Bush nominates Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court to fill the seat vacated by Thurgood Marshall. The nomination comes under criticism when a former employee of Thomas, Anita Hill, alleges that he sexually harassed her.
A Nor'easter, later depicted in the movie The Perfect Storm, slams the Bush home at Walker's Point in Kennebunkport, Maine.
John Sununu, who delivered New Hampshire for Bush in 1988, is forced to resign as Bush's chief of staff amid accusations that he misused federal funds -- most notably, using government aircraft to get to his dental appointments in New Hampshire.
President Bush announces his candidacy for re-election. Pat Buchanan, a speechwriter for former Republican presidents, challenges Bush in the primaries. Though Bush beats Buchanan, the challenge highlights a widening divide within the Republican Party and saps the Bush campaign of resources and energy heading into the general election.
Riots break out in Los Angeles after four policemen caught on videotape beating a black man, Rodney King, are acquitted of the charges. Bush is criticized for his slow and, to many, inadequate reaction.
Wealthy businessman Ross Perot re-enters the presidential race as a third party candidate. After declaring his candidacy in February, Perot had dropped out in July, but rejoins the race in October. Perot will ultimately win 19 percent of the popular vote in November -- making him the most successful third-party candidate since the election of 1912.
Democratic candidate William J. Clinton defeats Bush and becomes the 42nd President of the United States.
Bush's mother, Dorothy Walker Bush, dies. His daughter Doro will later write, "It's still moving to think I was there when my father said good-bye to his mother, the woman who had the biggest impact on his life. I believe that to be true because my dad's life was not defined by the political system he navigated, but by the set of beliefs his mother taught him."
Bush attends the inauguration of his son, George W. Bush, as the 43rd President of the United States. It is the first time a father and son have both been elected president since John and John Quincy Adams almost 200 years before. The family refers to them as "41" and "43."
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My American Experience
Who is your favorite 20th-century American president? Was it FDR? Reagan? Clinton? Or one of the other 14 men who helped usher the United Sates through the 1900s? Who do you think was the most influential?