Presidency of George W. Bush
The presidency of George W. Bush
began at noon EST (17:00 UTC) on January 20, 2001, when George W. Bush
as the 43rd president of the United States
, and ended on January 20, 2009. Bush, a Republican
, took office following a narrow victory over Democraticincumbent
vice president Al Gore
in the 2000 presidential election
. Four years later, in the 2004 presidential election
, he defeated Democrat nominee John Kerry
to win re-election. Bush, the 43rd president, is the eldest son of the 41st president, George H. W. Bush
A decisive event reshaping his administration was the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001
, Bush created the United States Department of Homeland Security
and declared a global war on terrorism
. He ordered an invasion of Afghanistan
to overthrow the Taliban
, destroy the terrorist group al-Qaeda
, and capture Osama bin Laden
. He also signed the controversial Patriot Act
in order to authorize surveillance of suspected terrorists. In 2003, Bush ordered an invasion of Iraq
, arguing that the Saddam Hussein
regime possessed weapons of mass destruction
. Intense criticism came when no WMD stockpiles were ever found nor evidence of an operational relationship with al-Qaeda
. Before 9-11 Bush had pushed through a $1.3 trillion tax cut program
and the No Child Left Behind Act
, a major education bill. He also pushed for socially conservative
efforts, such as the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act
and faith-based welfare initiatives
. Also in 2003, he signed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act
, which created Medicare Part D
The 2000 electoral college vote
With President Bill Clinton
term-limited, the Democrats
nominated Vice President Al Gore
for president. Bush's campaign emphasized their own candidate's character in contrast with that of Clinton, who had been embroiled in the Lewinsky scandal
. Bush held a substantial lead in several polls taken after the final debate in October, but the unearthing of Bush's 1976 DUI arrest appeared to sap his campaign's momentum. By the end of election night, Florida emerged as the key state in the election, as whichever candidate won the state would win the presidency. Bush held an extremely narrow lead in the vote by the end of election night, triggering an automatic recount
. The Florida Supreme Court ordered a partial manual recount, but the Supreme Court of the United States
effectively ordered an end to this process, on equal protection grounds, in the case of Bush v. Gore
, leaving Bush with a victory in both the state and the election. Though Gore narrowly won a plurality of the nationwide popular vote, Bush won the presidential election with 271 electoral votes compared to Gore's 266. In the concurrent congressional elections
, Republicans retained a narrow majority in the House, but lost five seats in the Senate, leaving the partisan balance in the Senate at fifty Republicans and fifty Democrats.
Rejecting the idea of a powerful White House chief of staff
, Bush had high-level officials report directly to him rather than Chief of Staff Andrew Card
. Vice President Cheney emerged as the most powerful individual in the White House aside from Bush himself. Bush brought to the White House several individuals who had worked under him in Texas, including Senior Counselor Karen Hughes
, Senior Adviser Karl Rove, legal counsel Alberto Gonzales
, and Staff SecretaryHarriet Miers
Other important White House staff appointees included Margaret Spellings
as a domestic policy adviser, Michael Gerson
as chief speechwriter, and Joshua Bolten
and Joe Hagin
as White House deputy chiefs of staff. Paul H. O'Neill
, who had served as deputy director of the OMB
under Gerald Ford
, was appointed secretary of the treasury, while former Missouri senator John Ashcroft
was appointed attorney general.
As Bush had little foreign policy experience, his appointments would serve an important role in shaping U.S. foreign policy
during his tenure. Several of his initial top foreign policy appointees had served in his father's administration
; Vice President Cheney had been secretary of defense, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice had served on the National Security Council, and deputy secretaries Paul Wolfowitz
and Richard Armitage
had also served in important roles. Secretary of State Colin Powell
had served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the first president Bush.
Bush had long admired Powell, and the former general was Bush's first choice for the position. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
, who had served in the same position during the Ford administration
, rounded out the key figures in the national security team.
Rumsfeld and Cheney, who had served together in the Ford administration, emerged as the leading foreign policy figures during Bush's first term.
O'Neill, who opposed the Iraq War and feared that the Bush tax cuts would lead to deficits, was replaced by John W. Snow
in February 2003.
Frustrated by the decisions of the Bush administration, particularly the launching of the Iraq War, Powell resigned following the 2004 elections.
He was replaced by Rice, while then-deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley
took Rice's former position.
Most of Bush's top staffers stayed on after the 2004 election, although Spellings joined the Cabinet as secretary of education and Gonzales replaced Ashcroft as attorney general.
In early 2006, Card left the White House in the wake of the Dubai Ports World controversy
and several botched White House initiatives, and he was replaced by Joshua Bolten.
Bolten stripped Rove of some of his responsibilities and convinced Henry Paulson
, the head of Goldman Sachs
, to replace Snow as secretary of the treasury.
After the 2006 elections, Rumsfeld was replaced by former CIA director Robert Gates
The personnel shake-ups left Rice as one of the most prominent individuals in the administration, and she played a strong role in directing Bush's second term foreign policy.
Gonzales and Rove both left in 2007 after controversy regarding the dismissal of U.S. attorneys, and Gonzales was replaced by Michael Mukasey
, a former federal judge.
Senior non-cabinet officials and advisers
- Senior Advisor to the President – Karl Rove (2001–2007), Barry Steven Jackson (2007–2009)
- Counselor to the President – Karen Hughes (2001–2002), Dan Bartlett (2002–2007), Ed Gillespie (2007–2009)
- National Security Advisor – Condoleezza Rice (2001–2005), Stephen Hadley (2005–2009)
- White House Deputy Chief of Staff – Joe Hagin (2001–2008), Joshua Bolten (2001–2003), Harriet Miers (2003–2004), Karl Rove (2005–2007), Joel Kaplan (2006–2009), Blake Gottesman (2008–2009)
- White House Communications Director – Karen Hughes (2001), Dan Bartlett (2001–2005), Nicolle Wallace (2005–2006), Kevin Sullivan (2006–2009)
- White House Counsel – Alberto Gonzales (2001–2005), Harriet Miers (2005–2007), Fred Fielding (2007–2009)
- White House Press Secretary – Ari Fleischer (2001–2003), Scott McClellan (2003–2006), Tony Snow (2006–2007), Dana Perino (2007–2009)
- Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers – Glenn Hubbard (2001–2003), Greg Mankiw (2003–2005), Harvey S. Rosen (2005), Ben Bernanke (2005–2006), Edward Lazear (2006–2009)
- Ambassador to the United Nations – John Negroponte (2001–2004), John Danforth (2004–2005), John Bolton (2005–2006), Zalmay Khalilzad (2007–2009)
- Director of National Intelligence – John Negroponte (2005–2007), Mike McConnell (2007–2009)
- CIA Director – George Tenet (2001–2004), John E. McLaughlin (acting, 2004), Porter Goss (2004–2006), Michael Hayden (2006–2009)
- FBI Director – Louis Freeh (2001), Thomas J. Pickard (acting, 2001), Robert Mueller (2001–2009)
- FCC Chairman – Michael Powell (2001–2005), Kevin Martin (2005–2009)
After the 2004 election, many expected that the aging Chief Justice William Rehnquist
would step down from the United States Supreme Court
. Cheney and White House Counsel Harriet Miers selected two widely respected conservatives, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
judge John Roberts
and Fourth Circuit judge Michael Luttig
, as the two finalists. In June 2005, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
unexpectedly announced that she would retire from the court, and Bush nominated Roberts
for her position the following month. After Rehnquist died in September, Bush briefly considered elevating Associate Justice Antonin Scalia
to the position of chief justice, but instead chose to nominate Roberts for the position. Roberts won confirmation from the Senate in a 78–22 vote, with all Republicans and a narrow majority of Democrats voting to confirm Roberts.
