George W Bush
George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States. His first four-year term as President began on January 20, 2001. After a fierce campaign against challenger John Kerry, he won a second term by winning both the electoral and popular votes in the presidential election of 2004. His second term is scheduled to end January 20, 2009.
Before assuming the presidency, Bush was a businessman. He served as Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000. He is the son of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush, the brother of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and the grandson of Prescott Bush.
Personal life, service, and education
George W. Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut to parents George and Barbara Bush, and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He has four younger siblings: Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. A younger sister, Robin, died of leukemia in 1953 at the age of three.
As was his father, Bush was educated at Phillips Academy (Andover), (September 1961–June 1964) and Yale University (September 1964–May 1968). While at Yale he joined Delta Kappa Epsilon (where he was president from October 1965 until graduation), and the Skull and Bones society. He played baseball during his freshman year and rugby during his freshman and senior years. He received a bachelor's degree in history in 1968.
After graduating from Yale, Bush enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard on May 27, 1968 during the Vietnam War, with a commitment to serve until May 26, 1974. He served as an F-102 pilot until 1972 and was twice promoted during his service, first to second lieutenant and then to first lieutenant. In November 1970, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, the commander of the Texas Air National Guard, recommended that Bush be promoted to first lieutenant.
In September 1973 he received permission to end his six-year commitment six months early in order to attend Harvard University. He transferred to inactive reserve status shortly before being honorably discharged on October 1, 1973.
However, when Bush began his political career, his opponents and journalists began to raise questions about his service record. It has been charged that he skipped over a waiting list to receive a coveted National Guard slot, that he did not report for required duty, and that he was suspended from flying after he missed a required physical examination. These issues were publicized during the 2004 campaign by Texans for Truth and other Bush critics. See George W. Bush military service controversy for details.
On Labor Day weekend, September 4, 1976, Bush was pulled over by police near his family's Kennebunkport summer home in Maine. He was arrested and fined $150 and temporary suspension of driving privileges in the state for driving under the influence of alcohol. News of the arrest was released five days before the 2000 presidential election by the Kennebunkport police department.
Bush married Laura Welch in 1977. They have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna Bush, born in 1981. In 1986, at age 40, he became a born-again Christian, leaving the Episcopal Church and joining his wife's denomination, the United Methodist Church.
Bush has described his days before his religious conversion as his "nomadic" period and "irresponsible youth". Bush admitted to drinking "too much" in those years. He gave up drinking for good shortly after his 40th birthday celebration. A number of reasons were cited for the change including a 1985 meeting with Rev. Billy Graham. CNN reported during the 2000 campaign that Bush said "I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then."  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/bushtext072599.htm)  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/bush072599.htm)  (http://www.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/11/02/bush.dui/)
Bush has addressed the issue of his alleged cocaine abuse on several occasions. The 2000 campaign initially refused to answer on principle, but later Bush told the press that, as a condition of Federal employment, he had signed a form averring he had not taken drugs in the previous seven years. When asked if he could have signed it when his father was president, he paused to think, and then answered that he could have. But Bush refused to answer if he had ever taken cocaine.
Business and political career
Bush began his career in the oil industry in 1979 when he established Arbusto Energy, an oil and gas exploration company he formed in 1977 with leftover funds from his education trust fund and money from other investors. (Years later, he was criticized because some of the funding came from the bin Laden family.) The 1979 energy crisis hurt Arbusto and, after a name change to Bush Exploration Co., Bush sold the company in 1984 to Spectrum 7, another Texas oil and gas exploration firm. Under the terms of the sale, Bush became CEO of Spectrum 7. History was repeated as the oil crisis of 1985-1986 bankrupted Spectrum 7. Spectrum 7 was subsequently saved by a buyout from Harken Energy Corp. in 1986 with Bush becoming a director of Harken.
After working on his father's successful 1988 presidential campaign, he was told by friend William DeWitt, Jr. that then-owner Eddie Chiles, another of the Bushes' many friends, wanted to sell the Texas Rangers, an Arlington-based Major League Baseball franchise. In April 1989, Bush assembled a group of investors from his father's close friends, who bought 86% of the Rangers for $75 million. (Bush later appointed one of these partners, Tom Schieffer to the post of Ambassador to Australia.) Critics expressed concern about the propriety of the purchase, charging use of political influence and favoritism involving a family friend.  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/bushside073199.htm) Bush invested $606,302, with $500,000 of it a loan from a bank. Bush paid off the loan by selling $848,000 worth of stock in Harken Energy Corp. in 1990.
