The presidential career of George W. Bush took a defining turn with the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, leading to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush was one the most and least popular presidents in U.S. history. His approval rating soared after the 9/11 crisis, though he suffered major blows in public opinion concerning his handling of the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina and the economic recession. He served two terms, defeating Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. Bush currently lives in Dallas, Texas.
Known for: 43rd President of the United States and launching the invasion of Iraq in 2003
President George "W" Bush was raised in Texas, the oldest of 5 children. He went to a public school in Midland TX for several years, but finished grade school and high school in private academies. He attended Yale University, graduating in 1968, and then Harvard Business School where he received an MBA in 1975.
He then worked in the oil industry, helped on his father’s political campaign (his father, H.W. Bush was President of the United States from 1989 to 1993), and was general manager of a professional baseball team.
In 1994 he successfully ran for Governor of the state of Texas and then was reelected in 1998.
In 2000 he ran successfully for President of the United States, defeating Democratic candidate Al Gore in a highly charged election, whose results were settled by the Supreme Court. In 2004 he was reelected and was President until 2008. His presidency was marked by extremely high and extremely low levels of popularity, and he faced several difficult challenges.
In 2001, terrorists attacked the United States on September 11th, killing nearly 3,000 Americans. The Bush administration responded by invading Afghanistan (where some of the attack's planners were being sheltered), and then Iraq.
The wars in these two countries would have a huge impact on the world, the United States, and on President Bush’s administration. President Bush’s popularity peaked during his initial response to the tragedy, but waned as people questioned the invasion of Iraq.
In 2005 Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst national disasters in American history, hit the southern coast of the U.S. and the local and federal level of response to the tragedy was slow and inadequate. The Bush administration's handling of the disaster started a downward slide in popularity from which it never recovered.
In 2008, responding to dire warnings that major banks and other financial institutions were in danger of failing, Bush signed into law the Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP), which bolstered several institutions and stopped what could have been the next Great Depression.
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