas, Texas and flew back to Washington immediately. Reagan's cabinet convened in the White House Situation Room, where they discussed various issues, including the availability of the Nuclear Football. When Bush's plane landed, his aides advised him to proceed directly to the White House by helicopter, as an image of the government still functioning despite the attack. Bush rejected the idea, responding, "only the president lands on the South Lawn." This made a positive impression on Reagan, who recovered and returned to work within two weeks. From then on, the two men would have regular Thursday lunches in the Oval Office.

In his position, Bush chaired a special task force on deregulation, reviewing hundreds of rules and making specific recommendations on which ones to amend or revise, in order to curb the size of the federal government. The Reagan administration introduced new policies in the War on Drugs, and Bush was part of this by heading another task force, this one on international drug smuggling and federal efforts to stop the spread of drugs from entering the US. Both were popular issues with conservatives, and Bush, largely a moderate, began courting them through his work.

Reagan and Bush ran for reelection in 1984. The Democratic opponent, Walter Mondale, made history by choosing a woman as his running mate, New York Representative Geraldine Ferraro. She and Bush squared off in a single televised Vice Presidential debate. Serving as a contrast to the Ivy-League educated Bush, Ferraro represented a "blue-collar" district in Queens, New York; this, coupled with her popularity among female journalists, left Bush at a disadvantage. However, the Reagan-Bush ticket won in a landslide against the Mondale-Ferraro ticket.

Early into his second term as Vice President, Bush and his aides were planning a run for the presidency in 1988. By the end of 1985, a committee had been established and over two million dollars raised for Bush. Bush became the first Vice President to become Acting President when, on July 13, 1985, Reagan underwent surgery to remove polyps from his colon. Bush served as Acting President for approximately eight hours.

The administration was shaken by a scandal in 1986, when it was revealed that administration officials had secretly arranged weapon sales to Iran, and had used the proceeds to fund the anticommunist Contras in Nicaragua, a direct violation of the law. When the Iran-Contra Affair, as it became known, broke to the media, Bush, like Reagan, stated that he had been "out of the loop" and unaware of the diversion of funds, although this was later questioned. Public opinion polls taken at the time indicated that the public questioned Bush's explanation of being an "innocent bystander" while the trades were occurring; this led to the notion that he was a "wimp". However, his fury during an interview with CBS' Dan Rather largely put the "wimp" issue to rest.

Bush had been planning a presidential run since as early as 1985, and entered the Republican primary for President of the United States in October 1987. His challengers for the Republican presidential nomination included US Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, US Representative Jack Kemp of New York, former Governor Pete DuPont of Delaware, and conservative Christian televangelist Pat Robertson.

Though considered the early frontrunner for the nomination, Bush came in third in the Iowa caucus, behind winner Dole and runner-up Robertson. Much like Reagan did in 1980, Bush reorganized his staff and concentrated on the New Hampshire primary. With Dole ahead in New Hampshire, Bush ran television commercials portraying the senator as a tax raiser; he rebounded to win the state's primary. Bush continued seeing victory, winning many Southern primaries as well. Once the multiple-state primaries such as Super Tuesday began, Bush's organizational strength and fundraising lead were impossible for the other candidates to match, and the nomination was his.

Leading up to the 1988 Republican National Convention, there was much speculation as to Bush's choice of running mate. Bush chose little-known US Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana, favored by conservatives. Despite Reagan's popularity, Bush trailed Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis, then Governor of Massachusetts, in most polls.

Bush, occasionally criticized for his lack of eloquence when compared to Reagan, delivered a well-received speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention. Known as the "thousand points of light" speech, this described Bush's vision of America: he endorsed the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer in schools, capital punishment, gun rights, and his opposition to abortion. The speech at the convention included Bush's famous pledge: "Read my lips: no new taxes".

