George H.W. Bush meets Barbara Pierce at a Christmas dance in Greenwich,
|June 12, 1942|
George H.W. Bush graduates from Andover and enlists in the U.S.
Navy. He serves on active duty from August 1942 to September 1945.
|September 2, 1944|
George H.W. Bush's plane is shot down by Japanese
anti-aircraft fire over the Pacific Ocean and he is rescued by the submarine
|January 6, 1945|
George and Barbara Bush are married.
|July 6, 1946|
George Walker Bush is born in New Haven, CT, where his father
was attending Yale University.
George Sr. moves his family to Midland, Texas after graduation in
order to make his fortune in the oil business.
· "A Philosophy With Roots in Conservative Texas Soil"
|December 20, 1949|
Pauline Robinson "Robin" Bush is born.
George W. attends Sam Houston Elementary School and San Jacinto Junior
High in Midland, Texas.
· Click here to read FRONTLINE'S interviews with George W.'s childhood friends,
Randall Roden and Doug Hannah
Prescott Bush, George Sr.'s father, wins a special election to fill a
vacant U.S. Senate seat from Connecticut.
|February 11, 1953|
John Ellis "Jeb" Bush is born.
|Oct. 11, 1953|
Robin Bush dies. She had been diagnosed with advanced leukemia
several months earlier and was treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering cancer
hospital in New York City.
· Childhood friend Randall Roden tells FRONTLINE about the effect of Robin's
death on young George.
· Click here to read more on how Robin's death forged a close bond between
Barbara Bush and George W.
Neil Mallon Bush is born.
Marvin Pierce Bush is born.
The Bush family moves to Houston in order to further George Sr.'s
business and political prospects.
Dorothy Walker Bush is born.
George W. attends the private Kinkaid School in Houston. He was
very popular and remembered for his love of sports.
George W. attends Andover, where his father had been a legendary
student leader and athlete. Nicknamed "Lip," George W. was known across campus
for his extracurricular activities as a cheerleader and organizer of an
intramural stickball league.
· Click here to read Clay Johnson's memories of George W. at Andover.
· "Earning A's in People Skills at Andover"
George W. works on his father's Senate campaign. George Sr. is
overwhelmingly defeated after being portrayed by his opponent as a carpetbagger
and a member of the Northeastern elitist establishment.
George W. attends Yale University, the alma mater of his father,
grandfather and several uncles. He majored in history but again was better
known for his extracurricular activities, including the Delta Kappa Epsilon
fraternity and the Skull and Bones secret society.
· In an interview with FRONTLINE, Clay Johnson shares memories of George W. at
· "Ally of an Older Generation Amid the Tumult of the 60s"
George Sr. easily wins the race for U.S. House of Representatives from
Texas's Seventh District.
George W. is arrested and charged with disorderly conduct
resulting from a college prank of stealing a Christmas wreath from a downtown
store. The charges were later dismissed.
George W. becomes engaged to Cathryn Wolfman, a friend from
Houston. The two eventually drift apart and the engagement is called off in
|May 27, 1968|
George W. enlists in the 147th Fighter Group with the
Texas Air National Guard. When asked why he wanted to enlist George replied,
"I want to be a fighter pilot because my father was." His unit was referred to
as the "Champagne Unit" because it included the sons of future Senator Lloyd
Bentsen and Governor John Connally.
· Click here to read about the controversy over whether George W. received
special treatment in enlisting in the Texas National Guard.
|June 9, 1968|
George W. graduates from Yale.
After completing basic training George W. is put on inactive
duty status so he could work on the Florida Senate campaign of Edward J.
George W. is sent to National Guard flight training at Moody
Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia.
George W. receives his National Guard wings and is assigned to
Ellington Air Force Base. Click here to read Doug Hannah's memories of George
W.'s National Guard years.
George W. splits his time between his National Guard duties and working
on his father's second campaign for the U.S. Senate. Despite support from
President Nixon, George Sr. again faced accusations of carpetbagging and was
defeated by Lloyd Bentsen.
George W. graduates from Combat Crew Training School, but still
flies weekend shifts for the National Guard. He moves into the Chateaux Dijon
apartment complex in Houston and spends the next few years of his life working
a series of jobs in politics and business.
· "After Yale, Bush Ambles Amiably into his Future"
George W. applies to University of Texas Law School and is
George Sr. is named U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
George W. takes a job for nine months as a management trainee with
Stratford of Texas, an agricultural and ranching company.
