George H.W. Bush fired the majority of Reagan's appointees in an attempt to distance himself from his predecessor. "It was an ideological housecleaning," says presidential historian John Robert Greene. "And Reagan appointees are shown the door in a harsh transition that makes it look like a Democrat is coming in."
Narrator: Now, with a chance to be his own man, George Bush began to distance himself from Ronald Reagan.
John Robert Greene, presidential historian: First thing that he does is -- through his transition team, which was run in part by his son, George W., was went in and booted all of the Reagan appointees, and told them, with a great deal of harshness, that they were to be out of town before sundown. It was an ideological housecleaning, and Reagan appointees are shown the door, in a harsh transition that makes it look like a Democrat is coming in.
Narrator: Wasting little time, Bush tackled some of the problems he inherited. On the domestic front, he decided to clean up a messy banking problem that Reagan and Congress had all but ignored. In 1986, when the real estate market collapsed, hundreds of savings and loan banks had gone bust. The cost of bailing out depositors was pushing $50 billion and was projected to triple. Bush knew it would be expensive and politically thankless.
John Robert Greene, presidential historian: You do it, not to advance your interests. You do it because it's in the interest of millions of people who will never vote for you and will certainly never give you any credit for doing it. That's responsibility. That's accountability. That's the old establishment way of discharging the privileges of leadership.
Herbert Parmet, biographer: He's separating himself from Reagan. One of the things that haunted Bush all the way through was his being compared to Reagan. And immediately, from his acceptance speech, "a gentler and kinder country," he's separating himself from Reagan. And this was some of the major residue of the Reagan administration.
Franklin Roosevelt restored hope after the Great Depression and led the nation during World War II. Part of the award-winning Presidents collection.
The world famous escape artist could escape from everything - except his own mortality.
The life story of Aimee Semple McPherson, religious evangelist instrumental in bringing conservative Protestantism into mainstream culture.
America's Robin Hood who robbed not only the rich but the poor and defenseless as well, always saving the treasure for himself. Part of the Wild West collection.
An African American minister whose dream of ending racism galvanized millions of Americans in the civil rights movement.
As a nation mourned the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, a manhunt closed in on the twenty-six-year-old actor, John Wilkes Booth.
In August 1942 the murder of a young Mexican American man ignited a firestorm in Los Angeles, ultimately sparking brutal race riots.
In September 1970, militants from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked five commercial airplanes.