George W. Bush (1946- )

Figure 1.--George W and his father about 1957 at an event sponsored by Zapata, the company his father founded. Interestinghly, Zapata was named after the Mexican revolutionary.

The 42nd president was the first president of the 21st century. He was the son of President George H.W. Bush. Raised in Texas he ran against popular Govenor Anne Richardsfon and defeated her. After winning the Republican nomination in a rough campaign againsr Senator John Mccain, he ran against Vice President Albert Gore who won the Democratic nomination. The Vice President was hurt by the scandals of the Clinto presidency, especially the relevations concefning Moniks Lewinsky. The Vice President had nothing to do with the Clinton scandals. The Vice President had an exempliry family life. Unfortunately for him, he suffereed as a part of the administration. The voters did not want Clinton impeached, but they were clearly unhappy with his behavior. It turned out to be a remarably close election. It is difficult to say what most hurt the Vice President, but he seems to have left a lingering image that he was not to be trusted, in paet because of a series of minor mistatements. He also had a strangely wooden image for a politican. American elections are generally not settled on ideologyy or issues, but rather personality. The Governor appeared a much more personable candidate whose personality resonates well on television. That said, the Vice President did slightly out poll Govenor Bush in the popular vote, while Bush won in the all important Electoral College. Only 8 months after assuming office, Islamic terrorists carried oyt the 9-11 attacks which would come to define the Bush presidenct.


George W. is quoted as saying, "They say I have my daddy's eyes and my mother's mouth. I took that as a compliment, I think."

George W's father was former President George Bush was himself was the son of a wealthy Wall Street investment banker.

Barbara Bush was the daughter of a New York publishing executive. She grew up in Rue, New York. The family was distantly related to President Franlin Pierce. She to a large extent raised the children as her husband traveled so much. She became the disciplinarian and enforcer. It was mother who set the rules. George was the oldest son and rather wild as a boy so the two were not infrequently at odds. In many ways they were alike. She suffered deeply when their little girl Robin died of lukemmia.

His parents met at Greenwich Country Club dance in 1941 on the eve of America's entry into the War. Apparently it was love at first sight.They were engaged in 1943 and married in 1945.


Georege W had four brothrs and two sisters. One of his sisters died when he was quite young. It had a profound affect on him and his parents. George was the oldest brothers and the others appear to have followed him like a pied pipper.

Figure 2.--Georege W is pictured here holding his younger brother Jeb, probably in 1953. He wears a dress white shirt and long trousers. He was about 7 years old.


George W. was born in New Haven Connecticut where after World Was II military service, his father attended Yale University. After graduation, the family moved to Odessa, Texas in 1948 and to California where his sister Robin was born. For their parents moving to Texas was an adventure, giving the young mairred couple a change to get out on their own. Some children have trouble adjusing to frequents moves. Georege W. seems to have taken it all in his stride. They moved to Midland, Texas in 1950. Jeb, Neil, and Robin were born there. The family moved to Houston, Yexas in 1959 when sister Dorothy was born.

Robin's death in 1953 had a profound affect on the Bush family. One impact was to deepen a close-knir bond between George W. and his mother. As one writer descrines it, "George W. is in many ways "his mother's son." The demands of building an oil company took her husband away from home for long periods. Mrs. Bush was left alone with the two boys to bear her grief. George W. was only 7 years old, but he understood in a child's way what had happened. His mother was deply depressed. One day she hear George tll a playmate, "I can't come out nd play, by mother is sad today". Barabara knew she would have to pull herself together.

Figure 3.--George W is pictured here at a grade school party in the 1950s. Note the bow tie. The girl he is talking to is now the wife of his campaign finace chairman.

It was their fun loving, ebulent son that helped lift the spirts of the Bush family. From the beginning his parents described him as a cut up. The young Bush joked, played, and worked hard at bringing a smile to his' mothers face. Barabara described how she first relaized what was happening. She heard George W. tell a friend that he couldn't come out because he had to play with his mother who was lonely. She explained that she thought that she was being there for her son, "But the truth was he was being there for me."

As far back as his parents can remember, George W. was an outgoing, fun loving boy. He was intuative and spotaneous. He loved joking and would banter with his mother, but he a bit more restrained with his father. His Texas-sized personality and outspokeness drew friends to him as a boy and this continued as he entered the business and political world.

George W.'s personality that was quite distinct from his reserved, dignified father who was carefully building an oil company and then a political career. His father, however, was neverv completely at ease as a politician. His son's spontanity and lively approach helped to make George W. an extrodinarily successful politician. This can not be over emphasized. In an American election, a candidate's personality is generally more important than issues or ideology.