To replace O'Connor, the Bush administration wanted to find a female nominee, but was unsatisfied with the conventional options available.
Bush settled on Miers, who had never served as a judge, but who had worked as a corporate lawyer and White House staffer.Her nomination
immediately faced opposition from conservatives (and liberals) who were wary of her unproven ideology and lack of judicial experience. After Senate majority leader Bill Frist
informed Bush that Miers did not have the votes necessary to win confirmation, Miers withdrew from consideration. Bush then nominated Samuel Alito
, who received strong support from conservatives but faced opposition from Democrats. Alito won confirmation in a 58–42 vote in January 2006.
In the years immediately after Roberts and Alito took office, the Roberts Court
was generally more conservative than the preceding Rehnquist Court
, largely because Alito tended to be more conservative than O'Connor had been.
Bush tax cuts
Federal finances and GDP during the George W. Bush presidency
Bush's promise to cut taxes was the centerpiece of his 2000 presidential campaign, and upon taking office, he made tax cuts his first major legislative priority. A budget surplus had developed during the Bill Clinton administration
, and with the Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan
's support, Bush argued that the best use of the surplus was to lower taxes.
By the time Bush took office, reduced economic growth had led to less robust federal budgetary projections, but Bush maintained that tax cuts were necessary to boost economic growth.
After Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill expressed concerns over the tax cut's size and the possibility of future deficits, Vice President Cheney took charge of writing the bill, which the administration proposed to Congress in March 2001.
Bush initially sought a $1.6 trillion tax cut over a ten-year period, but ultimately settled for a $1.35 trillion tax cut.
The administration rejected the idea of "triggers" that would phase out the tax reductions should the government again run deficits. The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001
won the support of congressional Republicans and a minority of congressional Democrats, and Bush signed it into law in June 2001. The act lowered the top income tax rate from 39 percent to 35 percent, and it also reduced the estate tax
. The narrow Republican majority in the Senate necessitated the use of the reconciliation
, which in turn necessitated that the tax cuts would phase out in 2011 barring further legislative action.
Contrary to the rhetoric of the Bush administration and Republicans, the tax cuts increased the budget deficit. Statements by President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney
, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
that these tax cuts effectively "paid for themselves" were disputed by the CBPP,
the U.S. Treasury Department and the CBO.
Aside from tax cuts, Bush's other major policy initiative upon taking office was education reform. Bush had a strong personal interest in reforming education, especially regarding the education of low-income and minority groups. He often derided the "soft bigotry of low expectations" for allowing low-income and minority groups to fall behind.
Although many conservatives were reluctant to increase federal involvement in education, Bush's success in campaigning on education reform in the 2000 election convinced many Republicans, including Congressman John Boehner
of Ohio, to accept an education reform bill that increased federal funding.
Seeking to craft a bipartisan bill, Bush courted Democratic senator Ted Kennedy
, a leading liberal
senator who served as the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, and Pensions
Bush favored extensive testing to ensure that schools met uniform standards for skills such as reading and math. Bush hoped that testing would make schools more accountable for their performances and provide parents with more information in choosing which schools to send their children. Kennedy shared Bush's concern for the education of impoverished children, but he strongly opposed the president's proposed school vouchers
, which would allow parents to use federal funding to pay for private schools. Both men cooperated to pass the No Child Left Behind Act
, which dropped the concept of school vouchers but included Bush's idea of nationwide testing. Both houses of Congress registered overwhelming approval for the bill's final version, which Bush signed into law in January 2002.
However, Kennedy would later criticize the implementation of the act, arguing that Bush had promised greater federal funding for education.
Surveillance and homeland security
Shortly after the September 11 attacks
, Bush announced the creation of the Office of Homeland Security
and appointed former governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge
After Congress passed the Homeland Security Act
to create the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS), Ridge became the first director of the newly created department. The department was charged with overseeing immigration, border control, customs, and the newly established Transportation Security Administration
(TSA), which focused on airport security
Though the FBI and CIA remained independent agencies, the DHS was assigned jurisdiction over the Coast Guard
, the Immigration and Naturalization Service
(which was divided into three agencies), the United States Customs Service
(which was also divided into separate agencies), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency
. The Homeland Security Act represented the most significant departmental reorganization since the National Security Act of 1947
Campaign finance reform
McCain's 2000 presidential campaign
brought the issue of campaign finance reform
to the fore of public consciousness in 2001.
McCain and Russ Feingold
pushed a bipartisan campaign finance bill in the Senate, while Chris Shays
(R-CT) and Marty Meehan
(D-MA) led the effort of passing it in the House.
In just the second successful use of the discharge petition
since the 1980s, a mixture of Democrats and Republicans defied Speaker Dennis Hastert
and passed a campaign finance reform bill.
The House approved the bill with a 240–189 vote,
while the bill passed the Senate in a 60–40 vote, the bare minimum required to overcome the filibuster.
Throughout the congressional battle on the bill, Bush declined to take a strong position.
However, in March 2002, Bush signed into law the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
, stating that he thought the law would improve the financing system for elections but was "far from perfect."
The law placed several limits on political donations and expenditures, and closed loopholes on contribution limits on donations to political candidates by banning the use of so-called "soft money."
Portions of the law restricting independent expenditures
would later be struck down by the Supreme Court in the 2010 case of Citizens United v. FEC
After the passage of the Bush tax cuts and the No Child Left Behind Act, Bush turned his domestic focus to healthcare. He sought to expand Medicare
so it would also cover the cost of prescription drugs
, a program that became known as Medicare Part D
. Many congressional Democrats opposed the bill because it did not allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of drugs, while many conservative Republicans opposed the expansion of the government's involvement in healthcare. Assisted by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Senate majority leader Bill Frist
, Bush overcame strong opposition and won passage of his Medicare bill.
In December 2003, Bush signed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act
, the largest expansion of Medicare since the program's creation in 1965.
Attempted Social Security reform
After winning re-election in 2004, Bush made the partial privatization of Social Security
his top domestic priority.
He proposed restructuring the program so that citizens could invest some of the money they paid in payroll taxes
, which fund the Social Security program.
The president argued that Social Security faced an imminent funding crisis and that reform was necessary to ensure its continuing solvency.
Bush expected a difficult congressional battle over his proposal, but, as he put it, "I've got political capital, and I intend to spend it."
Groups like the AARP
strongly opposed the plan, as did moderate Democrats like Max Baucus
, who had supported the Bush tax cuts. Ultimately, Bush failed to win the backing of a single congressional Democrat for his plan, and even moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe
and Lincoln Chafee
refused to back privatization. In the face of unified opposition, Republicans abandoned Bush's Social Security proposal in mid-2005.
Response to Hurricane Katrina
, one of the largest and most powerful hurricanes ever to strike the United States, ravaged several states along the Gulf of Mexico
in August 2005. On a working vacation at his ranch in Texas, Bush initially allowed state and local authorities to respond to the natural disaster. The hurricane made landfall on August 29, devastating the city of New Orleans
after the failure of that city's levees
. Over eighteen hundred people died in the hurricane, and Bush was widely criticized for his slow response to the disaster.
Stung by the public response, Bush removed Federal Emergency Management Agency
director Michael D. Brown
from office and stated publicly that "Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government."
After Hurricane Katrina, Bush's approval rating fell below 40 percent, where it would remain for the rest of his tenure in office.
Proposed immigration reform
President George W. Bush
outlining his comprehensive immigration reform proposal in a television address.