Critics allege insider trading from this transaction. In the book House of Bush,House of Saud by Craig Unger on page 123, Harken Energy at the time of Bush's sale "was expected to run out of money in just three days." In a last-ditch attempt to save the company, Harken was advised by the endowment fund of Harvard University to spin-off two of its lower-performing divisions. "According to a Harken memo, if the plan did not go through, the company had 'no other source of immediate financing.'" Bush had already taken out a $500,000 loan and sought Harken's general counsel for advice. The reply was explicit: "The act of trading, particularly if close in time to the receipt of the inside information, is strong evidence that the insider's investment decision was based on the inside information...The insider should be advised not to sell." This memo was turned over by the Bush's attorney the day after the SEC ruled that it would not charge Bush with insider trading. On June 22, Bush sold his 212,140 shares of stock anyways for a net profit of $848,560. The very next quarter, Harken announced losses of $23 million, which continued to the end of the year when the stock "plummeted from $4 to $1.25."
The subsequent SEC investigation ended a 1992 investigation with a memo stating "it appears that Bush did not engage in illegal insider trading", but noted that the memo "must in no way be construed as indicating that the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately result."  (http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/07/03/bush.stock/) Critics allege that this decision was strongly influenced by the makeup of the SEC at the time, which heavily favored Bush. The chairman at the time was Richard Breeden, a good friend of the Bush family's who had been nominated to the SEC by President George H. W. Bush and a lawyer in James Baker's firm, Baker Botts. The SEC's general counsel at the time was James Doty, who had represented George W. Bush when he sought to buy into the Texas Rangers (although Doty recused himself from the investigation.) Bush's own lawyer was Robert Jordan, who had been "partners with both Doty and Breeden at Baker Botts and who later became George W. Bush's ambassador to Saudi Arabia."
As President, Bush has refused to authorize the SEC to release its full report on the investigation. Bush personally earned US$14.9 million from his $606,302 investment in the 1998 sale of the team for $250 million at a total profit of US$170 million.  (http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/vol17/issue19/pols.bush.html)
He served as managing general partner of the Rangers until he was elected Governor of Texas on November 8, 1994 over incumbent Democrat Ann Richards. He went on to become, in 1998, the first Texas governor to be elected for two consecutive four-year terms. His tenure in office featured a positive reputation for bipartisan leadership. Among issues attracting national and international attention during his terms was Texas' use of the death penalty. He signed the death warrants of 152 criminals, including that of Karla Faye Tucker.
In Bush's 2000 presidential election campaign, he campaigned on, among other issues, allowing religious charities to compete on an equal basis for participation in federally funded programs, reducing taxes, promoting the use of education vouchers, supporting oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and restructuring of the armed forces. In foreign policy, he stated he was against using the U.S. armed forces in "nation building" attempts abroad.
Bush became President on January 20, 2001 as the winner of one of the closest general elections in U.S. history, defeating Democratic Vice President Al Gore in 30 of 50 states for a narrow victory by five electoral votes (Bush-271, Gore-267). Gore won a plurality of the nationwide popular vote by approximately 540,000 votes out of 105 million, a margin of barely one-half of one percent. It was the first presidential election since the 1888 election in which a candidate lost the popular vote while winning the Electoral College vote. The Electoral College outcome could have been altered by a difference of only a few hundred (537/2) popular votes in Florida.
The Florida vote, which favored Bush by a tiny margin in the initial count, was heavily contested after concerns were raised about flaws and irregularities in the voting process, and became the subject of a series of contentious court cases. After a Supreme Court decision in mid-December favoring Bush, Gore conceded the election. The election results are still disputed by many, though no longer contested in any legal venue. Bush won Florida's 25 electoral votes by a mere 537 votes. See U.S. presidential election, 2000.
Bush's first term didn't start off well. With both houses of Congress split almost down the middle, his policies were few and his approval ratings were not extremely high either. Then an event occurred that most would agree changed the world forever. On September 11, 2001, eight months after Bush had taken office, the United States was attacked by terrorists. This attack has come to be known as 9/11. During the time of fear and confusion for the American people that followed 9/11 the president remained firm and confident declaring a war on terror. His actions during this difficult time eased most Americans fears. The president's approval rating soared to 85%, its highest rate since. During this time he also created the Office of Homeland Security in hopes that this new office would prevent any further attacks. He appointed Tom Ridge it's secretary.
