White House

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Posted by pompos 02/27/2009 @ 17:39

Tags : white house, government, politics

News headlines
Baucus, White House in deal with drug industry - The Associated Press
... Saturday to spend $80 billion over the next decade improving drug benefits for seniors on Medicare and defraying the cost of President Barack Obama's health care legislation, capping secretive negotiations with the White House and key lawmakers....
Obama Resists Calls for a Tougher Stance on Iran - New York Times
But if Iranian authorities carry out their latest threat of a more sweeping crackdown, the White House would reconsider its carefully calibrated tone, officials said Friday. Some voices want the president to condemn Tehran, while others say that would...
Obama Faces Hurdles in Pursuit of Health Care Reform - Washington Post
White House officials believe it's wiser to wait but at some point the president will have to make clear what he'll accept and what he won't. For Obama, a handful of big decisions await. They include cost and coverage, revenues and savings;...
First Dog Bo gets his own official White House portrait - Chicago Tribune
Bo, the Portuguese water dog adopted by President Barack Obama, wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia -- a delivered campaign promise for the girls, actually -- is pictured in black, but no tie, on the South Lawn of the White House....
White House: Census to better count gay couples - The Associated Press
The White House on Friday announced that its interpretation of the act, known as DOMA, did not prohibit gathering the information. Gay marriage is now legal in six states, although the first weddings have not yet commenced in three of them....
Pro skateboarder takes a glide through White House - The Associated Press
Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk on Friday took a brief ride at the White House as part of a Father's Day celebration. Hawk, 41, skated in the grand foyer and the nearby Old Executive Office Building, with the permission of White House officials....
Republicans Not Satisfied With White House Explanation for Walpin ... - FOXNews
"We see nothing that supports the administration's 'crazy old man' theory," said Issa, ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Issa's office said White House lawyers met with investigators from his committee Wednesday...
Obama Initiatives Hit Speed Bumps - Washington Post
In a high-level meeting at the White House yesterday, Obama conveyed his concern over early pronouncements by the Congressional Budget Office that a bill drafted by the Senate health committee would cover just 16 million additional people at a cost of...
For Obama, a Hit and a Miss On Gay Rights - Washington Post
in the White House. I'm all for holding an ally's feet to the fire. But to not recognize and celebrate victories, no matter how "small," is maddeningly shortsighted in the long march to full equality. If gays and lesbians want big victories,...
Sect. of State Hillary Clinton resting after surgery on broken elbow - New York Daily News
She slipped in the State Department garage Wednesday and fractured her elbow on her way to a meeting at the White House. She was expected to make a full recovery "without lasting damage to her arm," said Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Mills....

White House

The North Portico of the White House compared to Leinster House

The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., it was built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the late Georgian style and has been the executive residence of every U.S. President since John Adams. When Thomas Jefferson moved into the home in 1801, he (with architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe) expanded the building outward, creating two colonnades which were meant to conceal stables and storage.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, the mansion was set ablaze by the British Army in the Burning of Washington, destroying the interior and charring much of the exterior walls. Reconstruction began almost immediately, and President James Monroe moved into the partially reconstructed house in October 1817. Construction continued with the addition of the South Portico in 1824 and the North in 1829. Due to crowding within the executive mansion itself, President Theodore Roosevelt had nearly all work offices relocated to the newly-constructed West Wing in 1901. Eight years later, President William Howard Taft expanded the West Wing and created the first Oval Office which was eventually moved as the section was expanded. The third-floor attic was converted to living quarters in 1927 by augmenting the existing hip roof with long shed dormers. A newly constructed East Wing was used as a reception area for social events; both new wings were connected by Jefferson's colonnades. East Wing alterations were completed in 1946 creating additional office space. By 1948, the house's load-bearing exterior walls and internal wood beams were found to be close to failure. Under Harry S. Truman, the interior rooms were completely dismantled, resulting in the construction of a new internal load-bearing steel framework and the reassembly of the interior rooms.

Today, the White House Complex includes the Executive Residence (in which the First Family resides), the West Wing (the location of the Oval Office, Cabinet Room, and Roosevelt Room), and the East Wing (the location of the office of the First Lady and White House Social Secretary), as well as the Old Executive Office Building, which houses the executive offices of the President and Vice President.

The White House is made up of six stories—the Ground Floor, State Floor, Second Floor, and Third Floor, as well as a two-story basement. The term White House is regularly used as a metonym for the Executive Office of the President of the United States and for the president's administration and advisors in general. The property is owned by the National Park Service and is part of the President's Park. In 2007, it was ranked second on the American Institute of Architects's List of America's Favorite Architecture.