After years of financial deregulation accelerating under the Bush administration, banks lent subprime mortgages
to more and more home buyers, causing a housing bubble
. Many of these banks also invested in credit default swaps
that were essentially bets on the soundness of these loans. In response to declining housing prices and fears of an impending recession, the Bush administration arranged passage of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008
. Falling home prices started threatening the financial viability of many institutions, leaving Bear Stearns
, a prominent U.S.-based investment bank, on the brink of failure
in March 2008. Recognizing the growing threat of a financial crisis, Bush allowed Treasury secretary Paulson to arrange for another bank, JPMorgan Chase
, to take over most Bear Stearn's assets. Out of concern that Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac
might also fail, the Bush administration put both institutions into conservatorship
. Shortly afterwards, the administration learned that Lehman Brothers
was on the verge of bankruptcy, but the administration ultimately declined to intervene on behalf of Lehman Brothers.
Paulson hoped that the financial industry had shored itself up after the failure of Bear Stearns and that the failure of Lehman Brothers would not strongly impact the economy, but news of the failure caused stock prices to tumble and froze credit. Fearing a total financial collapse, Paulson and the Federal Reserve took control of American International Group
(AIG), another major financial institution that teetered on the brink of failure. Hoping to shore up the other banks, Bush and Paulson proposed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008
, which would create the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program
(TARP) to buy toxic assets
. The House rejected TARP in a 228–205 vote; although support and opposition crossed party lines, only about one-third of the Republican caucus supported the bill. After the Dow Jones Industrial Average
dropped 778 points on the day of the House vote, the House and Senate both passed TARP. Bush later extended TARP loans to U.S. automobile companies, which faced their own crisis
due to the weak economy. Though TARP helped end the financial crisis, it did not prevent the onset of the Great Recession
, which would continue long after Bush left office.
Early in his administration, President Bush became personally interested in the issue of stem cell
The Clinton administration had issued guidelines allowing the federal funding of research utilizing stem cells, and Bush decided to study the situation's ethics before issuing his own executive order on the issue. Evangelical religious groups argued that the research was immoral as it destroyed human embryos
, while various advocacy groups touted the potential scientific advances afforded by stem cell research.
In August 2001, Bush issued an executive order banning federal funding for research on new stem cell lines; the order allowed research on existing stem cell lines to continue.
In July 2006, Bush used his first presidential veto
on the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act
, which would have expanded federal
funding of embryonic stem cell research. A similar bill was passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate early in mid-2007 as part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
's 100-Hour Plan
, but was vetoed by Bush.
After the Supreme Court struck down a state sodomy law
in the 2003 case of Lawrence v. Texas
, conservatives began pushing for the Federal Marriage Amendment
, which would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Bush endorsed this proposal and made it part of his campaign during the 2004 and 2006 election cycles.
Bush was staunchly opposed to euthanasia
and supported Attorney General John Ashcroft's ultimately unsuccessful suit against the Oregon Death with Dignity Act
However, while he was governor of Texas
, Bush had signed a law giving hospitals the authority to remove life support
from terminally ill patients against the wishes of spouses or parents, if the doctors deemed it as medically appropriate.
This perceived inconsistency in policy became an issue in 2005, when Bush signed controversial legislation to initiate federal intervention in the court battle of Terri Schiavo
, a comatose Florida
woman who ultimately died.
In March 2001, the Bush administration announced that it would not implement the Kyoto Protocol
, an international treaty signed in 1997 that required nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The administration argued that ratifying the treaty would unduly restrict U.S. growth while failing to adequately limit emissions from developing nations.
Bush stated that he believed global warming
and a serious problem, although he asserted that there existed a "debate over whether it's man-made or naturally caused".
The Bush administration's stance on global warming remained controversial in the scientific and environmental communities. Critics alleged that the administration
misinformed the public and did not do enough to reduce carbon emissions and deter global warming.
On January 6, 2009, President Bush designated the world's largest protected marine area. The Pacific Ocean habitat includes the Mariana Trench
and the waters and corals surrounding three uninhabited islands in the Northern Mariana Islands
, Rose Atoll
in American Samoa, and seven islands along the equator.
In July 2002, following several accounting scandals
such as the Enron
scandal, Bush signed the Sarbanes–Oxley Act
into law. The act expanded reporting requirements for public companies
Shortly after the start of his second term, Bush signed the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005
, which had been a priority of his administration and part of his broader goal of instituting tort reform
. The act was designed to remove most class action
lawsuits from state courts to federal courts, which were regarded as less sympathetic to plaintiffs in class action suits.
Upon taking office, Bush had little experience with foreign policy, and his decisions were guided by his advisers. Bush embraced the views of Cheney and other neoconservatives
, who de-emphasized the importance of multilateralism
; neoconservatives believed that because the United States was the world's lone superpower
, it could act unilaterally if necessary.
At the same time, Bush sought to enact the less interventionist
foreign policy he had promised during the 2000 campaign.
Though the first several months of his presidency focused on domestic issues, the Bush administration pulled the U.S. out of several existing or proposed multilateral agreements, including the Kyoto Protocol, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
, and the International Criminal Court
September 11 attacks
Bush making remarks from Ground Zero
on September 14, 2001
Terrorism had emerged as an important national security issue in the Clinton administration, and it became one of the dominant issues of the Bush administration.
In the late 1980s, Osama bin Laden
had established al-Qaeda
, a militant SunniIslamist
multi-national organization that sought to overthrow Western-backed governments in Saudi Arabia
, and Pakistan
. In response to Saudi Arabia's decision to begin hosting U.S. soldiers in 1991, al-Qaeda had begun a terrorist campaign against U.S. targets, orchestrating attacks such as the 1998 USS Cole bombing
. During Bush's first months in office, U.S. intelligence organizations intercepted communications indicating that al-Qaeda was planning another attack
on the United States, but foreign policy officials were unprepared for a major attack on the United States.
Bush was briefed on al-Qaeda's activities, but focused on other foreign policy issues during his first months in office.
On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terroristshijacked
four airliners and flew two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center
in New York City
, destroying both 110-story skyscrapers. Another plane
crashed into Pentagon
, and a fourth plane
was brought down in Pennsylvania following a struggle between the terrorists and the aircraft's passengers.
The attacks had a profound effect on many Americans, who felt vulnerable to international attacks for the first time since the end of the Cold War
Appearing on national television on the night of the attacks, Bush promised to punish those who had aided the attacks, stating, "we will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." In the following days, Bush urged the public to renounce hate crimes and discrimination against Muslim-Americans
He also declared a "War on Terror
", instituting new domestic and foreign policies in an effort to prevent future terrorist attacks.
War in Afghanistan
As Bush's top foreign policy advisers were in agreement that merely launching strikes against al-Qaeda bases would not stop future attacks, the administration decided to overthrow Afghanistan
's conservative Taliban
government, which harbored the leaders of al-Qaeda.
Powell took the lead in assembling allied nations in a coalition that would launch attacks on multiple fronts.
The Bush administration focused especially on courting Pakistani
leader Pervez Musharraf
, who agreed to join the coalition.
On September 14, Congress passed a resolution called the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists
, authorizing the president to use the military against those responsible for the attacks. On October 7, 2001 Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan
General Tommy Franks
, the commander of the United States Central Command
(CENTCOM), drew up a four-phase invasion plan. In the first phase, the U.S. built up forces in the surrounding area and inserted CIA and special forces operatives who linked up with the Northern Alliance
, an Afghan resistance group opposed to the Taliban. The second phase consisted of a major air campaign against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets, while the third phase involved the defeat of the remaining Taliban and al-Qaeda forces. The fourth and final phase consisted of the stabilization of Afghanistan, which Franks projected would take three to five years. The war in Afghanistan began on October 7 with several air and missile strikes, and the Northern Alliance began its offensive on October 19. The capital of Kabul
was captured on November 13, and Hamid Karzai
was inaugurated as the new president of Afghanistan. However, the senior leadership of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, including bin Laden, avoided capture. Karzai would remain in power for the duration of Bush's presidency, but his effective control was limited to the area around Kabul, as various warlords took control of much of the rest of the country.
