|George Herbert Walker
Relative of Ingeborg Brigitte Gastel
Born: June 12, 1924; Milton, Massachusetts
The 41st President
of the United States
1924 (June 12) Born in Milton, Massachusetts.
George Herbert Walker Bush was the second of the five children of Prescott and Dorothy Bush. George's father was a wealthy Wall Street banker who represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate from 1952 to 1963.
George grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he attended a private elementary school before enrolling in the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. At this exclusive prep school he excelled in athletics and academics and was elected president of his senior class. He graduated in 1942 and joined the navy, becoming the youngest bomber pilot in that branch of the service.
On September 22, 1944, while flying a mission from the light aircraft carrier *San Jacinto* Bush was shot down near the Japanese-held island of Chichi Jima. He parachuted safely into the Pacific Ocean and after four hours was rescued by a submarine. Bush received the Distinguished Flying Cross. In December 1944 he was reassigned as a naval flight instructor in Virginia, where he remained until his discharge in September 1945.
After the war Bush enrolled in Yale University and majored in economics. He was also captain of Yale's baseball team, which was beaten in the finals of the College World Series his junior and senior years. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1948.
Bush then moved to Texas, where he gradually made a small fortune in the oil business. He ran for the Senate in 1964 against incumbent Ralph Yarborough, a Democrat. Although he received 200,000 more votes in Texas than Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, Bush lost the election.
In 1966, when reappointment gave Houston another House seat, Bush ran for it and won. He served on the Ways and Means Committee and became an outspoken supporter of Richard Nixon. Bush was reelected to the House in 1988 when Nixon captured the presidency. Two years later Bush followed Nixon's advice and abandoned his safe House seat to run for the Senate. He was defeated by conservative Democrat Lloyd Bentsen, who would be the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 1988 on the ticket opposing Bush.
After the 1970 election Nixon appointed Bush ambassador to the United Nations. When Nixon was reelected in 1972, he asked Bush to leave the UN to take over as chair of the Republican National Committee. Bush served in that post during the difficult days of the Watergate scandal. At first he vigorously defended President Nixon. In 1974, however, as the evidence against Nixon mounted, he privately expressed doubts about the president's innocence. Nevertheless, Bush avoided public criticism of the president and concentrated on maintaining Republican party strength despite the president's troubles. On August 7, 1974, Bush wrote a letter asking Nixon to resign, which the president did two days later.
When Vice-President Gerald R. Ford succeeded to the presidency upon Nixon's resignation, Bush was a leading candidate to fill the vice-presidential vacancy. Bush wanted the job, but he was bypassed in favor of Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York. Ford tried to make up the disappointment to Bush by offering him the ambassadorship to Britain or France. Bush chose, however, to take the post of chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China.
In 1975 Ford called Bush back to the United Stetes to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency. As CIA chief, Bush's primary goal was restoring the reputation of the agency, which had been damaged by revelations of its illegal and unauthorized activities during the 1970s, including assassination plots against foreign officials and spying on members of the domestic antiwar movement. Bush won bipartisan praise for his efforts to repair the agency's morale and integrity.
After being replaced as CIA director when Democrat Jimmy Carter became president in 1977, Bush returned to Houston to become chairman of the First International Bank. He stayed active in politics by campaigning for Republican candidates before the 1978 midterm election. On January 5, 1979, he formed the ,,George Bush for President Committee" and declared his intention to seek the presidency. Re-campaigned full-time during 1979 and established himself as the leading challenger to Republican front-runner Ronald Reagan, when he won the Iowa caucuses on January 21, 1980. During the primary campaign Bush attacked Reagan as an ultraconservative and called his econommic proposals ,,voodoo economics." Reagan, however, prevailed in the primaries and secured enough delegates for the nomination before the Republican national convention in Detroit in July 1980.
At the convention Reagan's team approached former president Ford about running for vice president. When Ford declined, they asked Bush to be the vice-presidential nominee in an attempt to unify the party. Bush accepted, and the Republican ticket defeated President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter F. Mondale in a landslide.
Despite Bush's differences with Reagan during the campaign, as vice president he was extremely loyal to the president. When Reagan was wounded by an assailant in 1981, Bush emphasized that Reagan was still president and exerted leadership over the administration in the president's absence.
Bush was frequently called upon to make diplomatic trips overseas. While vice president he visited more than seventy countries. His frequent attendance at state funerals led him to joke that his motto was ,,I'm George Bush. You die, I fly." Reagan and Bush won a second term in 1984 by easily defeating the Democratic ticket of Walter F. Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro.
Late in Reagan's second term Bush launched bis campaign for the presidency. Despite bis status as a two-term vice president. he was challenged for the nomination by Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole of Kansas and several other candidates. Dole defeated Bush in the Iowa caucuses, as Bush had defeated Reagan eight years before. In the first primary, in New Hampshire, however, Bush scored a decisive victory and secured the nomination before the end of the primary season.
Bush faced Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts in the general election. President Reagan, wbo had remained neutral during the primary season, campaigned hard for his vice president. Bush attacked his opponent for liberal policies that Bush said were out of touch with American sentiments, and he promised to continue Ronald Reagan's economic policies and diplomacy with the Soviet Union. Despite the presence of massive budget deficits, Bush also pledged not to raise taxes. Bush overcame speculation about his role in the Reagan administration's Iran contra affair and criticism of Dan Quayle, his vice-presidential choice, to defeat Dukakis. Bush did not match Reagan's landslide victory of 1984, but he won the election decisively in the electoral college, 426-112.
Bush was praised for his conciliatory gestures toward Congress and Democratic leaders during the transition period. His appointments were also generally well received, except for his defense secretary nominee, former senator John Tower of Texas. After a continious confirmation battle, the Senate handed Bush the first defeat of his presidency by rejecting Tower's appointment 53-47 on March 9, 1989.
Bush married nineteen-year-old Barbara Pierce,
the daughter of a prominent magazine publisher, on January 6, 1945. They
had four sons and two daughters. Their daughter Robin died from leukemia