The general election campaign between the two men has been described as one of the nastiest in modern times. Bush blamed Dukakis for polluting the Boston Harbor as the Massachusetts governor. Bush also pointed out that Dukakis was opposed to the law that would require all students to say the Pledge of Allegiance, a topic well covered in Bush's nomination acceptance speech.

Bush defeated Dukakis and his running mate, Lloyd Bentsen, in the Electoral College, by 426 to 111 (Bentsen received one vote from a faithless elector). In the nationwide popular vote, Bush took 53.4 percent of the ballots cast while Dukakis received 45.6 percent. Bush became the first serving Vice President to be elected President since Martin Van Buren in 1836.

As Vice President, Bush officially opened the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.

Bush was inaugurated on January 20, 1989, succeeding Ronald Reagan. He entered office at a period of change in the world; the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Union came early in his presidency. He ordered military operations in Panama and the Persian Gulf and, at one point, was recorded as having a record-high approval rating of 89 percent. However, economic recession and breaking his "no new taxes" pledge caused a sharp decline in his approval rating, and Bush was defeated in the 1992 election.

Early in his term, Bush faced the problem of what to do with leftover deficits spawned by the Reagan years. At $220 billion in 1990, the deficit had grown to three times its size since 1980. Bush was dedicated to curbing the deficit, believing that America could not continue to be a leader in the world without doing so. He began an effort to persuade the Democratic controlled Congress to act on the budget; with Republicans believing that the best way was to cut government spending, and Democrats convinced that the only way would be to raise taxes, Bush faced problems when it came to consensus building.

In the wake of a struggle with Congress, Bush was forced by the Democratic majority to raise tax revenues; as a result, many Republicans felt betrayed because Bush had promised "no new taxes" in his 1988 campaign. Perceiving a means of revenge, Republican congressmen defeated Bush's proposal which would enact spending cuts and tax increases that would reduce the deficit by $500 billion over five years. Scrambling, Bush accepted the Democrats' demands for higher taxes and more spending, which alienated him from Republicans and gave way to a sharp decrease in popularity. Bush would later say that he wished he had never signed the bill. Near the end of the 101st Congress, the president and congressional members reached a compromise on a budget package that increased the marginal tax rate and phased out exemptions for high-income taxpayers. Despite demands for a reduction in the capital gains tax, Bush relented on this issue as well. This agreement with the Democratic leadership in Congress proved to be a turning point in the Bush presidency; his popularity among Republicans never fully recovered.

Coming at around the same time as the budget deal, America entered into a mild recession, lasting for six months. Many government programs, such as welfare, increased. As the unemployment rate edged upward in 1991, Bush signed a bill providing additional benefits for unemployed workers. 1991 was marked by many corporate reorganizations, which laid off a substantial number of workers. Many now unemployed were Republicans and independents, who had believed that their jobs were secure.

By his second year in office, Bush was told by his economic advisors to stop dealing with the economy, as they believed that he had done everything necessary to ensure his reelection. By 1992, interest and inflation rates were the lowest in years, but by midyear the unemployment rate reached 7.8 percent, the highest since 1984. In September 1992, the Census Bureau reported that 14.2 percent of all Americans lived in poverty. At a press conference in 1990, Bush told reporters that he found foreign policy more enjoyable.

Bush signed a number of major laws in his presidency, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; this was one of the most pro-civil rights bills in decades. He worked to increase federal spending for education, childcare, and advanced technology research. In dealing with the environment, Bush reauthorized the Clean Air Act, requiring cleaner burning fuels. He quarreled with Congress over an eventually signed bill to aid police in capturing criminals, and signed into law a measure to improve the nation's highway system.

In addition to his two Supreme Court appointments, Bush appointed 42 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals, and 148 judges to the United States district courts. Bush also experienced a number of judicial appointment controversies, as 11 nominees for 10 federal appellate judgeships were not processed by the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee.