The President's house was a major feature of Pierre Charles L'Enfant's plan for the newly established federal city, Washington, D.C. The architect of the White House was chosen in a competition, which received nine proposals, including one submitted anonymously by Thomas Jefferson. The nation's first president, George Washington, traveled to the site of the federal city on July 16, 1792, to make his judgment. His review is recorded as being brief and he quickly selected the submission of James Hoban, an Irishman living in Charleston, South Carolina. Washington was not entirely pleased with the original Hoban submission, however; he found it too small, lacking ornament, and not fitting the nation's president. On Washington's recommendation the house was enlarged by thirty percent; a large reception hall, the present East Room, was added. This was likely inspired by the large reception room at Mount Vernon.

The building Hoban designed is verifiably influenced by the first and second floors of Leinster House, in Dublin, Ireland, which later became the seat of the Oireachtas (the Irish parliament). Several other Georgian era Irish country houses have been suggested as sources of inspiration for the overall floor plan, details like the bow-fronted south front, and interior details like the former niches in the present Blue Room. These influences, though undocumented, are cited in the official White House guide, and in White House Historical Association publications. The first official White House guide, published in 1962, suggested a link between Hoban's design for the South Portico, and Château de Rastignac, a neoclassical country house located in La Bachellerie in the Dordogne region of France and designed by Mathurin Salat. The French house was built 1812–1817, based on an earlier design. The link has been criticized because Hoban did not visit France. Supporters of a connection posit that Thomas Jefferson while visiting the École Spéciale d'Architecture (Bordeaux Architectural College) in 1789 viewed Salat's drawings, and on his return to the U.S. shared the influence with Washington, Hoban, Monroe, and Benjamin Henry Latrobe.

Construction of the White House began with the laying of the cornerstone on October 13, 1792, with no formal ceremony. The main residence, as well as foundations of the house, were built largely by enslaved and free African-American laborers, as well as employed Europeans. Much of the other work on the house was performed by immigrants, many not yet with citizenship. The sandstone walls were erected by Scottish immigrants, employed by Hoban, as were the high relief rose and garland decorations above the north entrance and the "fish scale" pattern beneath the pediments of the window hoods. Much of the brick and plaster work was produced by Irish and Italian immigrants. The initial construction took place over a period of eight years, at a reported cost of $232,371.83 ($2.8 million in 2007 dollars). Although not yet completed, the White House was ready for occupancy on or circa November 1, 1800.

Shortages, including material and labor, forced alterations to the earlier plan developed by French engineer Pierre Charles L'Enfant for a "palace" that was five times larger than the house that was eventually built. The finished home would contain only two main floors instead of the planned three, and a less costly brick served as a lining for the stone façades. When construction was finished the porous sandstone walls were coated with a mixture of lime, rice glue, casein, and lead, giving the house its familiar color and name.

Being a famed structure in America, many replicas have been constructed in its image.

The building was originally referred to variously as the "President's Palace", "Presidential Mansion", or "President's House". The earliest evidence of the public calling it the "White House" was recorded in 1811. A legend emerged that during the rebuilding of the structure white paint was applied to mask the burn damage it had suffered, giving the building its namesake hue. The name "Executive Mansion" was used in official contexts until President Theodore Roosevelt established the formal name by having "White House–Washington" engraved on the stationery in 1901. The current letterhead wording and arrangement "The White House" with the word "Washington" centered beneath goes back to the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Although it was not built until some years after the presidency of George Washington, it is also speculated that the name of the traditional home of the President of the United States may have derived from Martha Custis Washington's home, White House Plantation in New Kent County, Virginia, where the nation's first President and First Lady had courted in the mid-18th century.

I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this House, and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt had Adams' blessing carved into the mantel in the State Dining Room.

Adams lived in the house only briefly, and the home was soon occupied by Thomas Jefferson, who gave consideration to how the White House might be added to. With Benjamin Henry Latrobe, he helped lay out the design for the East and West Colonnades, small wings that help conceal the domestic operations of laundry, a stable and storage. Today, Jefferson's colonnades link the residence with the East and West Wings.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, the White House was set ablaze by British troops during the Burning of Washington, in retaliation for burning Upper Canada's Parliament Buildings in the Battle of York; much of Washington was affected by these fires as well. Only the exterior walls remained, and they had to be torn down and mostly reconstructed due to weakening from the fire and subsequent exposure to the elements, except for portions of the south wall. Of the numerous objects taken from the White House when it was ransacked by British troops, only two have been recovered — a painting of George Washington, rescued by then-first lady Dolley Madison, and a jewelry box returned to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939 by Alan Van Dyke, a Canadian man who said that his grandfather had taken it from Washington. Most of the spoils were lost when a convoy of British ships led by HMS Fantome sank en route to Halifax off Prospect during a storm on the night of November 24, 1814.

