Scramblin' thru... the U.S. Presidents
"King George IV"
Election of 2000
Election of 2004
A Presidency in Review
George W. Bush, the 43rd U.S. President, served from 2001 to 2009. Before entering the White House, Bush, the oldest son of President George H.W. Bush, was a two-term Republican Governor of Texas. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School, Bush worked in the Texas oil industry and was an owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team before becoming governor. Despite losing by 543,895 Popular Votes, Bush won the highly controversial Election of 2000 by beating Bill Clinton's Vice President Al Gore in the Electoral College 271-266. Bush's time in office was quickly overshadowed by terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In response, he declared a global "War on Terrorism", established the Department of Homeland Security, and authorized U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan (2001-Present) and Iraq (2003-2011). Bush holds both the highest (92% after 9/11) and lowest (19% after Hurricane Katrina in 2005) approval ratings of any U.S. President. He retired to his home in Texas, published his memoirs in 2010, and has kept a low national profile since. Source: The History Channel
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George W. Bush Fun Facts
Bush was one of two managing general partners of the Texas Rangers Major League basbeall team from 1989-1994. When he sold his shares of the Rangers nine years later, he made more than $14 million dollars over his initial investment. Niiiiiiiiice...
Bush was a cheerleader for his alma mater, Yale University. He was also the head cheerleader in high school. Bush was once thrown out of a basketball game when he got mad at a referee. Bush even appeared in his high school yearbook dressed in a wig and a skirt to mock rival schools.
Bush narrowly won the Election of 2000 by defeating Vice President Al Gore 271-266 in the Electoral College... and despite losing by 543,895 Popular Votes. The election was noteworthy for a controversy over the awarding of Florida's 25 Electoral Votes, the subsequent recount process in that state, and the unusual event of the winning candidate having received fewer Popular Votes than the runner-up. This marked only the fourth election in U.S. history in which the eventual winner failed to win the Popular Vote. (This also happened in the elections of John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, and Benjamin Harrison in 1888.) Later studies have reached conflicting opinions on who would have won the Election of 2000 had the Florida recount been allowed to proceed. (It had been ordered stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court.) In the end, Bush won Florida by just 537 votes, giving him the state's 25 Electoral Votes and pushing him past the necessary 270 Electoral Votes to become President. (Dr. Hartnell was a student teacher at Holt High School when this was going down... talk about a "teachable moment"!) There have been a total of five U.S. Presidents elected without winning the Popular Vote: John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford Hayes (1876), Benjamin Harrison (1888), George W. Bush (2000), and Donald Trump (2016).
Bush is the first President to have run a marathon. He completed the Houston Marathon in 1993 with a time of 3 hours, 44 minutes, and 52 seconds.
On May 5, 2001, Bush was the first President ever to deliver a speech in both Spanish and English, during the first "Weekly Radio Address of the President of the U.S. Broadcast". (May 5th, eh? Happy Cinco de Mayo to you, too, Bush-o...)
Bush has been titled the "Vacation President" because he took over 900 days off during his Presidency. He flew down 77 times to his ranch in Crawford, Texas aboard Air Force One. (FYI: Such flights cost between $56,000 and $68,000 per hour.) In August 2005, he took a five-week long vacation, making him the first President to take such an extended vacation in 36 years.
During the unveiling of his official White House portrait, Bush introduced his wife, Laura, by saying, "It's my privilege to introduce the greatest First Lady ever!" He then realized his mother, Barbara, was also present at the ceremony. (His father, George H. W. Bush served as the nation's 41st President.)
Bush's favorite foods included: BLTs, deviled eggs, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, and pretzels. The last snack, however, almost killed him. In January 2002, Bush choked on a pretzel while watching an NFL playoff game, lost consciousness... and fell off his couch. Upon hitting the floor, the pretzel popped out, and Bush woke up. He suffered a bruise on his left cheek the size of a half-dollar and one on his lower lip.
For higher education, like his father and grandfather, Bush was sent to Yale University. His popularity continued to grow at that time, and he became the President of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He also became a member of Yale's secretive Skull and Bones Society, whose membership can be attained by invitation only. He graduated from Yale in 1965. In 1975, Bush completed his Masters of Business Administration from Harvard's Business School, becoming the only President to have an MBA degree.
George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush happen to be the second father and son to be elected as President after John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams.
Bush has described his days before his religious conversion in his 40s as his "nomadic" period and "irresponsible youth" and admitted to drinking "too much" in those years. While Bush stated that he was not an alcoholic, he did acknowledge that he was "drinking too much". In December 1966, when Bush was 20, he was arrested for disorderly conduct after he and some friends got drunk and stole a Christmas wreath from a hotel. The charges were later dropped. In September 1976, when Bush was 30, he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He admitted his guilt, was fined $150, and had his driving license in the state suspended for two years. In December of the same year, he took his 16-year-old brother, Marvin, out drinking. On the way home, Bush lost control of the car and ran over a trash can... and continued home with the can wedged noisily under the car. When his father, George H. W. Bush, chewed him out for exposing his younger brother to such risks, Bush retorted angrily, "You wanna go mano-a-mano right here?" and challenged him to fight. Before the elder Bush could reply, the situation was defused by Bush's other brother, Jeb, who took the opportunity to surprise his father with the happy news that George had been accepted to Harvard Business School. Bush later quit drinking alcohol in 1986, when he was 40. Many credit his wife, Laura, for being a good influence on Bush's decision to quit.
During the months leading up to the Election of 2000, Bush refused to answer questions about his alleged marijuana use in the past. In a taped conversation with a friend, Bush said, "I wouldn't answer the marijuana question. You know why? 'Cause I don't want some little kid doing what I tried." There were also allegations of cocaine use by Bush. In 1972, when Bush was 26, he was arrested for cocaine possession. His father, George H. W. Bush, pulled strings to have records of the arrest expunged (removed from his record).
On May 10, 2005, Bush was giving a speech in the Freedom Square in Tbilisi, Georgia (the country... not the American state), when Vladimir Arutyunian threw a live Soviet-made RGD-5 hand grenade toward the podium. The grenade was live and had its pin pulled, but it did not explode because the red tartan handkerchief was too tightly wrapped around it, which delayed the firing pin. After escaping that day, Arutyunian was arrested in July 2005. Convicted in January 2006, he was given a life sentence.
Bush holds both the highest... and lowest... Presidential approval ratings. Following the craziness of the Election of 2000, Bush's approval rating hovered around 50% in the early months of 2001. His popularity soared to 92% (the highest any President had ever received) after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. However, a slump in the economy, stalled wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the bungling of relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina, and growing anti-American sentiment worldwide dragged his approval ratings down to 19%, the lowest rating recorded in history. When Bush left office on January 20, 2009, his approval rating was 22%. (But don't blame it all on Bush... Congress' approval rating when Bush left office was... 7%. Woo hoo Democracy!)