George Walker Bush
"Ive got a significant strawberry." --spoken to reporters about injuries he received after narrowly avoiding flying debris when an out-of-control trailer overturned near where he was jogging.
Best known for: Governor of Texas who emerged as the Republican front-runner in the 2000 presidential campaign. In his first four months of fund-raising, he collected record-setting contributions of $37 million. His early platform included compassionate conservatism, the definition of which was intentionally vague.
Born: July 6, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut, while his father, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, was a student at Yale.
Family: Parents: George and Barbara Bush. Brothers: Neil, Jeb, Marvin. Sisters: Dorothy, Robin, (Robin died of leukemia at age three). Bush's father graduated from Yale in June 1948. His parents then moved the family to Odessa, Texas, and his father began work in the oil business. During the summer of 1977, Bush met Laura Welch in Midland at a dinner at the home of their mutual friends Joe and Jan ONeill. They married just over three months later, on November 5, 1977. It was small service attended by their close friends and family. In 1981 their twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, were born. They are named after their grandmothers. Their grandfather was the Vice-President of the United States at the time. The new Bush family lived in Midland, later moved to Dallas, and then Washington for a year when President Bush ran for President in 1988. Barbara and Jenna attend public school in Austin.
Education: Attended Phillips Academy prep school at Andover, then Yale from 1964 until 1968 and graduated with a major in history; played baseball during freshman year and rugby during junior and senior years; became a member of the super-secret Skull and Bones society, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather; later attended Harvard and earned a Masters of Business Administration in 1975. Bush was such a mediocre student that the dean of students at Andover was pessimistic about his chances of getting into Yale. The suggested that he have a backup option. Harvard Business school was a backup option that he had to take advantage of after the University of Texas law school turned him down. Harvard alums say the admissions process was somewhat mysterious. One of Bush's Harvard classmates was a circus barker.
Profession: In the West Texas energy business, George W. Bush started out researching who owned mineral rights. He later traded mineral and royalty interests and invested in drilling prospects. He had started his own oil and gas company by 1978, taking $17,000 from his education trust fund to set up Arbusto Energy (arbusto means Bush in Spanish). The company fell on hard times when oil prices fell. He made several attempts to revive the business, first by changing the company's name and later by merging with other companies. In 1983, Bushs company was rescued from failure when Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation, a small oil firm owned by William DeWitt and Mercer Reynolds, bought it. Bush became chief executive officer. Harken Energy Corporation acquired Spectrum 7 in 1986, after Spectrum had lost $400,000. In the buyout deal, Bush and his partners were given more than $2 million worth of Harken stock for the 180-well operation. Bush became a director and was hired as a "consultant" to Harken. He received another $600,000 of Harken stock, and has been paid between $42,000 and $120,000 a year. By the spring of 1987, Harken was in need of cash. So Bush and his fellow Harken officials met with Jackson Stephens, head of Stephens, Inc., an investment bank in Little Rock, Arkansas (Stephens contributed $100,000 to the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980 and gave another $100,000 to the Bush dinner committee in 1990.) Stephens arranged for Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) to provide $25 million to Bushs company in return for a stock interest in Harken. As part of the deal, Sheikh Abdullah Bakhsh, a Saudi real estate tycoon and financier, joined Harken's board as a major investor. Stephens, UBS, and Bakhsh each had ties to the infamous, scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). In 1990, Bush sold his remaining stock options and left the oil business. Writer Jack Colhoun revealed some details of that stock sale, referring to Bush by his childhood nickname Junior:
On June 22, 1990, George Jr. sold two-thirds of his Harken stock for $848,560-a cool 200 percent profit. The move was well timed. One week after Junior sold his stock, Harken announced a $23.2 million loss in quarterly earnings and Harken stock dropped sharply, losing 60 percent of its value over the next six months. On August 2, 1990, Iraqi troops moved into Kuwait and 541,000 U.S. forces were deployed to the Gulf.
"There is substantial evidence to suggest that Bush knew Harken was in dire straits in the weeks before he sold the $848,560 of Harken stock," asserted U.S. News & World Report. The magazine noted Harken appointed Junior to a 'fairness committee' to study possible economic restructuring of the company. Junior worked closely with financial advisers from Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Company, who concluded "only drastic action could save Harken."
A year earlier, in 1989, Bush prepared for his move from the oil business to the sports business when he helped assemble a group who purchased the Texas Rangers baseball team from Eddie Chiles. He and Rusty Rose served as managing general partners until Bush was elected Governor of Texas in 1994.
Career: Pilot in the Texas Air National Guard from 1968 until 1973. Attended flight school and flew F-102 aircraft with the 147th Fighter Wing, 111th Fighter Squadron of the Texas Air National Guard. Campaigned for U.S. Congress in 1978 in a large West Texas district that included his hometown of Midland. He defeated two opponents in the Republican primary, but lost in the general election to Democrat Kent Hance. After the election he went back to the energy business and built his oil company.
Bush was among the earliest financial contributors to the senate campaign of Phil Gramm in 1984. In 1986 and 1987, Bush worked on his father's presidential campaign as an adviser and speechwriter, moving to Washington in 1987 to work full time on the campaign. After the election he returned to Texas, then moved back to Washington in 1991 to work as an adviser on his father's re-election campaign. In 1994 George W. Bush defeated Democratic incumbent Ann Richards to become the 46th Governor of the State of Texas.
During his second four-year term as governor, Bush announced he was running for U.S. president. He had already been given the status of Republican front-runner in the 2000 presidential campaign. In his first four months of fund-raising, he collected record-setting contributions of $37 million.
Bush's first defeat came early in the campaign, however, with a big loss to Senator John McCain of Arizona in the New Hampshire Primary. After the sound defeat was clear in the state of New Hampshire, Karl Rove, Bush's chief strategist, was quoted congratulating McCain for winning, then oddly adding that the Bush campaign was prepared to win and beat McCain in all 50 states, although only 47 state contests remained. McCain skipped the Iowa Caucuses a week earlier, conceding that state to Bush. The razor-thin Bush win in the Alaska GOP Caucus was by a mere five votes over publisher Steve Forbes.
Sources: GEORGE W. BUSH FOR PRESIDENT 2000 web site (http://geocities.com/CapitolHill/Senate/4124/issues.html); Dick Stanley, "Bush dodges debris during jog," Austin American-Statesman, Nov. 2, 1999, p. A1; George W. Bush for President web site (http://www.georgewbush.com) Beth Rowen, George W. Bush: Like Presidential father, like Presidential son? (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0779295.html); Kevin Merida, "Shades of Gray Matter," The Washington Post, January 19, 2000, pp. C1, C9; Jack Colhoun, The Family That Preys Together, Covert Action Information Quarterly, No.41 (Summer 1992) (http://mediafilter.org/caq/BushFamilyPreys.html); Richard N. Draheim, Jr., "The Bush Nazi Connection," The Dallas Libertarian Post, December 1999; Ken Herman and Scott S GreenBerger, "For Bush, a retreat to a haven for favorites: South Carolina," Austin American-Statesman, February 2, 2000, pp. A1, A11 (http://www.austin360.com/news/features/national/0202nhanalysis.html); Presidency 2000, "Alaska Caucus Results," (http://www.politics1.com/vote-ak.htm).