After the fire, President James Madison resided in The Octagon House. Meanwhile, both architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe and Hoban contributed to the design and oversight of the reconstruction, which lasted from 1815 until 1817. The south portico was constructed in 1824 during the James Monroe administration; the north portico was built six years later. Though Latrobe proposed similar porticos before the fire in 1814, both porticos were built as designed by Hoban. The similarity between the South Portico and an elliptical portico, with nearly identical curved stairs at Château de Rastignac in La Bachellerie, France is speculated as the source of inspiration, although this matter is one of great debate. The decorative stonework on both porticos were carved by Italian artisans brought to Washington to help in constructing the U.S. Capitol. The North Portico was not modeled on a similar portico on another Dublin building, the Viceregal Lodge (now Áras an Uachtaráin, residence of the President of Ireland), for its portico postdates the White House porticos' design. For the North Portico, a variation on the Ionic Order was devised incorporating a swag of roses between the volutes. This was done to link the new portico with the earlier carved roses above the entrance.

By the time of the American Civil War, the White House had become overcrowded. The location of the White House was questioned, just north of a canal and swampy lands, which provided conditions ripe for malaria and other unhealthy conditions. Brigadier General Nathaniel Michler was tasked to propose solutions to address these concerns; he proposed to abandon the White House as a residence, and use it only for business. A new estate for the first family was planned at Meridian Hill in Washington, D.C., but the plan was rejected by Congress.

When Chester Arthur took office in 1881, he ordered renovations to the White House to take place as soon as the recently widowed Lucretia Garfield moved out. Arthur inspected the work almost nightly and made several suggestions. Louis Comfort Tiffany was asked to send selected designers to assist. Over twenty wagons of furniture and household items were removed from the building and sold at a public auction. All that was saved were bust portraits of John Adams and Martin Van Buren. A proposal was made to build a new residence south of the White House, but it failed to gain support. In the fall of 1882 work was done on the main corridor, including tinting the walls pale olive and adding squares of gold leaf, and decorating the ceiling in gold and silver, and colorful traceries woven to spell "USA". The Red Room was painted a dull pomeranian red, and its ceiling was decorated with gold, silver, and copper stars and stripes of red, white, and blue. The glass doors that separated the main corridor from the north vestibule were replaced by a fifty-foot jeweled Tiffany glass screen supported by imitation marble columns.

In 1891, First Lady Caroline Harrison proposed extensions to the White House, including a National Wing on the east for an historical art gallery, and a wing on the west for official functions. A plan was devised by Colonel Theodore A. Bingham, which reflected the Harrison proposal. In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt and his family moved in to the White House and hired McKim, Mead, and White to carry out renovations and expansion, including the addition of a West Wing. President William Howard Taft enlisted the help of architect Nathan C. Wyeth to add additional space to the West Wing, which included the addition of the Oval Office.

The West Wing was damaged by fire in 1929, but rebuilt during the remaining years of the Herbert Hoover presidency. In the 1930s, a second story was added, as well as a larger basement for White House staff, and President Franklin Roosevelt had the Oval Office moved to its present location: adjacent to the Rose Garden.

Decades of poor maintenance, the construction of a fourth story attic during the Coolidge administration, and the addition of a second-floor balcony over the south portico for Harry Truman took a great toll on the brick and sandstone structure built around a timber frame. By 1948, the house was declared to be in imminent danger of collapse, forcing President Truman to commission a reconstruction and move across the street to Blair House from 1949 to 1951. The work, done by the firm of Philadelphia contractor John McShain, required the complete dismantling of the interior spaces, construction of a new load-bearing internal steel frame and the reconstruction of the original rooms within the new structure. Some modifications to the floor plan were made, the largest being the repositioning of the grand staircase to open into the Entrance Hall, rather than the Cross Hall. Central air conditioning was added, as well as two additional sub-basements providing space for workrooms, storage, and a bomb shelter. The Trumans moved back into the White House on March 27, 1952. While the house's structure was kept intact by the Truman reconstruction, much of the new interior finishes were generic, and of little historic value. Much of the original plasterwork, some dating back to the 1814–1816 rebuilding, was too damaged to reinstall, as was the original robust Beaux Arts paneling in the East Room. President Truman had the original timber frame sawed into paneling; the walls of the Vermeil Room, Library, China Room, and Map Room on the ground floor of the main residence were paneled in wood from the timbers.

Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of President John F. Kennedy (1961–63), directed a very extensive and historic redecoration of the house. She enlisted the help of Henry Francis du Pont of the Winterthur Museum to assist in collecting artifacts for the home, many of which had once been housed there. Other antiques, fine paintings, and improvements of the Kennedy period were donated to the White House by wealthy philanthropists, including the Crowninshield family, Jane Engelhard, Jayne Wrightsman, and the Oppenheimer family. Stéphane Boudin of the House of Jansen, a Paris interior-design firm that had been recognized worldwide, was employed by Mrs. Kennedy to assist with the decoration. Different periods of the early republic and world history were selected as a theme for each room: the Federal style for the Green Room, French Empire for the Blue Room, American Empire for the Red Room, Louis XVI for the Yellow Oval Room, and Victorian for the president's study, renamed the Treaty Room. Antique furniture was acquired, and decorative fabric and trim based on period documents was produced and installed. The Kennedy restoration resulted in a more authentic White House of grander stature, which recalled the French taste of Madison and Monroe. The first White House guide book was produced under the direction of curator Lorraine Waxman Pearce with direct supervision from Jacqueline Kennedy. Sale of the guide book helped finance the restoration.