While the Karzai's government struggled to control the countryside, the Taliban regrouped in neighboring Pakistan. As Bush left office, he considered sending additional troops to bolster Afghanistan against the Taliban, but decided to leave the issue for the next administration.
After the September 11 attacks, Bush's approval ratings increased tremendously. Inspired in part by the Truman administration
, Bush decided to use his newfound political capital to fundamentally change U.S. foreign policy. He became increasingly focused on the possibility of a hostile country providing weapons of mass destruction
(WMDs) to terrorist organizations.
During his early 2002 State of the Union Address
, Bush set forth what has become known as the Bush Doctrine
, which held that the United States would implement a policy of preemptive military strikes
against nations known to be harboring or aiding a terrorist organization hostile to the United States.
Bush outlined what he called the "Axis of Evil
," consisting of three nations that, he argued, posed the greatest threat to world peace due to their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and potential to aid terrorists. The axis consisted of Iraq
, North Korea
Bush also began emphasizing the importance of spreading democracy worldwide, stating in 2005 that "the survival of liberty in our land depends on the success of liberty in other land." Pursuant to this newly-interventionist policy, the Bush administration boosted foreign aid and increased defense expenditures.
Defense spending rose from $304 billion in fiscal year 2001 to $616 billion in fiscal year 2008.
Prelude to the war
During the presidency of George H. W. Bush
, the United States had launched the Gulf War
after the latter invaded Kuwait
. Though the U.S. forced Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait, it left Saddam Hussein
's administration in place, partly to serve as a counterweight to Iran
. After the war, the Project for the New American Century
, consisting of influential neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz and Cheney, advocated for the overthrow of Hussein.
Iraq had developed nuclear and chemical weapons
prior to the Gulf War; after the war, it had submitted to WMD inspections conducted by the United Nations Special Commission
until 1998, when Hussein demanded that all UN inspectors leave Iraq.
The administration believed that, by 2001, Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, and could possibly provide those weapons to terrorists.
Some within the administration also believed that Iraq shared some responsibility for the September 11 attacks,
and hoped that the fall of Hussein's regime would help spread democracy in the Middle East, deter the recruitment of terrorists, and increase the security of Israel
In the days following the September 11 attacks, hawks in the Bush administration such as Wolfowitz argued for immediate military action against Iraq, but the issue was temporarily set aside in favor of planning the invasion of Afghanistan.
Beginning in September 2002, the Bush administration mounted a campaign designed to win popular and congressional support for the invasion of Iraq.
In October 2002, Congress approved the Iraq Resolution
, authorizing the use of force against Iraq. While congressional Republicans almost unanimously supported the measure, congressional Democrats were split in roughly equal numbers between support and opposition to the resolution.
Bowing to domestic and foreign pressure, Bush sought to win the approval of the United Nations
before launching an attack on Iraq.
Led by Powell, the administration won the November 2002 passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441
, which called on Iraq to dismantle its WMD program.
Meanwhile, senior administration officials became increasingly convinced that Iraq did indeed possess WMDs and was likely to furnish those WMDs to al-Qaeda; CIA Director George Tenet
assured Bush that it was a "slam dunk" that Iraq possessed a stockpile of WMDs.
After a U.N. weapons inspections
team led by Hans Blix
, as well as another team led by Mohamed ElBaradei
, failed to find evidence of an ongoing Iraqi WMD program, Bush's proposed regime change in Iraq faced mounting international opposition. Germany, China, France, and Russia all expressed skepticism about the need for regime change, and the latter three countries each possessed veto power
on the United Nations Security Council
At the behest of British prime minister Tony Blair
, who supported Bush but hoped for more international cooperation, Bush dispatched Powell to the U.N. to make the case to the Security Council that Iraq maintained an active WMD program.
Though Powell's presentation preceded a shift in U.S. public opinion towards support of the war, it failed to convince the French, Russians, or Germans.
Contrary to the findings of Blix and ElBaradei, Bush asserted in a March 17 public address that there was "no doubt" that the Iraqi regime possessed weapons of mass destruction. Two days later, Bush authorized Operation Iraqi Freedom
, and the Iraq War
began on March 20, 2003.
Invasion of Iraq
On May 1, 2003, Bush delivered the "Mission Accomplished speech
," in which he declared the end of "major combat operations" in Iraq.
Despite the failure to find evidence of an ongoing WMD program[a]
or an operational relationship between Hussein and al-Qaeda
, Bush declared that the toppling of Hussein "removed an ally of al-Qaeda" and ended the threat that Iraq would supply weapons of mass destruction to terrorist organizations. Believing that only a minimal residual American force would be required after the success of the invasion, Bush and Franks planned for a drawdown to 30,000 U.S. troops in Iraq by August 2003. Meanwhile, Iraqis began looting their own capital, presenting one of the first of many challenges the U.S. would face in keeping the peace in Iraq.
Bush appointed Paul Bremer
to lead the Coalition Provisional Authority
(CPA), which was charged with overseeing the transition to self-government in Iraq. In his first major order, Bremer announced a policy of de-Ba'athification
, which denied government and military jobs to members of Hussein's Ba'ath Party
. This policy angered many of Iraq's Sunnis
, many of whom had joined the Ba'ath Party merely as a career move. Bremer's second major order
disbanded the Iraqi military and police services, leaving over 600,000 Iraqi soldiers and government employees without jobs. Bremer also insisted that the CPA remain in control of Iraq until the country held elections, reversing an earlier plan to set up a transition government led by Iraqis. These decisions contributed to the beginning of the Iraqi insurgency
opposed to the continuing U.S. presence. Fearing the further deterioration of Iraq's security situation, General John Abizaid
ordered the end of the planned drawdown of soldiers, leaving over 130,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The U.S. captured Hussein in December 2003, but the occupation force continued to suffer casualties. Between the start of the invasion and the end of 2003, 580 U.S. soldiers died, with two thirds of those casualties occurring after Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech.
Troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan[b]
After 2003, more and more Iraqis began to see the U.S. as an occupying force. The fierce fighting of the First Battle of Fallujah
alienated many in Iraq, while cleric Muqtada al-Sadr
Muslims to oppose the CPA.
Sunni and Shia insurgents engaged in a campaign of guerrilla warfare
against the United States, blunting the technological and organizational advantages of the U.S. military.
While fighting in Iraq continued, Americans increasingly came to disapprove of Bush's handling of the Iraq War, contributing to a decline in Bush's approval ratings.
Bremer left Iraq in June 2004, transferring power to the Iraqi Interim Government
, which was led by Ayad Allawi
In January 2005, the Iraqi people voted on
representatives for the Iraqi National Assembly
, and the Shia United Iraqi Alliance
formed a governing coalition led by Ibrahim al-Jaafari
. In October 2005, the Iraqis ratified a new constitution
that created a decentralized governmental structure dividing Iraq into communities of Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, and Kurds
. After a December 2005 election
, Jafari was succeeded as prime minister by another Shia, Nouri al-Maliki
. The elections failed to quell the insurgency, and hundreds of U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq died during 2005 and 2006. Sectarian violence
between Sunnis and Shias also intensified following the 2006 al-Askari mosque bombing
In a December 2006 report, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group
described the situation in Iraq as "grave and deteriorating," and the report called for the U.S. to gradually withdraw soldiers from Iraq.
