George W. Bush on Principles & Values

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)


Attended 2017 inauguration despite words between Trump & Jeb

It's tradition for Bill and me, as a former President and First Lady, to attend the swearing-in of the new President. I had struggled for weeks with whether or not to go. [Several members of Congress were boycotting by] not going. A lot of my supporters and close friends urged me to stay home, too. My friends understood how painful it would be to sit on the platform and watch Donald Trump sworn in.

Bill and I checked with the Bushes and the Carters to see what they were thinking. It was no secret that these former Presidents weren't fans of Donald Trump. He had been absolutely vicious to George's brother Jeb in particular. But were they going to the inauguration? Yes.

That gave me the push I needed. Bill and I would go. That's how I ended up right inside the door of the Capitol on January 20, waiting to be announced. It had been such a long journey to get here. Now I just had to take a few more steps. I took Bill's arm.

Source: What Happened, by Hillary Clinton, p. 3-4 , Sep 12, 2017

Attended Trump's inauguration, but not a Trump fan

It's tradition for Bill and me, as a former President and First Lady, to attend the swearing-in of the new President. I had struggled for weeks with whether or not to go. John Lewis wasn't going. The civil rights hero and Congressman said that the President Elect was not legitimate because of the mounting evidence of Russian interference in the election. Other members of Congress were joining him in boycotting a President Elect they saw as divisive. A lot of my supporters and close friends urged me to stay home, too.

There was a decent chance I'd get booed or be met with "Lock her up!" chants if I went. Still, I felt a responsibility to be there.

George W. and Jimmy (Carter) had been among the first to call me after the election. It was no secret that these former Presidents weren't fans of Donald Trump. He had been absolutely vicious to George's brother Jeb in particular.

But were they going to the inauguration? Yes. That gave me the push I needed. Bill and I would go.

Source: What Happened, by Hillary Clinton, p. 3-4 , Sep 12, 2017

Wife Laura involved in fatal car accident as a teen driver

So many lives were wrecked that night at that corner, which was known as a particularly dangerous place. A dangerous intersection, a less than safe car, and me. I don't see well, and maybe that played a part. Or perhaps it was simply dark, Judy & I were talking, and I was an inexperienced driver who got to a corner before I expected it.

I didn't have to tell anyone what happened. Every single person in Midland knew. [A family friend, Mike Douglas, died in the other car.] A bunch of Mike's friends came over to our house to sit with me. They still found it in their hearts to be supportive of me. I did not go to the funeral. I wanted to go, and I told Mother and Daddy that I wanted to. But they wanted me to stay home. No doubt they were trying to protect me, thinking that it would be too hard on me, and on the Douglases, if I were to attend. So I didn't go, and I never contacted the Douglases.

Pretty quickly no one mentioned the accident. My parents never brought it up. And neither did my friends.

Source: Spoken from the Heart, by Laura Bush, p. 62-63 , Apr 5, 2011

More than anyone, understood what run for president meant

More than almost any other candidate in history, I understood what running for president would entail. I had watched Dad endure grueling months on the campaign trail, under the constant scrutiny of a skeptical press. I had seen his record distorted, his character attacked, his appearance mocked. I had witnessed friends turn against him and aides abandon him. I knew how hard it was to win. And I knew how much it hurt to lose.

I worried most about our 17-year-old daughters, Barbara & Jenna. I had learne that being the child of a politician is tougher than being a politician yourself. I understood the pain and frustration that comes with hearing your dad called nasty names. I knew how it felt to worry every time you turned on the TV. And I knew what it was like to live with the thought that any innocent slip could embarrass the president of the US. I had gone through all of this in my 40s. My girls would be in college when I took office. I could only imagine how much more difficult it would be for them

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p. 35-37 , Nov 9, 2010

Pioneers: each raises $100K in campaign donations

We made an important decision in January 1998, about how we would satisfy the Bush supporters who wanted to do more than give at the $1,000-per-head limit. Bush's friend James B. Francis, Jr. suggested we build a network of money raisers, not just money givers. The idea was simple: supporters had friends, family, business associates, college classmates, and Rolodexes to tap. The group set a $100,000 goal for each fund-raiser, developed a rough outline of how to track their efforts, and decided to call them "Pioneers." They represented Bush's first such grassroots bundling effort. And we liked the western-sounding name of the group.

