If you were alive in the 1980s and early ‘90s, you likely know George Herbert Walker Bush well. Throughout the era, it seemed like George H. W. Bush was always in the news for one thing or another. Known for his wit, his love of America, and his strong affection for his wife, Barbara, George H. W. Bush left a lasting mark on both domestic and global politics.
Bush’s career is rather remarkable when you look back at it. As a young man, he postponed his university studies, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on his 18th birthday, where he would serve as a naval aviator in World War II. After the war, Bush would attend Yale University and eventually start his own oil company.
In 1966, Bush became involved in politics when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He was appointed as Ambassador to the United Nations by Richard Nixon in 1971, and 5 years later, would become the Director of the CIA under President Gerald Ford.
Ronald Reagan chose George H. W. Bush as his running mate for the presidential election of 1980, and he would serve as Vice President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. He earned the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, eventually defeating Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis to become America’s 41st President.
While at times a polarizing and controversial figure to some, Bush has garnered a certain fondness among the American people in his old age, especially because of some of the bipartisan friendships he’s developed. He has also given us some pretty interesting and memorable quotes over the years.
Here Are 16 Memorable George H. W. Bush Quotes
On Media Relations:
“I’ll be glad to reply to or dodge your questions, depending on what I think will help our election most.”
“It’s a very good question, very direct, and I’m not going to answer it.”
“Please, don’t ask me to do that which I’ve just said I’m not going to do, because you’re burning up time. The meter is running…and I am now filibustering.”
“I can’t ever remember sitting around and saying, ‘gosh let’s hurry up and get these debates going, that’ll win it for me.’ Nope.”
“I’m conservative, but I’m not a nut about it.”
“Read my lips: no new taxes.”
On the American Dream:
“I was offered a job on Wall Street by my uncle. But I wanted to get out. Make-it-on-my-own kinda thing.”
“We don’t want an America that is closed to the world. What we want is a world that is open to America.”
“Our nation is the enduring dream of every immigrant who ever sets foot on these shores, and the millions still struggling to be free…this idea called America, was and always will be a new world.”
“The American Dream means giving it your all, trying your hardest, accomplishing something. And then I’d add to that, giving something back. No definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others.”
On His Wife, Barbara:
“I have climbed perhaps the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being Barbara’s husband.”
“It has been said by some cynic, maybe it was a former president, ‘If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.’ Well, we took them literally — that advice — as you know. But I didn’t need that because I have Barbara Bush.”
“I am not one who – who flamboyantly believes in throwing a lot of words around.”
“I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don’t always agree with them.”
“Fluency in English is something that I’m often not accused of.”
And On Getting Older:
“Never ask anyone over 70 how they feel. They’ll tell you.”
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