As the violence mounted in 2006, Rumsfeld and military leaders such as Abizaid and George Casey
, the commander of the coalition forces in Iraq
, called for a drawdown of forces in Iraq, but many within in the administration argued that the U.S. should maintain its troop levels.
Still intent on establishing a democratic government in Iraq, the Bush administration rejected a drawdown and began planning for a change in strategy and leadership following the 2006 elections.
After the elections, Bush replaced Rumsfeld with Gates, while David Petraeus
replaced Casey and William J. Fallon
Bush and his National Security Council formed a plan to "double down" in Iraq, increasing the number of U.S. soldiers in hopes of establishing a stable democracy.
After Maliki indicated his support for an increase of U.S. soldiers, Bush announced in January 2007 that the U.S. would send an additional 20,000 soldiers to Iraq as part of a "surge
" of forces.
Though Senator McCain and a few other hawks supported Bush's new strategy, many other members of Congress from both parties expressed doubt or outright opposition to it.
In April 2007, Congress, now controlled by Democrats, passed a bill that called for a total withdrawal of all U.S. troops by April 2008, but Bush vetoed the bill.
Without the votes to override the veto, Congress passed a bill that continued to fund the war but also included the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007
, which increased the federal minimum wage
U.S. and Iraqi casualties continuously declined after May 2007, and Bush declared that the surge had been a success in September 2007.
He subsequently ordered a drawdown of troops, and the number of U.S. soldiers in Iraq declined from 168,000 in September 2007 to 145,000 when Bush left office.
The decline in casualties following the surge coincided with several other favorable trends, including the Anbar Awakening
and Muqtada al-Sadr's decision to order his followers to cooperate with the Iraqi government.
In 2008, at the insistence of Maliki, Bush signed the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement
, which promised complete withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of 2011.
The U.S. would withdraw
its forces from Iraq in December 2011,
though it later re-deployed soldiers to Iraq to assist government forces in the Iraqi Civil War
Guantanamo Bay and enemy combatants
During and after the invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. captured numerous members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Rather than bringing the prisoners before domestic or international courts, Bush decided to set up a new system of military tribunals
to try the prisoners. In order to avoid the restrictions of the United States Constitution, Bush held the prisoners at secret CIA prisons
in various countries as well as at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp
. Because the Guantanamo Bay camp is on territory that the U.S. technically leases from Cuba
, individuals within the camp are not accorded the same constitutional protections that they would have on U.S. territory. Bush also decided that these "enemy combatants
" were not entitled to all of the protections of the Geneva Conventions
as they were not affiliated with sovereign states. In hopes of obtaining information from the prisoners, Bush allowed the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques
" such as waterboarding
The treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib
, a U.S. prison in Iraq, elicited widespread outrage after photos of prisoner abuse were made public.
In 2005, Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act
, which purported to ban torture
, but in his signing statement
Bush asserted that his executive power gave him the authority to waive the restrictions put in place by the bill.
Bush's policies suffered a major rebuke from the Supreme Court in the 2006 case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
, in which the court rejected Bush's use of military commissions without congressional approval and held that all detainees were protected by the Geneva Conventions.
Following the ruling, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006
, which effectively overturned Hamdan
The Supreme Court overturned a portion of that act in the 2008 case of Boumediene v. Bush
, but the Guantanamo detention camp remained open at the end of Bush's presidency.
President George W. Bush
discussing the Israeli–Palestinian issue with various world leaders.
Free trade agreements
Believing that protectionism hampered economic growth, Bush concluded free trade agreements
with numerous countries. When Bush took office, the United States had free trade agreements with just three countries: Israel, Canada, and Mexico. Bush signed the Chile–United States Free Trade Agreement
and the Singapore–United States Free Trade Agreement
in 2003, and he concluded the Morocco-United States Free Trade Agreement
and the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement
the following year. He also concluded the Bahrain–United States Free Trade Agreement
, the Oman–United States Free Trade Agreement
, the Peru–United States Trade Promotion Agreement
, and the Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement
. Additionally, Bush reached free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, though agreements with these countries were not ratified until 2011.
Bush emphasized creating a personal relationship with Russian
president Vladimir Putin
in order to ensure harmonious relations between the U.S. and Russia. After meeting with Putin in June 2001, both presidents expressed optimism regarding cooperation between the two former Cold War
After the 9/11 attacks, Putin allowed the U.S. to use Russian airspace, and Putin encouraged Central Asian
states to grant basing rights to the U.S.
In May 2002, the U.S. and Russia signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty
, which sought to dramatically reduce the nuclear stockpiles of both countries.
Relations between Bush and Putin cooled during Bush's second term, as Bush became increasingly critical of Putin's suppression of political opponents in Russia, and they fell to new lows after the outbreak of the Russo-Georgian War
In his 2002 State of the Union Address, Bush grouped Iran with Iraq and North Korea as a member of the "Axis of Evil", accusing Iran of aiding terrorist organizations.
In 2006, Iran re-opened three of its nuclear facilities, potentially allowing it to begin the process of building a nuclear bomb.
After the resumption of the Iranian nuclear program, many within the U.S. military and foreign policy community speculated that Bush might attempt to impose regime change on Iran.
In December 2006, the United Nations Security Council
unanimously passed Resolution 1737
, which imposed sanctions on Iran in order to curb its nuclear program.
had developed weapons of mass destruction
for several years prior to Bush's inauguration, and the Clinton administration had sought to trade economic assistance for an end to the North Korean WMD program. Though Secretary of State Powell urged the continuation of the rapprochement, other administration officials, including Vice President Cheney, were more skeptical of the good faith of the North Koreans. Bush instead sought to isolate North Korea in the hope that the regime would eventually collapse.
Shortly after taking office, Bush pledged $200 million to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Finding this effort insufficient, Bush assembled a team of experts to find the best way for the U.S. reduce the worldwide damage caused by the AIDS
The experts, led by Anthony S. Fauci
, recommended that the U.S. focus on providing antiretroviral drugs to developing nations in Africa and the Caribbean.
In his State of the Union message in January 2003, President Bush outlined a five-year strategy for global emergency AIDS
relief, the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief
. With the approval of Congress, Bush committed $15 billion to this effort, which represented a huge increase compared to funding under previous administrations. Near the end of his presidency, Bush signed a re-authorization of the program that doubled its funding. By 2012, the PEPFAR program provided antiretroviral drugs for over 4.5 million people.
Countries visited by President George W. Bush, 2001-2009:
7 or more visits
Bush made 48 international trips to 72 different countries (in addition to visiting the West Bank
) during his presidency.
He visited six continents
, North America
, and South America
. On one of his two trips to Sub-Saharan Africa
, he visited three of the poorest countries in the world: Liberia
, and Benin
. He was the first sitting president to visit: Albania
, Benin, Estonia
, and the United Arab Emirates
. Bush also made a secret trip to Iraq on Thanksgiving Day
2003 to dine with the troops. His father had made a similar visit to the U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia in 1990. On November 15–20, 2006, Bush made the third round the world presidential flight (after Johnson
The number of visits per country where he travelled are:
- One visit to Albania, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Benin, Botswana, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Kosovo, Kuwait, Liberia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vietnam, and the West Bank
- Two visits to Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Jordan, Latvia, Peru, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, and Thailand
- Three visits to Egypt, South Korea, and Poland
- Four visits to Canada, China, France, Iraq, and Japan
- Five visits to Germany, the United Kingdom, and Vatican City
- Six visits to Italy and Mexico
- Seven visits to Russia
CIA leak scandal
In July 2005, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney
's respective chief political advisers, Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby
, came under fire for revealing the identity of covert Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) agent Valerie Plame
to reporters in the CIA leak scandal
Plame's husband, Joseph C. Wilson
, had challenged Bush's assertion that Hussein had sought to obtain uranium from Africa, and a special prosecutor was tasked with determining whether administration officials had leaked Plame's identity in retribution against Wilson.