The United States' response to the terrorist attacks was to deploy 11,000 troops to Afghanistan to over throw the Taliban government, an Islamic fundamentalist group thought to be harboring Osama Bin Laden the leader of Al-Qaeda,the terrorist organization blamed for (and later claiming responsibility for) the 9/11 attacks. Although, the Taliban were over thrown in Afghanistan, and a United States approved government was put in it's place, the majority of Al-Qaeda members, including Osama Bin Laden, escaped and some are still active to this day. Bush is often criticized for not putting enough troops into Afghanistan to accomplish an antiquate man hunt, although many others disagree. However, during this time the Bush administration was successful in freezing Al-Qaeda funding and shutting down many training camps for new members. The US also eventually caught many of the Al-Qaeda leaders, but never Osama Bin Laden who remains at large.
Soon after Afghanistan the Bush administration began announcing that they had discovered there were weapons of mass destruction (or WMDs) in the country Iraq, and the American people, as well as the rest of the world, were in danger. After an unsuccessful attempt for approval from the United Nations, the United States invaded Iraq beginning a conflict that there that continues on now. When American troops began to die in huge numbers in Iraq, and no WMDs were found, Bush's approval ratings began to slip. In May of 2004, Bush's approval rating had slipped to 46%. By then to many people in the world he became one of the most hated or loved public figure of their life time. These disagreements lead to a deep division in the country, and a refueling of interest in politics that had long been dormant or nonexistent in many Americans.
It was the intense conflicts of interest the fueled the fire for the 2004 election. During his campaign, Bush's platform did not change from that of the 2000 election in any significant way, although he added his success in fighting the war on terror and preventing another attack like that of 9/11. His Democratic opponent John Kerry, was cast as soft and said to "flip-flop" or change opinions on issues for political gain, while Bush was portrayed as rigid and unyielding in his views. The campaign was closely fought and, and each candidate was accused of attacking the other in some form or another almost on a daily basis. The polls remained neck-and-neck most of the way to the election. The only time either candidate was significantly ahead in the polls was after their political parties' conventions. After the the Republican's convention most polls showed an eleven point lead for President Bush, which kept dwindling as time went on. Polls were very close to dead even by the first presidential Debate on September 30.
During the three presidential debates, reactions to Bush's performance were mixed. He was said to have scowled during the first debate several times, which he later made light of. Most media sources agree that he lost the first two debates. But by the third debate, he had noticeably straitened up and appeared as firm and confident as he had during past performances. The third debate came out as a tie, although many still disagree.
On the eve of Election Day, most polls and mass media outlets predicted that John Kerry would win the presidency. Exit polls also reflected this projection. However, as polling centers closed and votes began processing, it became clear that Bush and Kerry were winning the same states that were won by their parties in 2000. Unfortunately for Kerry, Bush managed to win swing states Florida (by 400,000 as opposed to 537 margin in 2000) and Ohio (by 136,000). He won his re-election bid by 34 electoral votes (Bush-286, Kerry-252). The next afternoon John Kerry conceded his candidacy. During a speech that same day Bush outlined what he hoped to do in his second term and stated his humbleness in gaining a mandate from the American people. Bush received the most popular votes since Ronald Reagan's re-election in 1984, getting over 3.5 million more votes than Kerry. The passion for this election and its campaign resulted in a record voter turn out, and resurgence in the common American's interest in politics. The results were extreme relief from Bush supporters, and deep sadness from Kerry supporters. It was said by many that for Bush to have a successful 2nd term he must bridge this growing gap between Americans, and win over his opponents supporters. However, with a majority in both houses of congress and the prospect of appointing three new Supreme Court Justices, getting his policy's past swiftly can not be met with much opposition.
Foreign policy and security
During his first presidential visit to Europe in June 2001, Bush came under harsh criticism from European leaders for his rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, which is aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions that may contribute to global warming. The treaty, however, had already been rejected by the United States Senate on the grounds that it would exempt polluting nations classified as "developing", such as China. In November 2004, Russia ratified the treaty, giving it the required minimum of nations to put it into force. This leaves USA, with the largest emissions in the world, in a politically uncomfortable position.