George W. works as political director on William M. "Red" Blount's
losing Senate campaign in Alabama and serves with the 187th Tactical
Reconnaissance Group in Montgomery. During the summer Bush attends the GOP
National Convention in Miami with his father.
George Sr. becomes Chairman of the Republican National Committee
1973 - George W. works for nine months as a counselor at the Professional
United Leadership League (PULL), a program designed to offer mentors from
professional sports leagues to Houston's inner-city children. He is discharged
from the National Guard in order to enter Harvard Business School.
George W. attends Harvard Business School. During the politically
charged environment of the Watergate years, Bush was notably anti-political.
To escape liberal anti-Nixon Cambridge, Bush spent much of his spare time with
his relatives in the Northeast.
George Sr. named Chief of U.S. Liaison Office to China.
George W. returns to Midland with money left over from his education
trust fund and starts to work in the oil business. He begins as a freelance
"landman," a middleman who researched land titles for potential oil prospects
and attempted to lease the land on behalf of an oil company.
George Sr. appointed Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
|September 4, 1976|
George W. is arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine for operating under the influence. He pleaded guilty, paid a $150 fine and had his driving privileges suspended.
Upon the retirement of Texas Representative George Mahon, George W.
makes an impulsive decision to run for Congress. He runs as a traditional
conservative, opposed to big government, particularly Carter's attempts to
control natural gas prices.
· In an interview with FRONTLINE, Bush cousin John Ellis shares his views on why
George W. ran for congress.
George W. is introduced to Laura Welch, an elementary school
librarian and Midland native at a friend's barbecue. The two marry three
months later, on November 5, 1977 at the First United Methodist Church in
George W. beats Jim Reese, the mayor of Odessa, in the Republican
primary. Reese, who had been endorsed by Ronald Reagan, campaigns against
George W. as a "liberal Northeast Republican" riding on his father's coattails.
George Sr., who was then jockeying for the 1980 GOP presidential nomination,
did not campaign in the race at his son's request.
Although outspent by 25%, Democrat Kent Hance wins 53% of the
vote to Bush's 47%. During the campaign Hance contrasted his Texas roots and
education to Bush's years at Andover, Yale, and Harvard and questioned the
extent to which Bush's campaign contributions came from outside the district.
· "Learning How to Run--A West Texas Stumble"
· Click here for additional reporting on Bush's 1978 campaign.
George W.'s Arbusto Oil company begins active operations. The
company had been incorporated in June 1977 so Bush could use it as a credential
in his congressional campaign. Although the Bush name attracted many
investors, most lost money due to Arbusto's average performance.
A surprised George Bush Sr. accepts Ronald Reagan's offer of the
vice presidency at the GOP National Convention in Detroit. The Republican
ticket wins the presidential contest in November.
· In an interview with FRONTLINE, Doug Hannah comments on how George W.'s life
changed when his father became vice president.
|November 25, 1981|
George W. and Laura's twin daughters Barbara Pierce Bush
and Jenna Welch Bush are born.
Arbusto Oil is renamed the Bush Exploration Company. Bush took
the company public and received a $1 million investment from Philip A. Uzielli,
a New York investor who had attended Princeton with James Baker. Over the next
two years, Bush found it increasingly difficult to find investors in the oil
· Click here to read more about Bush's years in the oil industry.
|February 29, 1984|
Bush Exploration Company merges with Spectrum 7 and George
W. is named chairman and CEO of the new company.
George W. meets with Billy Graham at the Bush family retreat in
Kennebunkport, Maine. Although he had become more attentive to religion after
the birth of his daughters, Bush became increasingly serious about his faith
after talking with Graham.
· Click here to read an interview with Doug Wead
about Bush and religion.
George W. drinks too much while celebrating their collective
40th birthdays with friends at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado
Springs. Waking up the next morning with a hangover, he pledged never to drink
again and claims not to have touched alcohol since.
· "How Bush Came to Tame His Inner Scamp"
· Click here to read more about Bush's decision to give up alcohol.
Spectrum 7 is bought by Harken Oil and Gas. George W. becomes
a high profile board member and consultant to the company.
George W. moves his family to Washington DC in order to work on
his father's presidential campaign. While his main role was that of "loyalty
enforcer, " he was also important in efforts to court and maintain
relationships with Christian conservatives.