In the 1980s, Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, a once US-supportive leader who was later accused of spying for Fidel Castro and using Panama to traffic drugs into the US, was one of the most recognizable names in the United States, being constantly covered by the press. The struggle to remove him from power began in the Reagan administration, when economic sanctions were imposed on the country; this included prohibiting US companies and government from making payments to Panama and freezing $56 million in Panamanian funds in US banks. Reagan sent more than 2,000 US troops to Panama as well. Unlike Reagan, Bush was able to remove Noriega from power, but his administration's unsuccessful post-invasion planning hindered the needs of Panama during the establishment of the young democratic government.

In May 1989, Panama held democratic elections, in which Guillermo Endara was elected president; the results were then annuled by Noriega's government. In response, Bush sent 2,000 more troops to the country, where they began conducting regular military exercises in Panamanian territory (in violation of prior treaties). Bush then removed an embassy and ambassador from the country, and dispatched additional troops to Panama to prepare the way for an upcoming invasion. Noriega suppressed an October military coup attempt and massive protests in Panama against him, but after a US serviceman was shot by Panamanian forces in December 1989, Bush ordered 24,000 troops into the country with an objective of removing Noriega from power; "Operation Just Cause" was a large-scale American military operation, and the first in more than 40 years that was not Cold War related.

The mission was controversial, but American forces achieved control of the country and Endara assumed the Presidency. Noriega surrendered to the US and was convicted and imprisoned on racketeering and drug trafficking charges in April 1992. President Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush visited Panama in June 1992, to give support to the first post-invasion Panamanian government.

On August 1, 1990, Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, invaded its oil-rich neighbor to the south, Kuwait; Bush condemned the invasion and began rallying opposition to Iraq in the US and among European, Asian, and Middle Eastern allies. Secretary of Defense Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Fahd; Fahd requested US military aid in the matter, fearing a possible invasion of his country as well. The request was met initially with Air Force fighter jets. Iraq made attempts to negotiate with Bush through a deal that would allow the country to take control of half of Kuwait. Bush rejected this proposal and insisted on a complete withdrawal of Iraqi forces. The planning of a ground operation by US-led coalition forces began forming in September 1990, headed by General Norman Schwarzkopf. Bush spoke before a joint session of the US Congress regarding the authorization of air and land attacks, laying out four immediate objectives: "Iraq must withdraw from Kuwait completely, immediately, and without condition. Kuwait's legitimate government must be restored. The security and stability of the Persian Gulf must be assured. And American citizens abroad must be protected." He then outlined a fifth, long-term objective: "Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective — a new world order — can emerge: a new era — freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can prosper and live in harmony A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. A world in which nations recognize the shared responsibility for freedom and justice. A world where the strong respect the rights of the weak." With the United Nations Security Council opposed to Iraq's violence, Congress authorized the use of military force, with a set goal of returning control of Kuwait to the Kuwaiti government, and protecting America's interests abroad.

Bush's approval ratings skyrocketed after the successful offensive. Additionally, President Bush and Secretary of State Baker felt the coalition victory had increased U.S. prestige abroad and believed there was a window of opportunity to use the political capital generated by the coalition victory to revitalize the Arab-Israeli peace process. The administration immediately returned to Arab-Israeli peacemaking following the end of the Gulf War; this resulted in the Madrid Conference, later in 1991.

In 1989, just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bush met with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in a conference at the Mediterranean island of Malta. The administration had been under intense pressure to meet with the Soviets, but not all initially found the Malta summit to be a step in the right direction; General Brent Scowcroft, among others, was apprehensive about the meeting, saying that it might be "premature" due to concerns where, according to Dr. Condoleezza Rice, "expectations set that something was going to happen, where the Soviets might grandstand and force into agreements that would ultimately not be good for the United States." But European leaders, including François Mitterrand and Margaret Thatcher, encouraged Bush to meet with Gorbachev, something that he did between December 2 and 3, 1989. Though no agreements were signed, the meeting was viewed largely as being an important one; when asked about nuclear war, Gorbachev responded, "I assured the President of the United States that the Soviet Union would never start a hot war against the United States of America. And we would like our relations to develop in such a way that they would open greater possibilities for cooperation... This is just the beginning. We are just at the very beginning of our road, long road to a long-lasting, peaceful period." The meeting was received as a very important step to the end of the Cold War.