As a means of preserving the history of the White House, no substantive architectural changes have been made on the house since the Truman renovation. Since the Kennedy restoration, every presidential family has made some changes to their private quarters of the White House, but changes to the State Rooms must all be approved by the Committee for the Preservation of the White House (formerly the Kennedy's Fine Arts Committee). Aimed at maintaining the historical integrity of the White House, the congressionally authorized committee works with the First Family – usually represented by the First Lady, the White House Curator, and Chief Usher – to implement the family's proposed plans for altering the home.

During the Nixon administration (1969–74), First Lady Pat Nixon refurbished the Green Room, Blue Room, and Red Room, working with Clement Conger, the curator appointed by President Richard Nixon. Mrs. Nixon's efforts brought over 600 artifacts to the home, the largest acquisition by any administration. Her husband created the modern press briefing room over Franklin Roosevelt's old swimming pool. Nixon added a single-lane bowling alley to the White House basement.

Computers and the first laser printer were added during the Carter administration, and the use of computer technology was expanded upon during the Reagan administration. Redecorations were made to the private family quarters and maintenance was made to public areas during the Reagan years. The house was accredited as a museum in 1988.

In the 1990s, Bill and Hillary Clinton refurbished some rooms with the assistance of Arkansas decorator Kaki Hockersmith, including the Oval Office, the East Room, Blue Room, State Dining Room, Lincoln Bedroom, and Lincoln Sitting Room. During the administration of George W. Bush, first lady Laura Bush refurbished the Lincoln Bedroom to make it as if it were in the time of Lincoln; the Green Room, Cabinet Room, and theater were also refurbished.

The White House is one of the first government buildings in Washington that was made wheelchair-accessible, with modifications having been made during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who needed to use a wheelchair as a result of his paraplegia. In the 1990s, Hillary Rodham Clinton – at the suggestion of Visitors Office Director Melinda N. Bates – approved the addition of a ramp in the East Wing corridor. It allowed easy wheelchair access for the public tours and special events that enter through the secure entrance building on the east side. The president travels from the White House grounds via motorcade or helicopter. President Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first president to travel by helicopter to and from the White House grounds.

Today the group of buildings housing the presidency is known as the White House Complex. It includes the central Executive Residence flanked by the East Wing and West Wing. Day to day household operations are coordinated by the Chief Usher. The White House includes: six stories and 55,000 ft² (5,100 m²) of floor space, 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, twenty-eight fireplaces, eight staircases, three elevators, five full-time chefs, a tennis court, a (single-lane) bowling alley, a movie theater, a jogging track, a swimming pool, and a putting green. It receives about 5,000 visitors a day.

The original residence is in the center. Two colonnades — one on the east and one on the west — designed by Jefferson, now serve to connect the East and West Wings, added later. The Executive Residence houses the president's home, as well as rooms for ceremonies and official entertaining. The State Floor of the residence building includes the East Room, Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room, State Dining Room, Family Dining Room, Cross Hall, Entrance Hall, and Grand Staircase. The Ground Floor is made up of the Diplomatic Reception Room, Map Room, China Room, Vermeil Room, Library, the main kitchen, and other offices. The second floor family residence includes the Yellow Oval Room, East and West Sitting Halls, the White House Master Bedroom, President's Dining Room, the Treaty Room, Lincoln Bedroom and Queens' Bedroom, as well as two additional bedrooms, a smaller kitchen, and a private dressing room. The third floor consists of the White House Solarium, Game Room, Linen Room, a Diet Kitchen, and another sitting room (previously used as President George W. Bush's workout room).

The West Wing houses the President's office (the Oval Office) and offices of his senior staff, with room for about 50 employees. It also includes the Cabinet Room, where the president conducts business meetings and where the United States Cabinet meets, as well as the White House Situation Room, James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, and Roosevelt Room. In 2007, work was completed on renovations of the press briefing room, adding fiber optic cables and LCD screens for the display of charts and graphs. The makeover cost $8 million and took 11 months, of which $2 million was paid by news outlets. Some members of the President's staff are located in the adjacent Old Executive Office Building, formerly the State War and Navy building, and sometimes known as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

This portion of the building was used as the setting for the popular television show The West Wing.