· In interviews with FRONTLINE Jim Pinkerton and Mary Matalin -both advisors to
his father-- discuss George W.'s role in Bush Sr.'s 1988 presidential
· "For Bush, Thrill Was in Father's Chase"
George Sr. is elected president. George W. serves as the head
of the "Scrub Team," a group of Bush advisers deciding who would get jobs in
the White House.
George W. moves his family back to Dallas.
|April 21, 1989|
A group of investors assembled by George W. buys the Texas
Rangers from Bush family friend Eddie Chiles for $75 million. George W. is
chosen to serve as the managing general partner--the public face for the team.
· In an interview with FRONTLINE, former Texas Rangers General Manager Tom Grieve
offers his assessment of Bush's management role with the Rangers.
|August 1, 1989|
George W. announces in a speech to a Dallas lawyers'
association that he will not run for governor in 1990.
|June 22, 1990|
George W. sells 2/3 of his stake in Harken at 2.5 times the
original value of the stock, netting $848,560 two weeks before Harken announces
a disastrous quarterly report. In April 1991 the Securities and Exchange
Commission claims that George W. had filed notice of his sale of the Harken
stock eight months after federal law required him to do so. Bush insists he
filed the proper paperwork and that it had been lost by the SEC. In October
1993, Bush releases a letter from the SEC saying "the investigation has been
terminated as to the conduct of Mr. Bush and at this time, no enforcement
action is contemplated."
The residents of Arlington, Texas approve a controversial
referendum to raise $135 million through a half-penny sales tax in order to
finance a new ballpark for the Rangers. George W. served as the chief public
salesman of the deal and the Ballpark in Arlington opened in April 1994.
· Click here to learn more about how Bush's role as a Rangers owner helped pave
the way for his gubernatorial campaign.
· "Road to Politics Ran Through Texas Ballpark"
George Sr. loses his presidential reelection bid to Bill Clinton.
Because of his responsibilities with the Rangers, George W. did not play a
major role in the campaign. Click here for Mary Matalin's analysis of how the
1992 election affected George W.
George W. announces he will challenge the popular Texas governor Ann
Richards in the 1994 gubernatorial race. With the 1992 election, George W. was
finally able to escape his father's shadow and as owner of the Rangers he had
developed a significant public persona in Texas. Bush runs on the issues of
decentralizing public education, toughening the juvenile justice system, and
reforming the tort and welfare systems.
· Click here to read more about Bush's decision to run for governor.
George W. holds a secret meeting with Democratic Lieutenant
Governor Bob Bullock to win Bullock's confidence and support.
After winning endorsements from the Houston Chronicle and
Dallas Morning News, George W. defeats Ann Richards in the gubernatorial
election with 53% of the vote. As governor he concentrates on his campaign
platform, leading to welfare cuts, stricter penalties for juvenile crimes, and
reduced damages in personal injury lawsuits. Bush is known for his ability to
build consensus between Republicans and Democrats. After winning the election
he withdraws from running the Rangers' daily operations.
· Click here to read a Washington Post series on Bush's gubernatorial record.
Bush introduces a sweeping tax reform plan in Texas, including proposals
to cut property taxes but raise sales and business taxes so that the state
would pay a higher percentage of education funding. Although the end result
would have been a net tax cut, it was opposed by many Republicans and defeated
in the Texas legislature.
|February 3, 1998|
Under national scrutiny, George W. declines to issue a
thirty-day reprieve for convicted murderer and born-again Christian Karla Faye
George W. and his partners sell the Rangers and Bush earns $14.9
|November 3, 1998|
George W. is reelected as governor. His opponent, Garry
Mauro, a Texas land commissioner, runs against Bush's environmental record.
Bush wins 69% of the vote, including 65% of the women's vote, 27% of the
African-American vote, and 49% of the Latino vote.
|March 2, 1999|
George W. announces the formation of a presidential exploratory
committee. He raises a record $36.3 million during the first six months of
|January 24, 2000|
George W. wins the Iowa caucus.
George W. loses the New Hampshire primary to Arizona Senator
John McCain, but bounces back with a strong victory in South Carolina. In
March, McCain suspends his presidential campaign.
|July 25, 2000|
George W. selects Dick Cheney as his running mate.
|August 3, 2000|
George W. Bush accepts the Republican presidential nomination.