Libby resigned on October 28, hours after his indictment
by a grand jury
on multiple counts of perjury
, false statements, and obstruction
in this case. In March 2007, Libby was convicted on four counts, and Cheney pressed Bush to pardon Libby. Rather than pardoning Libby or allowing him to go to jail, Bush commuted Libby's sentence, creating a split with Cheney, who accused Bush of leaving "a soldier on the battlefield."
Dismissal of United States attorneys
President Bush announcing his nomination of Alberto Gonzales as the next U.S. Attorney General, November 10, 2004
In December 2006, Bush dismissed eight United States attorneys
. Though these attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, the large-scale mid-term dismissal was without precedent, and Bush faced accusations that he had dismissed the attorneys for purely political reasons. During the 2006 elections, several Republican officials complained that the U.S. attorneys had not sufficiently investigated voter fraud
. With the encouragement of Harriet Miers and Karl Rove, Attorney General Gonzales dismissed eight U.S. attorneys who were considered insufficiently supportive of the administration's policies. Though Gonzales argued that the attorneys had been fired for performance reasons, publicly released documents showed that the attorneys were dismissed for political reasons. As a result of the dismissals and the subsequent congressional investigations, Rove and Gonzales both resigned. A 2008 report by the Justice Department inspector general found that the dismissals had been politically motivated, but no one was ever prosecuted in connection to the dismissals.
Gallup/USA Today Bush public opinion polling from February 2001 to January 2009.
Bush's approval ratings
ran the gamut from high to all-time record low. Bush began his presidency with ratings near fifty percent.
In the time of national crisis following the September 11 attacks
, polls showed approval ratings of greater than 85%, peaking in one October 2001 poll at 92%,
and a steady 80–90% approval for about four months after the attacks.
Afterward, his ratings steadily declined as the economy suffered and the Iraq War
initiated by his administration continued. By early 2006, his average rating was averaging below 40%, and in July 2008, a poll indicated a near all-time low of 22%. Upon leaving office the final poll recorded his approval rating as 19%, a record low for any U.S. president.
Elections during the Bush presidency
In the 2002 mid-term elections, Bush became the first president since the 1930s to see his own party pick up seats in both houses of Congress. Republicans picked up two seats in the Senate elections
, allowing them to re-take control of the chamber.
Bush delivered speeches in several venues in support of his party, campaigning on his desire to remove the administration of Saddam Hussein. Bush saw the election results as a vindication of his domestic and foreign policies.
2004 re-election campaign
Bush and his campaign team seized on the idea of Bush as a "strong wartime leader," though this was undermined by the increasingly-unpopular Iraq War.
His conservative policies on tax cuts and several other issues appealed to many on the right, but Bush could also lay claim to some centrist achievements, including No Child Left Behind, Sarbanes-Oxley, and Medicare Part D.
Fearing that he might hurt Bush's re-election chances, Cheney offered to step down from the ticket, but Bush refused this offer, and the two were re-nominated without opposition at the 2004 Republican National Convention
On the advice of pollster Matthew Dowd
, who perceived a steady decline in the number of swing voters
, the 2004 Bush campaign emphasized turning out conservative voters rather than the persuasion of moderates.
Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry
in the 2004 presidential election.
In the 2004 Democratic primaries
, Senator John Kerry
of Massachusetts defeated several other candidates, effectively clinching the nomination on March 2. A Vietnam War
veteran, Kerry had voted to authorize the Iraq War but had come to oppose it.
The Bush campaign sought to define Kerry as a "flip-flopper" due to his vote on a bill funding the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Kerry sought to convince Republican senator John McCain to become his running mate
, but chose Senator John Edwards
of North Carolina for the position after McCain rejected the offer.
The election saw a major jump in turnout; while 105 million people had voted in 2000, 123 million people voted in 2004. Bush won 50.7% percent of the popular vote, making him the first individual to win a majority of the popular vote since 1988 United States presidential election
, while Kerry took 48.3% of the popular vote. Bush won 286 electoral votes, winning Iowa, New Mexico, and every state he won in 2000 except for New Hampshire.
2006 mid-term elections
Damaged by the unpopularity of the Iraq War and President Bush, the Republicans lost control of both houses of Congress in the 2006 elections. Republicans were also damaged by various scandals, including the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal
and the Mark Foley scandal
. The elections confirmed Bush's declining popularity, as many of the candidates he had personally campaigned for were defeated. After the elections, Bush announced the resignation of Rumsfeld and promised to work with the new Democratic majority.
2008 elections and transition period
Under the terms of the twenty-second amendment
, Bush was ineligible to seek a third term in 2008. Senator John McCain won the 2008 Republican primaries
, while Democratic senator Barack Obama
of Illinois defeated Senator Hillary Clinton
to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
Obama's victory in the Democratic primaries was due in large part to his strong opposition to the Iraq War, as Clinton had voted to authorize the Iraq War in 2002.
McCain sought to distance himself from the unpopular policies of Bush, and Bush appeared only by satellite at the 2008 Republican National Convention
, making him the first sitting president since Lyndon Johnson
to not appear at his own party's convention.
McCain briefly took the lead in polls of the race taken after the Republican convention, but Obama quickly re-emerged as the leader in polls.
McCain's campaign was badly damaged by the unpopularity of the Bush administration and the Iraq War, and McCain's response to the outbreak of a full-blown financial crisis in September 2008 was widely viewed as erratic.
Obama won 365 electoral votes and 52.9% of the popular vote. The election gave Democrats unified control of the legislative and executive branches for the first time since the 1994 elections
. After the election, Bush congratulated Obama and invited him to the White House. With the help of the Bush administration, the presidential transition of Barack Obama
was widely regarded as successful, particularly for a transition between presidents of different parties.
During his inauguration
on January 20, 2009, Obama thanked Bush for his service as president and his support of Obama's transition.
Evaluation and legacy
A 2009 C-SPAN
survey of historians ranked
Bush in 36th place among the 42 former presidents.
A 2017 C-Span
poll of historians ranked Bush as the 33rd greatest president.
A 2018 poll of the American Political Science Association
's Presidents and Executive Politics section ranked Bush as the 30th greatest president.
Historian Melvyn Leffler writes that the Bush administration's achievements in foreign policy "were outweighed by the administration's failure to achieve many of its most important goals."
In summing up evaluations of Bush's presidency, Gary L. Gregg II writes:
The Bush presidency transformed American politics, its economy, and its place in the world, but not in ways that could have been predicted when the governor of Texas declared his candidacy for America's highest office. As president, Bush became a lightning rod for controversy. His controversial election and policies, especially the war in Iraq, deeply divided the American people. Arguably his greatest moment as president was his initial, heartfelt response to the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks. Soon, however, his administration was overshadowed by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. President Bush's place in U.S. history will be debated and reconsidered for many years to come.
Andrew Rudalevige has compiled a list of the 14 most important achievements under the Bush administration:
- Major revisions of the tax code, with additional cuts in each of his first six years in office.
- Major educational policy changes and reauthorization of major federal education laws.
- Expansion of Medicare by adding drug coverage.
- Name two justices to the Supreme Court, and 350 judges to lower federal courts.
- Promoted the Partial Birth Abortion Ban.
- Large-scale AIDS and anti-malaria programs especially for Africa.
- Quadrupling the number of countries with free trade agreements.
- Huge bailout of banking system after near collapse of the financial system.