The East Wing, which contains additional office space, was added to the White House in 1942. Among its uses, the East Wing has intermittently housed the offices and staff of the First Lady, and the White House Social Office. Rosalynn Carter, in 1977, was the first to place her personal office in the East Wing and to formally call it the "Office of the First Lady." The East Wing was built during World War II in order to hide the construction of an underground bunker to be used in emergency situations. The bunker has come to be known as the Presidential Emergency Operations Center.

The White House and grounds cover just over 18 acres (approximately 7.3 hectares). Before the construction of the North Portico, most public events were entered from the South Lawn, which was graded and planted by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson also drafted a planting plan for the North Lawn that included large trees that would have mostly obscured the house from Pennsylvania Avenue. During the mid to late nineteenth century a series of ever larger green houses were built on the west side of the house, where the current West Wing is located. During this period, the North Lawn was planted with ornate carpet-style flower beds. Although the White House grounds have had many gardeners through their history, the general design, still largely used as master plan today, was designed in 1935 by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. of the Olmsted Brothers firm, under commission from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. During the Kennedy administration the White House Rose Garden was redesigned by Rachel Lambert Mellon. The Rose garden borders the West Colonnade. Bordering the East Colonnade is the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden which was begun by Jacqueline Kennedy but completed after her husband's assassination. On the weekend of June 23, 2006, a century-old American Elm (Ulmus americana L.) tree on the north side of the building, came down during one of the many storms amid intense flooding. Among the oldest trees on the grounds are several magnolias (Magnolia grandiflora) planted by Andrew Jackson.

Like the English and Irish country houses it was modeled on, the White House was, from the start, open to the public until the early part of the twentieth century. President Thomas Jefferson held an open house for his second inaugural in 1805, and many of the people at his swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol followed him home, where he greeted them in the Blue Room. Those open houses sometimes became rowdy: in 1829, President Andrew Jackson had to leave for a hotel when roughly 20,000 citizens celebrated his inauguration inside the White House. His aides ultimately had to lure the mob outside with washtubs filled with a potent cocktail of orange juice and whiskey. Even so, the practice continued until 1885, when newly elected Grover Cleveland arranged for a presidential review of the troops from a grandstand in front of the White House instead of the traditional open house. Jefferson also permitted public tours of his home, which have continued ever since, except during wartime, and began the tradition of annual receptions on New Year's Day and on the Fourth of July. Those receptions ended in the early 1930s, although President Bill Clinton would briefly revive the New Year's Day open house in his first term.

The White House remained accessible in other ways; President Abraham Lincoln complained that he was constantly beleaguered by job seekers waiting to ask him for political appointments or other favors, or eccentric dispensers of advice like “General” Daniel Pratt, as he began the business day. Lincoln put up with the annoyance rather than risk alienating some associate or friend of a powerful politician or opinion maker. In recent years, however, the White House has been closed to visitors because of terrorism concerns.

In 1974, a stolen Army helicopter landed without authorization on the White House grounds. Twenty years later, in 1994, a light plane crashed on the White House grounds, and the pilot died instantly. As a result of increased security regarding air traffic in the capital, the White House was evacuated in 2005 before an unauthorized aircraft could approach the grounds.

On May 20, 1995, primarily as a response to the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995, the United States Secret Service closed off Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicular traffic in front of the White House from the eastern edge of Lafayette Park to 17th Street. Later, the closure was extended an additional block to the east to 15th Street, and East Executive Drive, a small street between the White House and the Treasury Building. The Pennsylvania Avenue closing, in particular, has been opposed by organized civic groups in Washington, D.C. They argue that the closing impedes traffic flow unnecessarily and is inconsistent with the well-conceived historic plan for the city. As for security considerations, they note that the White House is set much further back from the street than numerous other sensitive federal buildings are.

Prior to its inclusion within the fenced compound that now includes the Old Executive Office Building to the west and the Treasury Building to the east, this sidewalk served as a queuing area for the daily public tours of the White House. These tours were suspended in the wake of the September 11 attacks. In September 2003, they resumed on a limited basis for groups making prior arrangements through their Congressional representatives and submitting to background checks, but the White House remains closed to the general public. The White House Complex is protected by the United States Secret Service and the United States Park Police.

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Federal government of the United States

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The Federal Government of the United States is the central current reigning United States governmental body, established by the United States Constitution. The federal government has three branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial. Through a system of separation of powers and the system of "checks and balances," each of these branches has some authority to act on its own, some authority to regulate the other two branches, and has some of its own authority, in turn, regulated by the other branches. The policies of the federal government have a broad impact on both the domestic and foreign affairs of the United States. In addition, the powers of the federal government as a whole are limited by the Constitution, which, per the Tenth Amendment, gives all power not directed to the National government, to the State level, or to the people.

The seat of the federal government is in the federal district of Washington, D.C.