Another summit was held in July 1991, where the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) was signed by Bush and Gorbachev in Moscow. The treaty took nine years in the making and was the first major arms agreement since the signing of the Intermediate Ranged Nuclear Forces Treaty by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987. The contentions in START would reduce the US's and USSR's strategic nuclear weapons by about 35% over seven years, and the Soviet Union's land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles would be cut by 50%. Bush described START as "a significant step forward in dispelling half a century of mistrust." After the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, President Bush and Gorbachev declared a US-Russian strategic partnership, marking the end of the Cold War. President Bush declared that US-Soviet cooperation during the Persian Gulf War in 1990–1991 had laid the groundwork for a partnership in resolving bilateral and world problems.

Bush's administration, along with the Progressive Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, spearheaded the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which would eliminate the majority of tariffs on products traded among the United States, Canada, and Mexico, to encourage trade amongst the countries. The treaty also restricts patents, copyrights, and trademarks, and outlines the removal of investment restrictions among the three countries.

The agreement came under heavy scrutiny amongst mainly Democrats, who charged that NAFTA resulted in a loss of US jobs. NAFTA also contained no provisions for labor rights; according to the Bush administration, the trade agreement would generate economic resources necessary to enable Mexico's government to overcome problems of funding and enforcement of its labor laws. Bush needed a renewal of negotiating authority to move forward with the NAFTA trade talks. Such authority would enable the president to negotiate a trade accord that would be submitted to Congress for a vote, thereby avoiding a situation in which the president would be required to renegotiate with trading partners those parts of an agreement that Congress wished to change. While initial signing was possible during his term, negotiations made slow, but steady, progress. President Clinton would go on to make the passage of NAFTA a priority for his administration, despite its conservative and Republican roots — with the addition of two side agreements — to achieve its passage in 1993.

As other presidents have done, Bush issued a series of pardons during his last days in office. On December 24, 1992, he granted executive clemency to six former government employees implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal of the late 1980s, most prominently former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Weinberger, who had been scheduled to stand trial on January 5, 1993, for charges related to Iran-Contra, was described by Bush as a "true American patriot".

In addition to Weinberger, Bush pardoned Duane R. Clarridge, Clair E. George, Robert C. McFarlane, Elliott Abrams, and Alan G. Fiers Jr., all of whom had been indicted and/or convicted of charges by an Independent Counsel headed by Lawrence Walsh.

Bush announced his reelection bid in early 1992; with a coalition victory in the Persian Gulf War and high approval ratings, reelection initially looked likely. But an economic recession, and doubts of whether Bush ended the Gulf War properly, reduced his popularity.

Conservative political columnist Pat Buchanan challenged Bush for the nomination, and shocked political pundits by finishing second, with 37% of the vote, in the New Hampshire primary. Bush responded by adopting more conservative positions on issues, in an attempt to undermine Buchanan's base. Once he had secured the nomination, Bush faced his challenger, Democrat William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton. Clinton attacked Bush as not doing enough to assist the working middle-class and being "out of touch" with the common man, a notion reinforced by reporter Andrew Rosenthal's false report that Bush was "astonished" to see a demonstration of a supermarket scanner.

In early 1992, the race took an unexpected twist when Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot launched a third party bid, claiming that neither Republicans nor Democrats could eliminate the deficit and make government more efficient. His message appealed to voters across the political spectrum disappointed with both parties' perceived fiscal irresponsibility. Perot later bowed out of the race for a short time, then reentered.

Clinton had originally been in the lead, until Perot reentered, tightening the race significantly. Nearing election day, polls suggested that the race was a dead-heat, but Clinton pulled out on top, defeating Bush in a 43% to 38% popular vote margin. Perot won 19% of the popular vote, one of the highest totals for a third party candidate in US history, drawing equally from both major candidates, according to exit polls. Bush received 168 electoral votes to Clinton's 370.