- Created the Department of Homeland Security.
- White House control over federal bureaucracy.
- Patriot Acts which broaden federal law enforcement powers.
- Strengthen presidential discretion on surveillance of terror suspects.
- Military Commissions Act, with special application to Guantánamo Bay prison.
- Overthrow of two hostile regimes – Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
- ^ No ongoing WMD program was ever found in Iraq, although the U.S. did discover some chemical weapons that had been produced prior to 1991.
- ^ The table shows the number of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at the beginning of each year.
- ^ a b A small portion of the 107th Congress (January 3–19, 2001) took place under President Clinton, and only a small portion of the 111th Congress (January 3–19, 2009) took place during Bush's second term.
- ^ a b Mann (2015), pp. 31-37
- ^ Draper (2007), pp. 5–6
- ^ Mann (2015), pp. 35-42
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 152-156
- ^ Draper (2007), pp. 94–95
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 134-135
- ^ Mann (2015), pp. 53-54, 76-77
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 129-134
- ^ a b Herring (2008), pp. 938–939
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 389-390
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 382-383
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 417-418
- ^ Draper (2007), pp. 278–280, 283
- ^ Draper (2007), pp. 363–367
- ^ Draper (2007), pp. 369–371
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 515-517
- ^ Herring (2008), p. 959
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 572-575
- ^ a b c Smith (2016), pp. 427-428, 445-452
- ^ Draper (2007), pp. 343–345
- ^ James L. Gibson, and Gregory A. Caldeira, "Confirmation politics and the legitimacy of the US Supreme Court: Institutional loyalty, positivity bias, and the Alito nomination." American Journal of Political Science 53.1 (2009): 139-155. online
- ^ Liptak, Adam (July 24, 2010). "Court Under Roberts Is Most Conservative in Decades". New York Times. Archived from the original on February 23, 2019. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
- ^ All figures, except for debt percentage, are presented in billions of dollars. The receipt, outlay, deficit, GDP, and debt figures are calculated for the fiscal year, which ends on September 30. For example, fiscal year 2020 ended on September 30, 2020.
- ^ Represents the national debt held by the public as a percentage of GDP
- ^ "Historical Tables". White House. Table 1.1: Office of Management and Budget. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- ^ "Historical Tables". White House. Table 1.2: Office of Management and Budget. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- ^ "Historical Tables". White House. Table 7.1: Office of Management and Budget. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
- ^ a b Smith (2016), pp. 160-161
- ^ Draper (2007), pp. 119–120
- ^ Draper (2007), p. 120
- ^ a b Mann (2015), pp. 43-48, Smith, pp. 161-162
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- ^ a b Smith (2016), pp. 166-167
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- ^ a b c Mann (2015), pp. 63-65
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- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 390-391
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- ^ Mann (2015), pp. 132-137
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 631-632, 659-660
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- ^ Draper (2007), p. 123
- ^ Mann (2015), pp. 49-50
- ^ Draper (2007), pp. 125–126
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- ^ Draper (2007), pp. 377–379
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- ^ Draper (2007), pp. 166–169
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- ^ a b Mann (2015), pp. 72-75, 78-81
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- ^ a b Smith (2016), pp. 596-597
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- ^ Logan, Joseph (December 18, 2011). "Last U.S. troops leave Iraq, ending war". Reuters. Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
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- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 499-501
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 505-507
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 508-509
- ^ a b Smith (2016), pp. 204-206
- ^ Gay Stolberg, Sheryl (2 August 2006). "Bush and Israel: Unlike his father - Americas - International Herald Tribune". New York Times. Archived from the original on 8 April 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 214-215
- ^ Kessler, Glenn (15 June 2007). "Takeover by Hamas Illustrates Failure of Bush's Mideast Vision". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 26 December 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 585-586
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 199-203
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 248-249
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 306-307
- ^ Baker, Peter (November 6, 2013). "The Seduction of George W. Bush". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on February 25, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
- ^ "How Iran Entered the 'Axis'". PBS. Archived from the original on 20 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- ^ Weisman, Steven; Fathi, Nazila (11 January 2006). "Iranians Reopen Nuclear Centers". New York Times. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- ^ Hersh, Seymour M. (17 April 2006). "The Iran Plans". New Yorker. Archived from the original on 19 October 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- ^ Gootman, Elissa (24 December 2006). "Security Council Approves Sanctions Against Iran Over Nuclear Program". New York Times. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- ^ Mann (2015), pp. 186-189
- ^ "North Korea pledges to test nuclear bomb". CNN. 2006-10-04. Archived from the original on 2006-10-22. Retrieved 2006-10-16.
- ^ NBC News and lnews services (2006-10-16). "U.S. confirms N. Korean blast was radioactive". NBC News. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2006-10-16.
- ^ Associated Press (2006-10-14). "Security Council Unanimously Approves Sanctions on N. Korea". Fox News Channel. Archived from the original on 2006-10-15. Retrieved 2006-10-14.
- ^ Kessler, Glenn (13 March 2015). "Cotton's misguided history lesson on the North Korean nuclear deal". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 12 November 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
- ^ a b c Smith (2016), pp. 553-554
- ^ Mann (2015), pp. 91-92
- ^ "Travels of President George W. Bush". U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian. Archived from the original on 2011-12-04. Retrieved 2016-03-26.
- ^ a b Smith (2016), pp. 452-455
- ^ Draper (2007), p. 309
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 564-575
- ^ a b c Roper Center (2009). "Job Performance Ratings for President Bush". Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2009.
- ^ USA Today (May 20, 2005). "CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP Poll". Archived from the original on September 9, 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
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- ^ "The National Economy". americanresearchgroup.com. February 19, 2009. Archived from the original on January 25, 2009.
- ^ Republican seats at the start of each session of Congress. Independents caucusing with the Democratic Party (Jim Jeffords, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Lieberman) are counted as Democrats for the purposes of this table. Throughout Bush's presidency, there were a total of 100 Senate seats in 435 House seats, so a Republican majority in the Senate required 50 seats (since Republican Vice President Dick Cheney could provide the tie-breaking vote), and a Republican majority in the House required 218 seats (assuming no vacancies).
- ^ In June 2001, Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party and began caucusing with the Democrats, giving the Democrats a majority.
- ^ Mann (2015), pp. 78-79
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 329-330
- ^ Mann (2015), pp. 92-93
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 383-384
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 392-393
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 401-403
- ^ Mann (2015), pp. 96-97
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 404-405
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 412-415
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 519-526
- ^ a b Smith (2016), pp. 634-637
- ^ Jacobson (2010), pp. 212–213
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 637-638
- ^ Jacobson (2010), pp. 216–218
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 638-639
- ^ Smith (2016), pp. 652-654
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- ^ Leffler (2011), pp. 38–40
- ^ Gregg II, Gary L. "GEORGE W. BUSH: IMPACT AND LEGACY". Miller Center. University of Virginia. Archived from the original on 16 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- ^ Andrew Rudalevige, "Rating Bush," in Iwan Morgan, and Philip Davies, eds. Assessing George W. Bush's Legacy: The Right Man? (2010) pp 32-5 at pp 21-22.
- Abramson, Paul R., John H. Aldrich, and David W. Rohde. Change and Continuity in the 2004 and 2006 Elections (2007), 324pp excerpt and text search
- Allard, Scott W. "The Changing Face of Welfare During the Bush Administration." Publius 2007 37(3): 304–332. ISSN 0048-5950
- Baker, Peter (2013). Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House. Doubleday.
- Barilleaux, Ryan, et al. Testing the limits: George W. Bush and the imperial presidency (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009).