The United States Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government. It is bicameral, comprising the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives consists of 435 voting members, each of whom represents a congressional district and serves for a two-year term. In addition to the 435 voting members there are five non-voting members, consisting of four delegates and one resident commissioner. There is one delegate each from the District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands, and American Samoa, and the resident commissioner is from Puerto Rico. House seats are apportioned among the states by population; in contrast, each state has two Senators, regardless of population. There are a total of 100 senators (as there are currently 50 states), who serve six-year terms (one third of the Senate stands for election every two years). Each congressional chamber (House or Senate) has particular exclusive powers—the Senate must give "advice and consent" to many important Presidential appointments, and the House must introduce any bills for the purpose of raising revenue. However, the consent of both chambers is required to make any law. The powers of Congress are limited to those enumerated in the Constitution; all other powers are reserved to the states and the people. The Constitution also includes the "Necessary and Proper Clause", which grants Congress the power to "make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers." Members of the House and Senate are elected by first-past-the-post voting in every state except Louisiana and Washington, which have runoffs.

The Constitution does not specifically call for the establishment of Congressional committees. As the nation grew, however, so did the need for investigating pending legislation more thoroughly. The 108th Congress (2003-2005) had 19 standing committees in the House and 17 in the Senate, plus four joint permanent committees with members from both houses overseeing the Library of Congress, printing, taxation, and the economy. In addition, each house can name special, or select, committees to study specific problems. Because of an increase in workload, the standing committees have also spawned some 150 subcommittees.

The Constitution grants numerous powers to Congress. These include the powers to levy and collect taxes, provide for common defense and promote the pursuit of liberty; to coin money and regulate its value; provide for punishment for counterfeiting; establish post offices and roads, promote progress of science, create courts inferior to the Supreme Court, define and punish piracies and felonies, declare war, raise and support armies, provide and maintain a navy, make rules for the regulation of land and naval forces, provide for, arm, and discipline the militia, exercise exclusive legislation in the District of Columbia, and make laws necessary and proper to execute the powers of Congress.

Congressional oversight is intended to prevent waste and fraud, protect civil liberties and individual rights, ensure executive compliance with the law, gather information for making laws and educating the public, and evaluate executive performance.

All executive power in the federal government is vested in the President of the United States, although power is often delegated to the Cabinet members and other officials. The President and Vice President are elected as 'running mates' for a maximum of two four-year terms by the Electoral College, for which each state, as well as the District of Columbia, is allocated a number of seats based on its representation (or ostensible representation, in the case of D.C.) in both houses of Congress.

The Executive branch consists of the President and delegates. The President is both the head of state and government, as well as the military commander-in-chief (only when called into actual military services), chief diplomat and chief of party. The President, according to the Constitution, must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." The President presides over the executive branch of the federal government, a vast organization numbering about 4 million people, including 1 million active-duty military personnel. The current president is Barack Obama.

The President may sign legislation passed by Congress into law, or may veto it, preventing it from becoming law unless two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote to override the veto. The President may, with the consent of two-thirds of the Senate, make treaties with foreign nations. The President may be impeached by a majority in the House and removed from office by a two-thirds majority in the Senate for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." The President may not dissolve Congress or call special elections, but does have the power to pardon, or release, criminals convicted of offenses against the federal government (except in cases of impeachment), enact executive orders, and (with the consent of the Senate) appoint Supreme Court justices and federal judges.

The Vice President is the second-highest executive official of the government. At first in the United States presidential line of succession, the Vice President becomes President upon the death, resignation, or removal of the President, which has happened nine times in U.S. history. His or her only other constitutional duty is to serve as President of the Senate and break any tie votes in the Senate.

The relationship between the President and the Congress reflects that between the English monarchy and parliament at the time of the framing of the United States Constitution. While the President can directly propose legislation (for instance, the federal budget), he must rely on supporters in Congress to support and promote his legislative agenda. After identical copies of a particular bill have been approved by a majority of both houses of Congress, the President's signature is required to make these bills law; in this respect, the President has the power to veto congressional legislation. Congress can override a presidential veto with a two-thirds majority vote from both houses. The ultimate power of Congress over the President is that of impeachment or removal of the elected President through a House vote, a Senate trial, and a Senate vote (by two-thirds majority in favor). Nearly every president is threatened with the idea of impeachment, but only two Presidents (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton) have ever been successfully impeached, and neither was convicted by the Senate. Richard Nixon was not impeached in connection with the Watergate scandal, although the House Judiciary Committee had approved articles of impeachment against Nixon at the time he resigned.