I believed that as the front-runner Bush had to win four "invisible primaries" before facing any of the real ones: Money, Establishment, Reassurance, and Substance. The first was the easiest to understand: Would Bush's fund-raising total be larger than everyone else's in the rest of the pack by a sizable amount?

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.126-127 , Mar 9, 2010

Different kind of Republican, who attracted Hispanics

In laying out our ideas, we faced a "Press Paradox": We would be attacked for not being specific when we painted in broad brushstrokes. But if we spelled it all out, the media would attack us later for saying nothing new. It was a balancing act. We decided to highlight three things in particular--that Bush was the effective conservative governor of a big state; that he was a compassionate conservative who talked about issues in an attractive new way; and that he was a different kind of Republican who attracted support from women, Hispanics, young people, and others who were not typical Republicans. It's not a coincidence that these messages reinforced each other.

We didn't want there to be two Bushes--a primary/more conservative Bush; and a general election/more moderate Bush. We wanted to run from start to finish with the same candidate, emphasizing a consistent theme.

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.128 , Mar 9, 2010

1998: "Front Porch" campaign in pre-primary year

Pres. McKinley was confined by tradition to his home in Canton, Ohio, while the campaign was fought by surrogates. McKinley hit on a brilliant idea. If he couldn't barnstorm among the people, then bring the people to him. Thus was born McKinley's famous "Front Porch" campaign, where supporters were brought by the trainload, where he received them with a short speech of platitudes and appreciation.

We began our own "Front Porch" campaign on June 8, 1998. At first the emphasis was on encouraging Bush's finance network to bring other fund-raisers from their state or region. They'd get into Austin in the morning in time for an early lunch. Governor Bush would break away from the Capitol, come to the Mansion, and join his guests, in groups up to 36, in th formal dining room.

While people ate, Bush stood at his table, held onto his chair, and held forth on his vision, the campaign he'd run, and the country's challenges. He'd take questions until his guests had to leave for planes or were exhausted.

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.132 , Mar 9, 2010

1999 Announcement speech: usher in the responsibility era

Bush entered the campaign on a June 12, 1999 trip to Iowa in a chartered plane dubbed "Great Expectations." The campaign refused to say whether Bush was going to formally announce, only that he would attend Congressional fund-raisers.

Bush surprised th press and delighted the crowd with a simple, straightforward statement: "I'm running for the president of the United States. There's no turning back. And I intend to be the next president." What followed was what for most Americans would constitute a polite show of enthusiasm; for Iowans, it was a roar of approval.

He said his goal was to help "usher in the responsibility era...that stands in stark contrast to the last few decades, when the culture has clearly said: If it feels good, do it." He talked about tax cuts, Social Security, and education reform, his faith-based initiative, and the need for increased defense spending. He was mildly criticized for being light on specifics. It didn't bother me; there was plenty of time for details later.

Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p.134-135 , Mar 9, 2010

Spoke with Bill Clinton regularly and privately

[In spring 2008 Bill was accused by the Obama campaign of sounding racist.] Some days later, Bill received a phone call from George W. Bush. The current and former presidents spoke more often than almost anyone knew; from time to time, when 43 was bored, he would call 42 to chew the fat. In this case, Bush, tucked away at Camp David, had a more distinct objective. He wanted to reassure his predecessor that he didn't think Clinton was a racist.

The irony of the situation tickled Bush, but he also felt sympathy for Bill. Hey, buddy, Bush said, I know you're coming under attack; you just gotta keep your chin up. Clinton thanked Bush--then treated him to a fifteen-minute tirade about the injustices that had befallen him and the sources of his suffering.

Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p.227 , Jan 11, 2010

Believe in the goodness and wisdom of the American people

I’ve kept near my desk reminders of America’s character--including a painting of a West Texas mountain lit by the morning sun. It reminds me that Americans have always lived on the sunrise side of the mountain. We’re a nation that looks to the new day with confidence and optimism. I’m optimistic about our future, because I believe in the goodness and wisdom of the American people. I have faith in freedom’s power to lift up all of God’s children, and lead this world to a future of peace.
Source: Speech at 2008 Republican National Convention , Sep 2, 2008

Rice & Cheney were most important advisors beginning in 1999

Rice, who mentored Bush on foreign policy, was the person whose advice the president relied on most when it came to national security issues starting during the presidential campaign. Lacking a deep background in foreign policy, Bush counted on a team of foreign policy heavyweights with diverse expertise to help formulate policy based on his guiding principles, such as freedom, a strong military, and free trade. Bush developed a strong personal bond with Rice and came to trust her judgment, instincts, and insights. As Hughes' and Bush's style and tone of communicating were one and the same, so too were Rice's and Bush's views on foreign policy.

From the beginning, the president wanted the vice president and his staff included in his White House processes and operations. Dick Cheney and his key advisors were considered integral members of the team.

Of course, Cheney heavily influenced foreign policy. He also took particular interest in economic policy, especially tax and energy issues.

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p. 85 , May 28, 2008

Held "strategery" meetings (admitted mangling English)

Karl Rove oversaw the strategic planning process within the White House for the marketing and selling of policy. Rove instituted regular "strategery" meetings, using a term derived not, as some might have believed, from a real Bush remark but from a Saturday Night Live skit in which Will Ferrell played off Bush's penchant for "mangling the English language" (as Bush himself would say).

Strategery meetings were focused on long-range planning and strategy. Rove's Office of Strategic Initiatives helped coordinate the efforts, including preparing materials and doing research to see how previous White Houses might have handled similar challenges. Electoral success was the ultimate objective--winning more Republican seats in Congress in 2002 and getting George Bush reelected to the presidency in 2004.

Those attending the strategery meetings included Rove, Karen Hughes, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Vice Presidential Counselor Mary Matalin.

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p. 94 , May 28, 2008

9/20/01: You're either with us or with the terrorists

On September 20, 2001, the president addressed a joint session of Congress. He put the repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan on notice, made clear that we would relentlessly pursue the al Qaeda terrorist network until it was dismantled and defeated, and announced the creation of an Office of Homeland Security within the White House to be headed by Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania. The war against the terrorists, Bush said, would be a lengthy campaign fought on many fronts--intelligence, diplomatic, military, law enforcement, and financial. Some actions would involve dramatic, visible military moves, while others would be unseen covert operations. Bush declared, "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."
Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p.107-108 , May 28, 2008

It is a privilege to see America’s greatness up close

I know of America’s greatness because I get to see it up close, and it is a privilege to see it up close. I see it in the foot soldiers in the armies of compassion, who perform acts of kindness and hope every single day. I see it in the courage of ordinary citizens, like those who rushed toward danger when the Twin Towers fell & our Pentagon burned. I see it with military families who’ve lost loved ones. And every time I come away moved and inspired by their valor, grit, pride, and love of country
Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 7, 2008

Role in father's 1988 campaign: "loyalty enforcer"

George Jr. acknowledges that his role in the 1988 presidential run was that of the family "loyalty enforcer" at campaign headquarters. The classic example in his own administration, of course, is Valerie Plame, the CIA undercover agent whose cover was blown--and her career ruined--in order to get back at her husband, diplomat Joseph Wilson, who had had the unmitigated gall to question George Jr.'s reasons for going to war against Iraq.

Remember that George Sr. had, as director of Central Intelligence, often criticized anybody who identified an intelligence agent and thereby jeopardized not only that life, but the lives of countless others who had worked with them over the years. It illustrates how sacrosanct the family held American intelligence agents. Until, of course, the husband of one of them was deemed an enemy and a threat.

Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p. 58 , Feb 15, 2007

OpEd: Governed as if he were campaigning

George Sr. wanted desperately to separate the obvious lowness of campaigning from what he considered the higher art of governing. George Jr. has made it plain that while he loves campaigning, he has little interest in governing. Recall how he set about trying to sell his Social Security privatization plan just after winning reelection, racing from city to city in carefully stage-managed "meetings" with real citizens. It was as if he wished the campaign never had to end.

Jeb has been more of a mixture of those two. Unlike his brother, he does enjoy governing as well as campaigning. But like his brother, and unlike his father, he has seen the advantages of governing as if he were campaigning.

There are real public policy consequences for this style of leadership, not the least of which is an enervating unease for everyone around him, including even the leaders of the legislative and judicial branches. Everything is a fight--with us, or against us. Everything is a crisis.

Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p.127 , Feb 15, 2007

America wants Congress to cross the aisle to get things done

Some in this chamber are new to the House and Senate--and I congratulate the Democratic majority. Congress has changed, but not our responsibilities.

We are not the first to come here with government divided and uncertainty in the air. Like many before us, we can work through our differences, and achieve big things for the American people. Our citizens don’t much care which side of the aisle we sit on--as long as we are willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done.

Source: 2007 State of the Union address to Congress , Jan 23, 2007

1978: Won 47% in House district that had never elected GOP

My brother George decided to mount a campaign of his own, running for Congress in Texas's 19th District. The local congressman there, George Mahon, had announced his retirement after 43 years in office.

My brother remembers meeting early on with the former governor of Texas, Allan Shivers, who flat out told my brother he couldn't win. When George asked why, Shivers explained that he would be facing a strong opponent in Kent Hance, a well-respected man who was more suited to the district than George was.

"I listened to him, said okay, and decided to run anyway," my brother recalled.

My brother campaigned nonstop and won the Republican primary. Governor Reagan called to congratulate George after he won. George lost that fall, however, receiving 47% of the vote in a district that had never elected a Republican to Congress.

Source: My Father, My President, by Doro Koch Bush, p.145-146 , Oct 6, 2006

Catalyst for presidency was father's loss to Bill Clinton

"I think Bush came into office with a mission," Saudi Prince Bandar said. "Many people are confusing it with his faith--religious faith. I think he had a mission that is agnostic. That he was convinced that the mission had to be achieved and that he is the only one who is going to achieve it. And it started with: Injustice has been done to a good man, George Herbert Walker Bush, a man who was a hero, who served his country, who did everything right." Then as president, his father went to war in 1991 to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. "And he wins," Bandar continued, "and a charlatan--in his mind--draft dodger, etc., beats him. There is no justice."

Clinton's victory in 1992 was the catalyst. "So from 1992, this young man who was a wild young man in his youth, matured, but with a focus on one mission. There's injustice. There's something not right. I am going to correct it."

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p. 13-4 , Oct 1, 2006

2004: Won 44% of Hispanic vote; key to victory over Kerry

In 2004, George Bush won an estimated 44% of the Hispanic vote in the presidential election, a 9-point improvement over 2000. This gain was critical to Bush's victory over John Kerry, a statistic that weighs heavily in the strategic thinking of both parties. The radical support organizations on the Left are doing everything they can to get the train full of illegal aliens to leave the station as soon as possible. Your elected officials want to be on board.
Source: Minutemen, by Jim Gilchrist & Jerome Corsi, p.259 , Jul 25, 2006

OpEd: Will be remembered for standing tall in 9-11 ashes

Ronald Reagan's snapshot? Vision. Strength. Freedom. These are his abiding legacies. In time, no one will remember the Iran-contra scandal, but they'll remember the man and what he stood for. They'll remember JFK's youthful vigor and idealism; Jimmy Carter and the momentary peace in the Middle East, and his humanitarian works since he left office; George W. Bush standing tall and firm against the hallowed ashes at Ground Zero.
Source: Stand For Something, by John Kasich, p. 98 , May 10, 2006

2004: received most votes ever cast for president

President George W. Bush made history in the 2004 presidential race by receiving the most votes ever cast for a presidential candidate. Not since President Reagan's 1984 victory, which set the record for the most electoral votes won in a presidential election, has a candidate won such a clear majority of the states in the South and the West.