Bush imposition of a tariff on imported steel and on Canadian soft lumber was controversial in light of his pursuit of other free market policies, and attracted criticism both from his fellow conservatives and from nations affected. The steel tariff was later rescinded under pressure from the WTO.
During his campaign, Bush's foreign policy platform included support of a stronger economic and political relationship with Latin America, especially Mexico, and a reduction in involvement in "nation-building" and other small-scale military engagements. However, after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks, the administration focused much more on foreign policy in the Middle East.
Shortly after the attacks, a war was launched against Afghanistan to topple the Taliban, which harbored Osama bin Laden. This action had fairly strong international support, and the Taliban government folded quickly after the invasion. However, subsequent nation-building efforts in concert with the United Nations under Hamid Karzai have proved troublesome, and bin Laden was never apprehended nor believed to have been killed. A large contingent of troops and advisors remains through 2004. See U.S. invasion of Afghanistan for details. Democratic elections were held on October 9, 2004, although marred by flawed registration and validation and threatened withdrawal of 15 of 18 presidential candidates. International observers called the elections "fairly democratic" at the "overall majority" of polling centers.
On December 14, 2001, Bush scrapped the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which had been a bedrock of U.S.-Soviet nuclear stability during the Cold War, arguing it was no longer relevant. Instead, Bush focused resources on a ballistic missile defense system. The proposed system has been the subject of much scientific criticism. Field tests have been mixed, with both some successes and failures. It is scheduled to start deployment in 2005. A ballistic missile defense system will not stop cruise missiles, or missiles transported by boat or land vehicle. Hence, many critics of the system believe it is an expensive mistake, built for the least likely attack, a nuclear tipped ballistic missile. Bush has also increased spending on military research and development and the modernization of weapons systems, but cancelled programs such as the Crusader self-propelled artillery system. The administration also began initial research into bunker-busting nuclear missiles.
Beginning in 2002 and escalating in spring 2003, Bush pressed the UN to act on its disarmament mandates to Iraq, precipitating a diplomatic crisis. He began by pushing for UN weapons inspections in Iraq, which he received with passage of the UN Security Council Resolution 1441, which allowed inspectors lead by Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei to investigate Bush's allegations. Increasing pressure from the United States in the spring of 2003 forced the UN weapons inspectors to leave the country, unable to verify the existence of WMD (weapons of mass destruction). The Bush administration examined the possibility of a new resolution from the Security Council, but when it became clear that the majority of the members (including most of the permanent members with vetoing power) would vote against such a resolution the matter was never taken to a vote (cf. The UN Security Council and the Iraq war). The United States managed to gather a group of countries to support a war, a total of about forty. They have been called "coalition of the willing" and while most of them are small there were some notable exceptions such as the United Kingdom, Japan and Spain. Spain has since pulled out of the war.
The United States invaded Iraq in March, citing the old resolution and the lack of Iraq cooperation. The original stated goal of the war was to stop Iraq from deploying and developing WMD and to topple the dictator Saddam Hussein. The war proved extremely divisive, without any clear resolution and some of the U.S.'s long-term allies such as France and Germany strongly opposed to it. In many countries there have also been civilian opposition and antiwar protests, on a scale not seen since the Vietnam War. The war was called illegal by the Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan.
While the Iraqi armed forces fell apart within a few days the problems in Iraq have since escalated. The difficulties in the occupation and implementation of a democracy, the failure to find Saddam's alleged weapons, and claims about information having been allegedly spun or distorted to support the war have all been used to challenge the Bush administration both domestically and from abroad. These claims have been corroborated by investigations and reports by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Nevertheless, Bush states that he still believes it was the right decision, because a demonstrably brutal tyrant has been overthrown and can no longer threaten the world. See 2003 invasion of Iraq for full coverage.
Bush's foreign policy is influenced by the neo-conservative think tank Project for the New American Century, many of whose members have prominent positions in the Bush administration. Many argue that the administration is far more inspired by the Heritage Foundation, and to a lesser degree the Cato Institute, although these organizations lack representation in the administration.
President Bush has endorsed an amendment to the United States Constitution that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, which would ban same-sex marriage, but leaves open the possibility of civil unions. Bush has tended to be opposed to forms of affirmative action, but expressed appreciation for the Supreme Court's ruling upholding selecting college applicants for purposes of diversity. Although President Bush did meet with the National Urban League, he is the first sitting President not to meet with the NAACP since Herbert Hoover.
