George W Bush

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At the 2000 US presidential elections the scions of two political families fought it out to be named 43rd president of the United States of America. And the two protagonists couldn't have been more different - clinical, intellectual Democrat Al Gore versus the instinctive "people person" Republican George W Bush, who talks of leading from the heart.

After a close-run election (it hinged on less than 1,000 votes in the state of Florida) only settled five weeks after polling day, Bush junior triumphed when Gore conceded defeat.

Emerging into the world on July 6, 1946, George Walker Bush was the first of six children (his sister Robin died of leukaemia when she was just three years old) born to World War II pilot and aspiring politician George Herbert Walker Bush and his wife Barbara. He spent an idyllic childhood in the Texas towns of Houston and Midland, then followed in his father's footsteps by attending Yale in 1964, where he became the quintessential frat boy, enjoying a reputation as a party lover.

From there it was off to Harvard Business School for an MBA, after his modest grades denied him entry to the University of Texas Law School. After graduation, while his classmates headed for Wall Street, George W hankered after Texas and returned there to seek a job in the oil industry. He remained in the state until 1986. After working on his father's 1988 presidential campaign, George W indulged his penchant for baseball by buying the Texas Rangers team.

It was George Bush Senior's beating at the hands of Bill Clinton in 1992 that turned George W on to politics. He and his brother Jeb, seen politically as a sure thing, ran for the respective governorships of Texas and Florida. Dubya moved into the Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas; Jeb had to wait another four years before he could book the removal vans. By 1996, the Republicans had earmarked Dubya, with his family name and an ability to raise huge amounts of money, as the next potential candidate for the 2000 White House campaign.

The Seventies and Eighties were Dubya's wild years, when his good-time boy reputation gathered pace. He was arrested in Maine in 1976 for drink-driving and there are rumours which George W has not sought to deny of cocaine abuse. He cleaned up his act however, when he met Laura Welch, the clean-living librarian whom he would later marry. She introduced him to bible study groups and reportedly helped him cease drinking with the ultimatum: "Jim Beam or me". He eventually quit the bottle thanks to a head-splitting hangover, the morning after his 40th birthday. George and Laura married in 1977 and have twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara.

On November 3, 2004, George W Bush was re-elected President of the United States after a close run battle with Democrat candidate John Kerry.
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