George W.'s boyhood was the in many ways the American dream. They started out in a shotgun house where they shared a bath with two prositutes. George W. recalls falling asleep in the back seat of his father's stationwaggon waiting for a well to come in. Soon the family was living in a middle class suburb. It was little lkeague, friday night football, backyard bar-b-ques, bike riding, all of the adventures of a 1950s boyhood. His sister in particular recalls perilous acrobatics beneath the highschool stadium.

It was mother who ran the family. Dad banned the bar-b-que and played catch over the weekend, but mom ran the family. She remembers diappers, runny noses, ear aches, an incredible number of Little League games, tonsils, races to hospital emergency rooms, Sunday school and church, confrontations over home work, short stiby arms around her neck, sticky kissess--all the responsibilty of managing five young children. Barbara wasn't one of those mothers who would warn, "Wait until your father comes home." She handled the problems herself. And it was usuall her rambunctions son, Georege W. who was in trouble. Never serious trouble, but the kind of shinagins that boys in the more inocent 1950s got up to. His brothers later said, we were sure glad that he went first to "blaze the path".

Childhood Clothes

George W. as a small boy wore short pants suits. One photograph taken in 1950 when he was about 4 years shows him in a short pants suit and cowboy boots. I'm not sure when he began wearing long pants. Presumably shorts for boys were less common than was the case for boys from affluent families in Connecticut.

Another photograph shows George W. in 1953 at age 7 years wearing dressy long pants. Subsequent photographs show him in conservative dark suits with long pants suits. He also wore sport jackets, sometimes with bowties.

Figure 4.--George W is pictured here during the summer of 1955 wearing a plain white "T" shirt.

I'm less sure about his school clothes and leisue wear. One photograph taken in 1955 show him in a white "T" shirt. I believe that "T"-shirts with colord stripes were more common.

Hair Styles

Th boy had very short hair cuts.


George W. attended Houston Elementary School in Midland, Texas. After elementary school he attended San Jacinto Junior High School, a far cry from the schools his father attended. He spent the 7th grade there and again his personality helped him fit right in. He payed quaterback and was elected class president. Even at the beginning of junior high school, he was the classic good old boy type. George W. is fond of saying. "My father attended Greewich Country Day and I attended San Jacinto Junior High." What he doesn't mention is that he attended San Jancinto for only 1 year.

The Bushes were beginning to become more sucessful financially and it was decided to enroll George W. at Kinkaid School, a private academy in one of the most weealthy suburbs in America--an exclusive Houston enclave named Piney Point Village. George W. quickly fit in. He made the football team and elected a class officer. He again demonsrated his ability to make friends.

He began boarding the exclusive Phillips Academy preparatory school in Andover, Massachusetts in 1961 at age 15. (An American preparatory school is a private secondary-level school comparable to a British public school.) Phillips Academy is one of America's most exclusive and rigorous prep schools and his father's alma mater. He did not like it at first when he arrived, never having lived away from home before. The freewheeing young Texan found tghe rigorus, competive school very difficult to adjust to. "I was going from one world to another," he now expalins. In reality he was going from his safe secure, Texas world to his father's Eastern elite establishment world. His father's record would be virtually impossible to replicate. George W. followed his father only 19 years later--but in a very different world.

George W. followed his father next to Yale University and the prestigious Skull and Bones secret society. Yale was a very different place than when his father attended. George W. continued with the traditions of an earlier age. Fratetnity partoes, booze, football weekends, the familiar pattern of the pre-VietNam era. Many of his classmates were consumed with the War in Vietnam and challenged America's political establishment--including his father who in Congress supported the war. George W. who eschewed arraogamver and pretense was offened by what he viewed as the intellectual dishonesty of the anti-war left. He recalls being personally offened by legendary Yale Chaplin William Sloane Coffin and the University's failure to adequately honor his father. George W. left little imprint on Yale and few of his professors remember him. His grades were not good enough to earn him admission to the University of Texas Law School.


George after graduating from Yale returned to Midland, Texas. Unable to go to law school. he went to Harvard Business School. He decided to seek his fortune in the oil business and to run for Congress. He won the primarry in a runoff, but lost the election being branded as a liberal northeasternern carpetbagger. He hesitated to use some material against his oppent. His staff claim he insisted on a "nice-guy" campaign.

He started up an oil business, but lost a lot of money for many of his investors. The fall in oil pricesd just about bankrupted him. He was finally bailed out when a larger company bought his company. He later made some real money with the Texas Rangers baseball team.


Laura Welch

Friends tried for years to set up George W. and Laura. She hesitated thinking they had little in common. She had no interest in politics. She was an quiet, introspective 30-year old Librarian. In many ways she was as different from the outgong George W. as one could imagine. Three months after meeting they mairred. He asured her that she would never have to make a speech. Friends say now, "He lied."

Presidential Election of 2000



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Created: August 15, 1999
Last changed: May 12, 2002