Several factors were key in Bush's defeat, including agreeing in 1990 to raise taxes despite his famous "Read my lips: no new taxes" pledge. In doing so, Bush alienated many members of his conservative base, losing their support for his re-election. Of the voters who cited Bush's broken "No New Taxes" pledge as "very important", two thirds voted for Bill Clinton. Bush had raised taxes in an attempt to address an increasing budget deficit, which has largely been attributed to the Reagan tax cuts and military spending of the 1980s. In addition to these factors, the ailing economy which arose from recession may have been the main factor in Bush's loss, as 7 in 10 voters said on election day that the economy was either "not so good" or "poor". On the eve of the 1992 election against these factors, Bush's approval rating stood at just 37% after suffering low ratings throughout the year. Despite his defeat, Bush climbed back from election day approval levels to leave office in 1993 with a 56% job approval rating.

Since his 1992 election campaign, Bush has retired with his wife, Barbara, to their home in the exclusive neighborhood of Tanglewood in Houston, with a presidential office nearby. They spend the summer at Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush holds his own fishing tournament in Islamorada, an island in the Florida Keys.

In 1993, Bush was awarded an honorary knighthood (GCB) by Queen Elizabeth II. He was the third American president to receive the honor, the others being Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.

His eldest son, George W. Bush, was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States on January 20, 2001. Through previous administrations, the elder Bush had ubiquitously been known as "George Bush" or "President Bush", but following his son's election the need to distinguish between them has made retronymic forms such as "George H. W. Bush" and "George Bush senior" — and colloquialisms such as "Bush 41" and "Bush the Elder" much more common.

To date, Bush has not produced a presidential memoir.

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is the presidential library named for Bush. This tenth presidential library was built between 1995 and 1997 and contains the presidential and vice-presidential papers of Bush and the vice-presidential papers of Dan Quayle. It was dedicated on November 6, 1997 and opened to the public shortly thereafter; the complex was designed by the architectural firm of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum.

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located on a 90-acre (360,000 m2) site on the west campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. It is situated on a plaza adjoining the Presidential Conference Center and the Texas A&M Academic Center. The Library operates under the administration of the NARA under the provisions of the Presidential Libraries Act of 1955.

Another institute was named in his honor: the George Bush School of Government and Public Service is a graduate public policy school at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. The graduate school is part of the presidential library complex, and offers four programs: two master's degree programs (Public Service Administration and International Affairs) and two certificate programs (Advanced International Affairs and Homeland Security). The Masters program in International Affairs (MPIA) program offers a choice of concentration on either National Security Affairs or International Economics and Development.

The former president continues to make many public appearances. He and Mrs. Bush attended the state funeral of Ronald Reagan in June 2004, and of Gerald Ford in January 2007. One month later, he was awarded the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award in Beverly Hills, California by former First Lady Nancy Reagan. Bush was also present in various ceremonies during the construction of the USS George H. W. Bush, which is the last Nimitz class supercarrier of the United States Navy, and one of the few that are named after persons that are living at the time of the vessel's christening. Despite his political differences with Bill Clinton, it has been acknowledged that he and Clinton have managed to become friends. He and Clinton appeared together in television ads in 2005, encouraging aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

On February 18, 2008, Bush formally endorsed Senator John McCain for the presidency of the United States. The endorsement offered a boost to McCain's campaign, as the Arizona Senator had been facing criticism among many conservatives.

Bush garnered further media attention on April 21, 2008, when it was reported that he caught a 134-pound mammoth tarpon while on a fishing trip off the coast of Florida. The 83-year-old former president noted that it was the largest fish that he had ever caught, but chose to release it back into the ocean.

On January 10, 2009, Bush and his son were both present at the commissioning of the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77), the tenth and last Nimitz class supercarrier of the United States Navy.

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Source : Wikipedia