President Bush has implemented three tax cuts during his term in office that eliminated the "marriage penalty" and the "death tax" and reduced marginal tax rates. These cuts were enacted by Congress with large bipartisan majorities, but were later criticized as regressive give-aways. Bush advocates the partial privatization of Social Security wherein an individual would be free to invest a portion of his Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts. This initiative has not yet been considered by Congress.
Bush signed the Medicare Act of 2003, which added prescription drug coverage to Medicare, subsidized companies that sell these drugs, and prohibited the Federal government from negotiating discounts with drug companies.
Of the US$2.4 trillion budgeted for 2005, about US$401 billion  (http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2004/nr20040202-0301.html) are planned to be spent on defense. This level is generally comparable to the defense spending during the cold war.  (http://www.d-n-i.net/charts_data/evolution_of_the_fy_2003_budget.htm)
In January of 2003, Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, which targets supporting early learning, measures student performance, gives options over failing schools, and ensures more resources for schools. Critics (including Senator Kerry and the National Education Association) say schools were not given the resources to help meet new standards despite a 50% increase in federal education spending. Some state governments are refusing to implement provisions of the act as long as they are not adequately funded.  (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52720-2004Feb18.html)
Scientists have repeatedly criticized the Bush administration for reducing funding for scientific research, setting restrictions on federal funding of stem cell research, ignoring scientific consensus on global warming, and hampering cooperation with foreign scientists by enforcing deterring immigration and visa restrictions. In February 2004, over 5,000 scientists (including 48 Nobel Prize winners) from the Union of Concerned Scientists signed a statment "opposing the Bush administration's use of scientific advice". They felt that "the Bush administration has ignored unbiased scientific advice in the policy-making that is so important for our collective welfare".  (http://www.ucsusa.org/global_environment/rsi/page.cfm?pageID=1320)  (http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=5476374) (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5722898/)
On January 14, 2004, Bush announced a "space vision" (http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/01/14/bush.space/index.html), calling for a return to the Moon by 2020, the completion of the International Space Station by 2010 and eventually sending astronauts to Mars. However, the plan faces funding problems, and Bush has not mentioned the initiative since his speech.  (http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/world/8572141.htm?1c).
Bush's environmental record has been largely criticized by environmentalists, who charge that his policies cater to industry demands to weaken environmental protections. He did sign the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002 authorizing the Federal government to begin cleaning up pollution and contaminated sediment in the Great Lakes. He signed the Brownfields Legislation in 2002, accelerating the cleanup of abandoned industrial sites, or brownfields, to better protect public health, create jobs, and revitalize communities. In December 2003, President Bush signed legislation implementing key provisions of his Healthy Forests Initiative. Similar to most of his domestic policy, he claims to be doing precisely the opposite of his actions when he talks about clear skies while permitting higher levels of pollution.
Bush's cabinet possesses the largest number of minorities of any U.S. federal cabinet to date, including the first two Asian-American federal cabinet secretaries. It is also, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the wealthiest cabinet ever.
Only one non-Republican is present in Bush's cabinet. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, the first Asian-American cabinet secretary, who had previously served as Secretary of Commerce under Bill Clinton, is a Democrat.
His cabinet includes figures prominent in past Republican administrations, notably Colin Powell, who had served as United States National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under George H. W. Bush, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who had served in the same position under Gerald Ford.
Other advisors and officials
Among the more criticized appointments have been John Negroponte, Elliott Abrams, Otto Reich, and John Poindexter for their roles in the Iran-Contra Affair and for allegedly covering up human rights abuses in Central and South America. Additionally, some appointments have been accused of being nepotism, including: Michael Powell (son of Secretary of State Colin Powell) as FCC Chairman, 28-year-old J. Strom Thurmond Jr (Sen. Strom Thurmond's son) as South Carolina's U.S. Attorney, Eugene Scalia (Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's son) as Solicitor for the Labor Department, Janet Rehnquist (U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist's daughter) as Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (later fired for firearms charges and inappropriate job terminations), and Elizabeth Cheney (Vice Pres. Dick Cheney's daughter) to the newly-created position Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near-East Affairs.
Public perception and assessments
In the time of national crisis following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Bush briefly enjoyed approval ratings of greater than 85 percent. Bush maintained these extraordinary ratings (the highest approval ratings of any president since such regular polls began in 1938) for some months following the attack, though they gradually dropped to lower levels.