The 2004 elections were significant for a number of reasons. First, the majority of the voters stated that they based their presidential vote on moral issues, which include opposition to same-sex marriage initiatives and partial-birth abortion.

Second, President Bush received a majority of the vote among Catholic and Protestant voters and increased the percentage of support among a number of other demographic groups, including members of racial minorities and voters who live in urban areas.

Third, the U.S. electorate sent to Congress a "working majority" of Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate.

Source: They Think You're Stupid, by Herman Cain, p. 61-62 , Jun 14, 2005

Free societies will be hopeful societies

Free societies in the Middle East will be hopeful societies, which no longer feed resentments and breed violence for export. Free governments in the Middle East will fight terrorists instead of harboring them, and that helps us keep the peace. So our mission in Afghanistan & Iraq is clear: We will help new leaders to train their armies, and move toward elections, and get on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible. And then our troops will return home with the honor they have earned
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech , Sep 2, 2004

This young century will be liberty’s century

We have reached a time for hope. This young century will be liberty’s century. By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America. Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America and, in this place, that dream is renewed. Now we go forward grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech , Sep 2, 2004

America will be more secure as freedom advances

I believe in the transformational power of liberty: The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. As the citizens of Afghanistan & Iraq seize the moment, their example will send a message of hope throughout a vital region. Palestinians will hear the message that democracy and reform are within their reach, and so is peace with our good friend Israel. Young women across the Middle East will hear the message that their day of equality & justice is coming. Young men will hear the message that national progress and dignity are found in liberty, not tyranny and terror. Reformers, and political prisoners, and exiles will hear the message that their dream of freedom cannot be denied forever. And as freedom advances heart by heart, and nation by nation America will be more secure and the world more peaceful. America has done this kind of work before and there have always been doubters. Fortunately, Truman knowing that a new democracy at the center of Europe would lead to stability and peace.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech , Sep 2, 2004

OpEd: Undiagnosed dyslexic; hence connects non-verbally

A "Vanity Fair" article raises the possibility that George W. is an undiagnosed dyslexic. Dyslexia is not a matter of intelligence, but it does run in families and does lead to the kind of linguistic confusion Bush will be known for all his life. Citing an expert in the diagnoses of dyslexia: "Dyslexics hear adequately but seem unable to process quickly all the sounds in the word. So when they go to retrieve a word they've heard, they will sometimes omit sounds, or substitute sounds." [For example], "Tactical [nuclear] weapons" is condensed into "tacular weapon."

Dyslexics who operate in the public eye tend to overcome their verbal gaffs by becoming actors, meaning that they emphasize connecting with the audience in nonverbal ways and with short, memorized scripts that make the chances of a blurted inanity less likely. They are personable, make quick studies of people, and often master the body language and quips that draw people in.

Source: The Faith of George W. Bush, by Stephen Mansfield, p. 43-44 , Apr 12, 2004

I'm not great with words, and I don't care what press thinks

We did a press conference at a school in Crawford. Bush's posture and delivery were a lot better, more confident. He said in the early days he got really [bothered by press reports on] the way he mangled words, and it made him hesitant, like when he said infitada instead of intifada and got mauled for it. Now he had given up caring what they think and it had made him more confident. He said the truth is I have a limited vocabulary, I'm not great with words, I have to think about what I say carefully
Source: The Blair Years, by Alastair Campbell, p.614 , Apr 6, 2002

Our grandest ideal: no insignificant person was ever born

The peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings. As I begin, I thank President Clinton for his service to our nation. And I thank Vice President Gore for a contest conducted with spirit and ended with grace.