- Berggren, D. Jason, and Nicol C. Rae. "Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush: Faith, Foreign Policy, and an Evangelical Presidential Style." Presidential Studies Quarterly. 36#4 2006. pp 606+. online edition
- Brands, Hal, and Peter Feaver. "The case for Bush revisionism: Reevaluating the legacy of America’s 43rd president." Journal of Strategic Studies 41.1-2 (2018): 234–274. online
- Campbell, Colin, Bert A. Rockman, and Andrew Rudalevige, eds.. The George W. Bush Legacy Congressional Quarterly Press, 2007, 352pp; 14 essays by scholars excerpts and online search from Amazon.com
- Congressional Quarterly. CQ Almanac Plus highly detailed annual compilation of events in Congress, White House, Supreme Court, summarizing the weekly "Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report". (annual, 2002–2009)
Congressional Quarterly. Congress and the Nation: Volume 12: 2005-2008
(CQ Press, 2009) online
- Conlan, Tim and John Dinan. "Federalism, the Bush Administration, and the Transformation of American Conservatism." Publius 2007 37(3): 279–303. ISSN 0048-5950
- Corrado, Anthony, E. J. Dionne Jr., Kathleen A. Frankovic. The Election of 2000: Reports and Interpretations (2001) online edition
- Daynes, Byron W. and Glen Sussman. "Comparing the Environmental Policies of Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush." White House Studies 2007 7(2): 163–179. ISSN 1535-4768
- Desch, Michael C. "Bush and the Generals." Foreign Affairs 2007 86(3): 97–108. ISSN 0015-7120 Fulltext: Ebsco
- Eckersley, Robyn. "Ambushed: the Kyoto Protocol, the Bush Administration's Climate Policy and the Erosion of Legitimacy." International Politics 2007 44(2–3): 306–324. ISSN 1384-5748
- Edwards III, George C. and Philip John Davies, eds. New Challenges for the American Presidency New York: Pearson Longman, 2004. 245 pp. articles from Presidential Studies Quarterly
- Edwards III, George C. and Desmond King, eds. The Polarized Presidency of George W. Bush (2007), 478pp; essays by scholars; excerpt and online search from Amazon.com
- Fortier, John C. and Norman J. Ornstein, eds. Second-term Blues: How George W. Bush Has Governed (2007), 146pp excerpt and online search from Amazon.com
- Graham John D. Bush on the Home Front: Domestic Policy Triumphs and Setbacks (Indiana University Press, 2010) 425 pages; covers taxation, education, health care, energy, the environment, and regulatory reform.
- Greenstein, Fred I. ed. The George W. Bush Presidency: An Early Assessment Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003
- Greenstein, Fred I. "The Contemporary Presidency: The Changing Leadership of George W. Bush A Pre- and Post-9/11 Comparison" in Presidential Studies Quarterly v 32#2 2002 pp 387+. online edition
- Gregg II, Gary L. and Mark J. Rozell, eds. Considering the Bush Presidency Oxford University Press, 2004. 210 pp. British perspectives
- Hendrickson, Ryan C., and Kristina Spohr Readman, "From the Baltic to the Black Sea: Bush's NATO Enlargement." White House Studies. (2004) 4#3 pp: 319+. online edition
- Hilliard, Bryan, Tom Lansford, and Robert P Watson, eds. George W. Bush: Evaluating the President at Midterm SUNY Press 2004
- Jacobson, Gary C. "The Bush Presidency and the American Electorate" Presidential Studies Quarterly v 33 No.4 2003 pp 701+. online edition
- Jacobson, Gary C. "Referendum: the 2006 Midterm Congressional Elections." Political Science Quarterly 2007 122(1): 1–24. ISSN 0032-3195 Fulltext: Ebsco
- Maranto, Robert et al. eds. The Second Term of George W. Bush: Prospects and Perils (2006)
- Milkis, Sidney M. and Jesse H.Rhodes. "George W. Bush, the Party System, and American Federalism." Publius 2007 37(3): 478–503. ISSN 0048-5950
- Moens, Alexander The Foreign Policy of George W. Bush: Values, Strategy, and Loyalty. Ashgate, 2004. 227 pp.
- Morgan, Iwan. The Age of Deficits: Presidents and Unbalanced Budgets from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush (2009) excerpt
- Morgan, Iwan, ed. Right On?: Political Change and Continuity in George W. Bush's America (2006)
- Morgan, Iwan, and Philip John Davies, eds. Assessing George W. Bush's Legacy–The Right Man? (2010) essays by British experts.
- Murray, Donette, David Brown, and Martin A. Smith, eds. George W. Bush's Foreign Policies: Principles and Pragmatism (Routledge, 2017).
- Nautré, Zoé. U.S. Idealism Meets Reality: Democracy Promotion in the Middle East During the George W. Bush Administration (Berlin: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik eV. 2010).
- Rabe, Barry. "Environmental Policy and the Bush Era: the Collision Between the Administrative Presidency and State Experimentation." Publius 2007 37(3): 413–431. ISSN 0048-5950
- Rozell, Mark, and Gleaves Whitney, eds. "Religion and the Bush presidency (Springer, 2007).
- Sabato, Larry J. ed. The Sixth Year Itch: The Rise and Fall of the George W. Bush Presidency (2007), experts on the 2006 elections in major states
- Strozeski, Josh, et al. "From Benign Neglect to Strategic Interest: the Role of Africa in the Foreign Policies of Bush 41 and 43." White House Studies 2007 7(1): 35–51. ISSN 1535-4768
- Updegrove, Mark K. (2017). The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. Harper. ISBN 9780062654120.
- Warshaw, Shirley Anne (2010). The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney. Stanford Politics and Policy. ISBN 978-0804758185.
- Wekkin, Gary D. "George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush: Puzzling Presidencies, or the Puzzle of the Presidency?" White House Studies 2007 7(2): 113–124. ISSN 1535-4768
- Wong, Kenneth and Gail Sunderman. "Education Accountability as a Presidential Priority: No Child Left Behind and the Bush Presidency." Publius 2007 37(3): 333–350. ISSN 0048-5950
- Zelizer, Julian E., ed. (2010). The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691134857.
Reflections on the Bush presidency
- Barnes, Fred. Rebel-in-Chief: How George W. Bush Is Redefining the Conservative Movement and Transforming America (2006)
- Bartlett, Bruce. Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (2006)
- Cheney, Dick. In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir (2011)
- Ferguson, Michaele L. and Lori Jo Marso. W Stands for Women: How the George W. Bush Presidency Shaped a New Politics of Gender (2007)
- Gerson, Michael J. Heroic Conservatism: Why Republicans Need to Embrace America's Ideals (And Why They Deserve to Fail If They Don't) (2007), excerpt and text search
- Greenspan, Alan. The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World (2007)
- Hayes, Stephen F. Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President (2007), excerpts and online search
- Hughes, Karen. George W. Bush: Portrait of a Leader (2005)
- Mabry, Marcus. Twice as Good: Condoleezza Rice and Her Path to Power (2007)
- Moore, James. and Wayne Slater. Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential (2003) online edition
- Rice, Condoleezza. No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington (2011)
- Rumsfeld, Donald. Known and Unknown: A Memoir (2011)
- Suskind, Ron. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill (2004), excerpts and online search from Amazon.com
- Woodward, Bob. Plan of Attack (2003), excerpt and text search
- Yamashiro, Daniel K.M. "Religious Influences on Crisis Presidential Decision-Making: A New Belief in the Operational Code Analysis of George W. Bush" (Thesis Harvard U. 2017) online.
- Bush, George W. George W. Bush on God and Country: The President Speaks Out About Faith, Principle, and Patriotism (2004)
- Bush, George W. Decision Points (2010)
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