The President makes around 2,000 executive appointments, including members of the Cabinet and ambassadors, which must be approved by the Senate; the President can also issue executive orders and pardons, and has other Constitutional duties, among them the requirement to give a State of the Union Address to Congress from time to time (usually once a year). (The Constitution does not specify that the State of the Union address be delivered in person; it can be in the form of a letter, as was the practice during most of the 19th century.) Although the President's constitutional role may appear to be constrained, in practice, the office carries enormous prestige that typically eclipses the power of Congress. The Vice President is first in the line of succession, and is the President of the Senate ex officio, with the ability to cast a tie-breaking vote. The members of the President's Cabinet are responsible for administering the various departments of state, including the Department of Defense, the Justice Department, and the State Department. These departments and department heads have considerable regulatory and political power, and it is they who are responsible for executing federal laws and regulations.

The day-to-day enforcement and administration of federal laws is in the hands of the various federal executive departments, created by Congress to deal with specific areas of national and international affairs. The heads of the 15 departments, chosen by the President and approved with the "advice and consent" of the U.S. Senate, form a council of advisers generally known as the President's "Cabinet". In addition to departments, there are a number of staff organizations grouped into the Executive Office of the President. These include the White House staff, the National Security Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

There are also independent agencies such as the United States Postal Service, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Agency for International Development. In addition, there are government-owned corporations such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.

By law, each agency must submit an annual Section 300 report to the President's Office of Management & Budget.

This is part of a larger set of more extensive annual requirements called Circular A-11. Section 300 specifically covers planning, budgeting, acquisition, and management of capital assets. The details on how agencies collect and share information and how they are upgrading and improving their information technology decisions are becoming increasingly important. Within Section 300 there is a special exhibit called Exhibit 53 which gives extensive details on agency information technology investments. These investments make up most of the information technology investments from the annual budgets. For the fiscal year 2008's budget, that spending exceeds $66.4 billion.

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the federal court system. The court deals with matters pertaining to the federal government, disputes between states, and interpretation of the United States Constitution, and can declare legislation or executive action made at any level of the government as unconstitutional, nullifying the law and creating precedent for future law and decisions. Below the Supreme Court are the courts of appeals, and below them in turn are the district courts, which are the general trial courts for federal law.

Separate from, but not entirely independent of, this federal court system are the individual court systems of each state, each dealing with its own laws and having its own judicial rules and procedures.

The supreme court of each state is the final authority on the interpretation of that state's laws and constitution. A case may be appealed from a state court to the U.S. Supreme Court only if there is a federal question (an issue arising under the U.S. Constitution, or laws/treaties of the United States). The relationship between federal and state laws is quite complex; together, they form the U.S. law.

The federal judiciary consists of the U.S. Supreme Court, whose justices are appointed for life by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and various "lower" or "inferior courts," among which are the courts of appeals and district courts.

The first Congress divided the nation into judicial districts and created federal courts for each district. From that beginning has evolved the present structure: the Supreme Court, 13 courts of appeals, 94 district courts, and two courts of special jurisdiction. Congress retains the power to create and abolish federal courts, as well as to determine the number of judges in the federal judiciary system. It cannot, however, abolish the Supreme Court.

There are three levels of federal courts with general jurisdiction, meaning that these courts handle criminal cases and civil law suits between individuals. The other courts, such as the bankruptcy courts and the tax court, are specialized courts handling only certain kinds of cases. The bankruptcy courts are branches of the district courts, but technically are not considered part of the "Article III" judiciary because their judges do not have lifetime tenure. Similarly, the tax court is not an Article III court.

The U.S. district courts are the "trial courts" where cases are filed and decided. The United States courts of appeals are "appellate courts" that hear appeals of cases decided by the district courts, and some direct appeals from administrative agencies. The Supreme Court hears appeals from the decisions of the courts of appeals or state supreme courts (on constitutional matters), as well as having original jurisdiction over a very small number of cases.

The judicial power extends to cases arising under the Constitution, an Act of Congress, or a U.S. treaty; cases affecting ambassadors, ministers, and consuls of foreign countries in the U.S.; controversies in which the U.S. government is a party; controversies between states (or their citizens) and foreign nations (or their citizens or subjects); and bankruptcy cases. The Eleventh Amendment removed from federal jurisdiction cases in which citizens of one state were the plaintiffs and the government of another state was the defendant. It did not disturb federal jurisdiction in cases in which a state government is a plaintiff and a citizen of another state the defendant.

The power of the federal courts extends both to civil actions for damages and other redress, and to criminal cases arising under federal law. Article III has resulted in a complex set of relationships between state and federal courts. Ordinarily, federal courts do not hear cases arising under the laws of individual states. However, some cases over which federal courts have jurisdiction may also be heard and decided by state courts. Both court systems thus have exclusive jurisdiction in some areas and concurrent jurisdiction in others.

The Constitution safeguards judicial independence by providing that federal judges shall hold office "during good behaviour"; in practice, this usually means they serve until they die, retire, or resign. A judge who commits an offence whilst in office may be impeached in the same way as the President or other officials of the federal government. U.S. judges are appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate. Another Constitutional provision prohibits Congress from reducing the pay of any judge. Congress is able to set a lower salary for all future judges that take office after the reduction, but may not decrease the rate of pay for judges already in office.

