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George H. W. Bush
41st U.S. President
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States, and the 43rd Vice President of the United States.
Succeeded by: Bill Clinton
Vice president: Dan Quayle (1989–1993)
Spouse: Barbara Bush (m. 1945)
Presidential term: January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993

George Herbert Walker Bush (1924-), served as the 41st U.S. president from 1989 to 1993. He also was a two-term U.S. vice president under Ronald Reagan, from 1981 to 1989. Bush, a World War II naval aviator and Texas oil industry executive, began his political career in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1967. During the 1970s, he held a variety of government posts, including CIA director. In 1988, Bush defeated Democratic rival Michael Dukakis to win the White House. In office, he launched successful military operations against Panama and Iraq; however, his popularity at home was marred by an economic recession, and in 1992 he lost his bid for re-election to Bill Clinton. In 2000, Bush’s son and namesake was elected the 43rd U.S. president; he served until 2009.

PRESIDENCY: 1989-1993
A key focus of Bush’s presidency was foreign policy. He began his time in the White House as Germany was in the process of reunifying, the Soviet Union was collapsing and the Cold War was ending. Bush would be credited with helping to improve U.S.-Soviet relations. He met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-), and in July 1991, the two men signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

Bush also authorized military operations in Panama and the Persian Gulf. In December 1989, the United States invaded Panama and overthrew the nation’s corrupt dictator, Manuel Noriega (1934-), who was threatening the security of Americans who lived there and trafficking drugs to the United States. Then, after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (1937-2006) launched an invasion and occupation of Kuwait in August 1990 and threatened to invade Saudi Arabia, Bush organized a military coalition of more than 30 countries who began a U.S.-led air assault against Iraq in mid-January 1991. After five weeks of the air offensive and 100 hours of a ground offensive, Operation Desert Storm ended in late February with Iraq’s defeat and Kuwait’s liberation.

On the domestic front, Bush, a moderate conservative, signed such important pieces of legislation as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. He made two appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court: David Souter (1939-) in 1990, and Clarence Thomas (1948-) in 1991.

While Bush gained support among the American public for his foreign policy initiatives, his popularity at home was marred by an economic recession. After promising “no new taxes” in his presidential campaign, he upset some by raising tax revenues in an effort to deal with a rising budget deficit.In 1992, Bush lost his bid for re-election to Governor Bill Clinton (1946-) of Arkansas. Clinton won 370 electoral votes and 43 percent of the popular vote, while Bush captured 168 electoral votes and 37.5 percent of the popular vote. Third-party candidate Ross Perot (1930-) garnered approximately 19 percent of the popular vote.

In 2000, Bush’s son George, a two-term Texas governor, was elected president. The Bushes were the second father and son to ascend to the presidency. (The first were John Adams, the second U.S. president, and John Quincy Adams, the sixth U.S. president). Another Bush son, Jeb, was governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007