During the 2002 midterm congressional elections, Bush had the highest approval rating of any president during a mid-term election since Dwight Eisenhower, and subsequently the Republican Party retook control of the Senate and added to their majority in the House of Representatives. These results marked an unusual deviation from the historic trend of the President's party losing congressional seats in the midterm elections, and was just the third time since the Civil War that the party in control of the White House gained seats in both houses of Congress in a midterm election (others were 1902 and 1934). One explanation for this historic event is that Bush's wartime popularity carried over to other Republicans in races for legislative office. Another is that the singularly close election of Bush in 2000 complicates expectations based on general historic trends.
In 2003, Bush's approval ratings continued their slow descent from the 2001 highs, with 13 major polls agreeing on a remarkably stable and consistent 1.7% per month decline (http://www.hist.umn.edu/~ruggles/Approval.htm) for his entire presidency with the exceptions of only three significant increases: immediately after 9/11, during the Iraq War, and the capture of Saddam Hussein. By late 2003, his approval numbers were in the low to middle 50s. Nevertheless, his numbers were still solid for the third year of a Presidency, when the President's opponents typically begin their campaigns in earnest. Most polls tied the decline to growing concern over the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and the economy's slow recovery from the 2001 recession. Late during the Democratic primary, most major polls showed Bush losing to the various Democratic challengers by a narrow margin. Polls of May 2004 showed anywhere from a 53 percent approval rating  (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Bush_Job_Approval.htm) to a 46 percent approval rating.  (http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/polls/usatodaypolls.htm) Composite time-series graphs of Bush's approval ratings from January 2001 to May 2004 are available at  (http://www.hist.umn.edu/~ruggles/Approval.htm)  (http://www.pollkatz.homestead.com/files/pollkatzmainGRAPHICS_8911_image001.gif), an analysis of G. W. Bush's popularity over time is available at  (http://www.polisci.wisc.edu/~behavior/perspective(Oct2003).pdf).
George W. Bush has been the subject of both high praise and stringent criticism, and has been called by some the "love him or hate him" president. The former have focused on matters such as the economy, homeland security, and especially his leadership after the September 11 attacks; the latter on matters such as the economy, the controversial 2000 election, and the occupation of Iraq.
Outside the United States
Bush's popularity outside the United States is generally lower. In many parts of the world he is very unpopular, with many reporting a dislike of his personality and foreign policy. The 2003 Invasion of Iraq particularly provoked charges of unilateralism. Recent polls indicate erosion of support among Europeans for Bush, for example a drop from 36% to 16% favorability over the last year in Germany. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3081254.stm) A broader Associated Press/Ipsos survey of industrialized nations found that a majority of people in France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Spain—in addition to Canada and the UK, where Anglo-American cooperation traditionally reigns—have an unfavorable view of Bush and his policy on foreign affairs, although significant minorities continue to report favorable views.  (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/04/world/main604135.shtml) In Muslim countries Bush's unfavorability ratings are particularly high, often over 90%.  (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/02/opinion/02wright.html) Among the non-U.S. nations polled in a worldwide study, Bush's popularity was highest in Israel, where 62% reported favorable views.  (http://www.cbc.ca/news/america/poll.html)
A July and August 2004 survey by the University of Maryland and GlobeScan, Inc. of 34,330 people in 35 nations found that, in 30 out of 35 countries polled, a majority or plurality would prefer to see Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry win in the 2004 election. Kerry was strongly preferred by traditional European allies like Norway (74% for Kerry to 7% for Bush), Germany (74% to 10%), France (64% to 5%), the Netherlands (63% to 6%), Italy (58% to 14%), Spain (45% to 7%), and the United Kingdom (47% to 16%). Also other allies such as Japan (43% to 23%), Mexico (38% to 18%), Turkey (40% to 25%) and South Africa (43% to 29%). The only countries where President Bush was preferred by a majority were the Philippines, Nigeria, and Poland. India and Thailand were divided.  (http://www.globescan.com/news_archives/GlobeScan-PIPA_Release.pdf) An October  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/flash/0,5860,1327656,00.html)poll by a range of major international newspapers show that in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Spain and South Korea a majority of voters share a rejection of the Iraq invasion, contempt for the Bush administration and a growing hostility to the U.S.; however, while they all oppose the Bush government's politics, they do not express a dislike of American people.
Official and news links