I am honored and humbled to stand here, where so many of America’s leaders have come before me, and so many will follow.

We have a place, all of us, in a long story, a story we continue, but whose end we will not see. It is the American story, a story of flawed and fallible people, united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals.

The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise: that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born. Americans are called to enact this promise in our lives and in our laws. And though our nation has sometimes halted, and sometimes delayed, we must follow no other course.

Source: Inaugural speech , Jan 20, 2001

Citizenship is as important as government

Sometimes in life we are called to do great things. But as a saint of our times has said, every day we are called to do small things with great love. The most important tasks of a democracy are done by everyone.

What you do is as important as anything government does. I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort, to defend needed reforms against easy attacks, to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbor. I ask you to be citizens. Citizens, not spectators. Citizens, not subjects. Responsible citizens, building communities of service and a nation of character.

Americans are generous and strong and decent, not because we believe in ourselves, but because we hold beliefs beyond ourselves. When this spirit of citizenship is missing, no government program can replace it. When this spirit is present, no wrong can stand against it.

Source: Inaugural speech , Jan 20, 2001

Favorites: PB&J, tacos, Winston Churchill, kissing Laura

Source: Glen Johnson, Boston Globe on 2000 Pres. race, p. A8 , Sep 27, 2000

Baseball is fun, politics is not

[I asked Bush,] Why’d he ever trade Sammy Sosa when he was managing partner of the Texas Rangers? Bush chuckled. He quickly named all the players involved, even though it was 11 years ago, [in a trade with] the Chicago White Sox.

“He’d just come up [to the big leagues] and gotten a quick look,” Bush recalled painfully. In 25 games, Sosa was batting a meager .238. Who could have predicted then that Sosa would become a superstar, slamming 66 homers for the Chicago Cubs in 1998 and dramatically dueling Mark McGwire for the all-time season home run record?

The team managers recommended the deal and he approved it, Bush remembered. “We were coming down the stretch, chasing Oakland. We were either going to kick in and stay or fade.” The Rangers faded. Oakland won the pennant and the World Series. “It just didn’t work out. Sosa just didn’t kick in.”

This is the fun stuff to talk about, I noted. “Politics is not, not fun,” Bush instantly replied.

Source: George Skelton, Los Angeles Times , Jun 5, 2000

Priorities: Reaganesque tax cuts; education & health reform

Source: Television Commerical before CA & NY primaries , Mar 2, 2000

Challenges the orthodoxy but is still a devout conservative

For as long as Bush has been describing himself as a “compassionate conservative,” people have wondered whether the phrase was a call for a flexible new ideology or an effort to put a friendlier face on an essentially unchanged philosophy. Bush’s public statements suggest a willingness to challenge some of the party’s assumptions about what it stands for. But Bush is by no means abandoning the basic conservative principles that have defined the party. Bush is clearly trying a delicate balancing act.
Source: New York Times, p. A1, on 2000 election , Oct 8, 1999

OpEd: Popularity based on name brand; issue stances unknown

In the 2000 race most of the country knew virtually nothing about him as a man or where he stood on the political issues. Even in the Lone Star State, voters indicated in an April 1999 poll that his popularity was based more on name & image than substance & accomplishment. Almost half of the Texans surveyed could not answer the following questions:In another indication that Bush's popularity was anchored in brand name recognition rather than any single achievement, an independent poll showed that his lead had evaporated when a short biography was substituted for his name
Source: Fortunate Son, by J. H. Hatfield, p. 2 , Oct 1, 1999

Role in father's 1988 campaign: surrogate and fundraiser

I'll be sort of a surrogate for my father, Junior publicly described his role as an unpaid senior adviser on the senior Bush's presidential campaign. "When his vice presidential responsibilities won't allow him to perform certain campaign duties, I'll be filling in for him. I'll be making speeches, helping in the fund-raising efforts and taking part in strategy sessions."