Suffrage, commonly known as the ability to vote, has changed significantly over time. In the early years of the United States, voting was considered a matter for state governments, and was commonly restricted to white men who owned land. Direct elections were mostly held only for the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures, although what specific bodies were elected by the electorate varied from state to state. Under this original system, both senators representing each state in the U.S. Senate were chosen by a majority vote of the state legislature. Since the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, members of both houses of Congress have been directly elected.

Today, partially due to the Twenty-sixth Amendment, U.S. citizens have almost universal suffrage from the age of 18, regardless of race, gender, or wealth, and both Houses of Congress are directly elected. The only exception to this is the disenfranchisement of convicted felons, and in some states former felons as well.

Currently, the national representation of territories and the federal district of Washington, D.C., in Congress is limited: residents of the District of Columbia are subject to federal laws and federal taxes, but their only congressional representative is a non-voting delegate. Residents of U.S. territories have varying rights; for example, residents of Puerto Rico do not pay federal taxes (on local income), but cannot vote for President and have no voting representatives in Congress.

The state governments tend to have the greatest influence over most Americans' daily lives because they handle the issues most relevant for an individual in that state. The state also goes through budget cuts at any time the economy is faltering, which the collective public they are responsible for feel most.

Each state has its own written constitution, government, and code of laws. There are sometimes great differences in law and procedure between individual states, concerning issues such as property, crime, health, and education. The highest elected official of each state is the Governor. Each state also has an elected state legislature (bicameralism is a feature of every state except Nebraska), whose members represent the voters of the state. Each state maintains its own state court system. In some states, supreme and lower court justices are elected by the people; in others, they are appointed, as they are in the federal system.

As a result of the Supreme Court case Worcester v. Georgia, Indian tribes are considered "domestic dependent nations" that operate as sovereign governments subject to federal authority but, generally and where possible, outside of the influence of state governments. Hundreds of laws, executive orders, and court cases have modified the governmental status of tribes vis-à-vis individual states, but the two have continued to be recognised as separate bodies. Tribal capacity to operate robust governments varies, from a simple council used to manage all aspects of tribal affairs, to large and complex bureaucracies with several branches of government. Tribes are empowered to form their own governments, with power resting in elected tribal councils, elected tribal chairpersons, or religiously appointed leaders (as is the case with pueblos). Tribal citizenship (and voting rights) is generally restricted to individuals of native descent, but tribes are free to set whatever membership requirements they wish.

The institutions that are responsible for local government in states are typically town, city, or county boards, water management districts, fire management districts, library districts, and other similar governmental units which make laws that affect their particular area. These laws concern issues such as traffic, the sale of alcohol, and the keeping of animals. The highest elected official of a town or city is usually the mayor. In New England, towns operate in a direct democratic fashion, and in some states, such as Rhode Island and Connecticut, counties have little or no power, existing only as geographic distinctions. In other areas, county governments have more power, such as to collect taxes and maintain law enforcement agencies.

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In this White House

Sam appears on political talk show Capital Beat with a "blonde leggy Republican" named Ainsley Hayes. She clearly wins the debate (to great joy from Toby and a back-on-the-job Josh) and impresses President Bartlet sufficiently for him to tell Leo to hire her. She goes to the White House intending to turn down the job offer, and has a harsh discussion with Sam about their different political viewpoints.

While waiting to meet Leo and turn down the offer, she witnesses the President and his staff dealing with a difficult international incident: a coup has occurred in Equatorial Kundu while the President of Equatorial Kundu is at the White House for a summit with pharmaceutical companies about the AIDS crisis in Africa. Josh and Toby are able to come up with a plan that will help the Kundunese President get desperately needed AIDS medications to his people, but the plan is torpedoed when the coup occurs and the President's family is either murdered or forced to flee the country. President Bartlet offers his Kundunese counterpart asylum in the U.S., but the offer is refused and he returns to face a horrible fate.

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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 young 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 any other war before getting 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 young 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, President 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% to 12.4%. However, former Congressman Lloyd Bentsen, a more moderate Democrat and native of Mission, Texas, defeated Yarborough in the Democratic primary. Yarborough then endorsed Bentsen and Bentsen defeated Bush 54% to 43%.

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. President 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 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% to Reagan's 29.4%. 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% to Reagan's 50%. 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 Barbara Bush moved into the Vice President's residence at Number One Observatory Circle, a few blocks 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; Reagan admired Bush's continued loyalty to him and the administration.

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 President 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's 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. In a move anticipated by few, 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, surprised many by delivering 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% of the ballots cast while Dukakis received 45.6%. 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%. 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, however.

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%, the highest since 1984. In September 1992, the Census Bureau reported that 14.2% 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