Speaker's Profile

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George W. Bush

43rd President of the United States and Founder of the George W. Bush Foundation

President during a momentous period in American history, George W. Bush offers his thoughts on eight years in the Oval Office, the challenges facing our nation in the 21st century, the power of freedom, the role of faith and other pressing issues.

George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, was sworn into office on January 20, 2001 and served as Commander in Chief for two consecutive terms. Before his presidency, he served for six years as Governor of the State of Texas.

President Bush was born July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, to Barbara and George H.W. Bush—later the 41st President of the United States. In 1948, the family moved to Texas, where President Bush grew up in Midland and Houston. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1968, and then served as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. President Bush received a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School in 1975. Following graduation, he moved back to Midland and began a career in the energy business. After working on his father’s successful 1988 Presidential campaign, President Bush led a group of partners that purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989.

On November 8, 1994, George W. Bush was elected the 46th Governor of Texas. He became the first governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive four-year terms when he was re-elected on November 3, 1998. In Austin, he earned a reputation for his bipartisan governing approach and his compassionate conservative philosophy, which was based on limited government, personal responsibility, strong families, and local control.

As President, George W. Bush worked to expand freedom, opportunity and security at home and abroad. His first initiative as President was the No Child Left Behind Act, a bipartisan measure that raised standards in schools, insisted on accountability in return for federal dollars, and led to measurable gains in achievement—especially among minority students. Faced with a recession when he took office, President Bush cut taxes for every federal income taxpayer, which helped lead to an unprecedented 52 straight months of job creation. President Bush also modernized Medicare by adding a prescription drug benefit that provided access to needed medicine for 40 million seniors and other beneficiaries.

President Bush implemented free trade agreements with more than a dozen nations; empowered America’s armies of compassion by creating USA Freedom Corps and the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; promoted a culture of life; improved air quality and made America’s energy supply more secure; designated more ocean area habitats for environmental protection than any predecessor; transformed the military to meet the changing threats of the 21st century and nearly doubled government support for veterans; pioneered a new development strategy that tied American foreign aid to reform and good governance; launched global HIV/AIDS and malaria initiatives that have saved millions of lives; expanded the NATO alliance; forged a historic new partnership with India; and appointed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The most significant event of President Bush’s tenure came on September 11, 2001, when terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people on American soil. President Bush responded with a comprehensive strategy to protect the American people. He led the most dramatic reorganization of the federal government since the beginning of the Cold War, reforming the intelligence community and establishing new institutions like the Department of Homeland Security. He built global coalitions to remove violent regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq that threatened America, liberating more than 50 million people from tyranny. Recognizing that freedom and hope are the best alternative to the extremist ideology of the terrorists, he provided unprecedented American support for young democracies and dissidents in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere. In the more than seven years President Bush remained in office following September 11, 2001, the United States was not attacked again.

Since leaving office, President Bush has focused his attention on developing the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, which will encompass the Presidential Library and Museum, Archives, and the George W. Bush Institute. The Institute, which President Bush announced in the fall of 2009, seeks to improve the human condition through education reform, global health, human freedom, and economic growth. Across all its programming, the Bush Institute works to empower women through its Women’s Initiative. The Institute also honors the sacrifice of the U.S. military and their families make for our freedom through the Military Service Initiative. Guided by the vision of President and Mrs. Bush, the Bush Institute develops practical solutions to pressing issues and leads a network of partners to achieve lasting results. The Institute’s mission is to turn ideas into action.

In November of 2010, President Bush published his memoir, Decision Points, where he shares a personal and candid account of the most defining decisions of his personal life and presidency.

President Bush is married to Laura Welch Bush, a former teacher and librarian whom he met at a friend’s backyard barbeque. They have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, and a son-in-law, Henry Hager. The Bush family also includes two dogs, Barney and Miss Beazley and a cat, Bob.

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■President George W. Bush 2001 Inaugural Address

■George W. Bush - 9/11 Bullhorn Speech