George Walker Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on July 6, 1946. The eldest son of Barbara and George H. W. Bush, he spent much of his early years in Texas, where he would take on an interest in baseball and history. After completing his education at Yale, and later Harvard Business School, Bush had struggles with alcohol abuse, though credits his future wife, a school librarian named Laura, for helping him stabilize his life. The two were married in 1977.
Bush initially began a career in business, but would later give that up to help with his father’s presidential campaign in 1988. After developing his own interests in politics, the younger Bush would be elected Governor of Texas in 1994, running on a campaign that focused on welfare reform, tort reform, crime reduction, and education improvement.
In 2000, George W. Bush would run for president, portraying himself as a “compassionate conservative”, or one that was slightly more moderate/centrist than the rest. He would eventually defeat Democrat Al Gore in one of the narrowest and most controversial presidential elections of all time. Bush is the fourth person to be elected president after losing the popular vote.
Life As President
As America’s 43rd president, George W. Bush would come to be remembered for many things. Early in his first term, he pushed for conservative policies and reforms, like a $1.3 trillion tax cut program and his No Child Left Behind Act. After the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Bush administration began a global “War on Terror”.
The War on Terror would push the US into two major conflicts. In October 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban and the terrorist group, al-Qaeda. Around the same time, Bush signed the controversial Patriot Act which granted the government increased surveillance powers. In 2003, Bush ordered an invasion of Iraq, asserting that the country had a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Though many supported him at the time, the Iraq War would become very unpopular among most Americans.
After closely defeating Democratic Senator John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race, Bush would come under much criticism during his second term. People from across the political spectrum felt dissatisfied with his handling of the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina. Then in 2007, the US entered its longest post-World War II economic decline, often dubbed the “Great Recession”. This prompted Bush to pass many unpopular economic programs to try and aid the economy.
Today, George W. Bush remains an interesting figure. His approval ratings soared in the aftermath of 9/11, and absolutely tanked during the 2008 financial crisis. However, Bush’s favorability rankings have gradually grown since leaving office, especially among the more traditional conservatives who reject the path the party has taken under President Donald Trump.
Throughout his long life, George W. Bush has able to offer many bits of wisdom, insight, and humor (and a few classic Bushisms). Below you’ll find a few of the most memorable George W. Bush quotes (plus a few of those aforementioned Bushisms).
More Quotes from the Bush Family here: 16 Memorable George H.W. Bush Quotes
22 Definitive George W. Bush Quotes
“America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms. As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city’s most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country.”
“Power can be very addictive. And it can be corrosive. And it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power.”
“I don’t know why you’re talking about Sweden. They’re the neutral one. They don’t have an army.”
“While many of our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise, even the justice, of our own country. The ambitions of some Americans are limited by failing schools and hidden prejudice and the circumstances of their birth, and sometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we share a continent, but not a country. We do not accept this, and we will not allow it.”
“But the stakes for America are never small. If our country does not lead the cause of freedom, it will not be led.”
“Any suggestion that a segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive and it is wrong. Recent comments by Senator Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country. He has apologized and rightly so. Every day our nation was segregated was a day that America was unfaithful to our founding ideals, and the founding ideals of our nation, and in fact the founding ideals of the political party I represent, was and remains today the equal dignity and equal rights of every American.”
On Being the President
“It was amazing I won. I was running against peace and prosperity and incumbency.”
“I’m the commander, see. I don’t need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.”
“Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America, with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.”
“This will require our country to unite in steadfast determination and resolve. Freedom and democracy are under attack.”
“We did not ask for this mission, but we will fulfill it.”
“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.”
“When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.”
“We must stop the terror. I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive.”
On Invading Afghanistan & Islam
“The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.”
“America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms, and dads, and they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.”
“The United States of America is an enemy of those who aid terrorists and of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion by committing murder in its name.”
“They misunderestimated me.”
“I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”
“There’s an old saying in Tennessee—I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, ‘Fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.’”
“Too many OB/GYN’s aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”
“Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”
Too many George W. Bush quotes to handle? You might appreciate this quiz: Anyone but George W. Bush.