[By 1986], he was already giving his new job his full attention, spending most of his day in an attempt to raise millions of campaign dollars from boot-clad West Texas oilmen for the upcoming primary battle. "They want to talk to me because I'm the candidate's son," Junior acknowledged. "And, of course, I have access to the candidate."

Considered the most politically savvy of the Bush children, Junior assumed a major role in his father's campaign as an unofficial political adviser and chief troubleshooter. "He was an assessor of problems," recalled one strategist. "He was a general morale booster."

Source: Fortunate Son, by J. H. Hatfield, p. 75-76 , Oct 1, 1999

1995: Second Republican elected in TX since Reconstruction

Bush became only the 2nd Republican to be elected Texas governor since Reconstruction when he defeated Richards 53% to 46%. "What Texans can dream, Texans can do," Bush told cheering supporters at his election night party. Standing by his side were his wife, Laura, and his 2 daughters. "This victory tonight is a great honor. Texas is ready for a new generation of leadership," he continued, adding that he would "reach out" to those who had not supported him in an effort to "lead, not divide."

"It's a great night for Texas," the former president Bush said, congratulating the new governor-elect.

"I'm a little bloodied and bruised, though," George W. admitted.

"It was a tough race, but we admired you for the way you kept the campaign focus on a positive, forward-looking message," the senior Bush said. "You fought the good fight and stayed on the issues. Barbara is pretty crushed about Jeb losing," his father said, sounding apologetic. "She knows he'll take it hard."

Source: Fortunate Son, by J.H.Hatfield, p.140-142 , Aug 17, 1999

Bush’s centrism: free trade; private IRAs; no new taxes

Bush is, broadly speaking, a centrist. Some important distinctions are that Bush believes in keeping government in check; Bush is an unabashed free trader; and Bush has pledged not to raise taxes. Bush may be willing to privatize Social Security by introducing individual retirement accounts but he may well succumb instead to an across-the-board tax cut.
Source: The Economist, p. 13 , Jul 3, 1999

Government can create an environment for prosperity

Our country must be prosperous. But prosperity must have a purpose. The purpose of prosperity is to make sure the American dream touches every willing heart. The purpose of prosperity is to leave no one out. to leave no one behind.

Prosperity is not a given. Governments don’t create wealth. Wealth is created by Americans -- by creativity and enterprise and risk-taking. But government can create an environment where businesses and entrepreneurs and families can dream and flourish.

Source: Candidacy Announcement speech, Cedar Rapids, Iowa , Jun 12, 1999

Match conservative minds with compassionate hearts

Bush argued Republicans can be conservative - cut taxes, trim welfare rolls, reduce crime, improve schools, demand and promote personal responsibility - without being mean about it. He pledged not to retreat from criticism. “Is compassion beneath us? Is mercy below us? Should our party be led by someone who boasts of a hard heart? I am proud to be a compassionate conservative. I welcome the label. And on this ground, I’ll take my stand. [We] must match a conservative mind with a compassionate heart.”
Source: CNNAllPolitics , Jun 12, 1999

George W. Bush on Campaign Themes

OpEd: Compassionate conservatism means big spending

The Democratic Party has become synonymous with government security. Democrats agitate and unite by reminding voters that America has been unfair, and without the protection of government, they will be alone and powerless. In so many words "freedom" is their enemy. Ironically the more dependent Americans become on government, the more insecure and fearful they become. Democrats use this fear to manipulate their votes at election time.

Republicans have become America's minority party because they have been poor salesmen of the benefits of true freedom. As Americans have become more dependent on government, Republican have tried to use a "Democrat lite" approach, trying to appeal to voters' desire for more security. George W. Bush tried to appeal to America's need for security with his big-spending, "compassionate conservative" agenda. But few Republicans have been willing to tell Americans the truth: people are most secure when they are most free.

Source: Saving Freedom, by Jim DeMint, p. 48-50 , Jul 4, 2009

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