George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States (1989–93), and the 43rd Vice President of the United States (1981–89). A Republican, he previously served as a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence. He is the oldest living former President and Vice President. He is also the last living former President who is a veteran of World War II. He was married to Barbara Bush, and is the father of George W. Bush.
- It is possible to tell things by a handshake. I like the "looking in the eye" syndrome. It conveys interest. I like the firm, though not bone crushing shake. The bone crusher is trying too hard to "macho it.: The clammy or diffident handshake — fairly or unfairly — get me off to a bad start with a person.
- Letter to Gary Hanauser (18 September 1979), as quoted in All the Best, George Bush : My Life in Letters and Other Writings (2000), p. 282
- It just isn't going to work, and it's very interesting that the man who invented this type of what I call a voodoo economic policy is Art Laffer, a California economist.
- We love your adherence to democratic principles and to the democratic process.
- Toasting Ferdinand Marcos in 1981, as quoted in "A Test for Democracy" by George Russell, Time magazine (3 February 1986); also quoted in "Understanding Some Aspects of Philippine-U.S. Relations in this Season of Peace and Goodwill" (28 November 2002) by Jovito R. Salonga
- You don't have to go to college to be a success … We need the people who run the offices, the people who do the hard physical work of our society.
- Statement to the students of East Los Angeles' Garfield High School (5 May 1988)
- This is America: the Knights of Columbus, the Grange, Hadassah, the Disabled American Veterans, the Order of Ahepa, the Business and Professional Women of America, the union hall, the Bible study group, LULAC, "Holy Name"—a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.
- I'm the one who will not raise taxes. My opponent now says he'll raise them as a last resort, or a third resort. But when a politician talks like that, you know that's one resort he'll be checking into. My opponent, my opponent won't rule out raising taxes. But I will. And The Congress will push me to raise taxes and I'll say no. And they'll push, and I'll say no, and they'll push again, and I'll say, to them, "Read my lips: no new taxes."
- And I hope to stand for a new harmony, a greater tolerance. We've come far, but I think we need a new harmony among the races in our country. And we're on a journey into a new century, and we've got to leave that tired old baggage of bigotry behind.
- It means, it means, teaching troubled children through your present that there’s no such, that there's such a thing as reliable love. Some would say it's soft and insufficiently tough to care about these things. But where is it written that we must act as if we do not care, as if we are not moved? Well I am moved. I want a kinder, and gentler nation.
- Speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention (18 August 1988)
- There is no higher honor than to serve free men and women, no greater privilege than to labor in government beneath the Great Seal of the United States and the American flag.
- There is nothing more fulfilling than to serve your country and your fellow citizens and to do it well. And that's what our system of self-government depends on.
- To those who work outside Washington, I would send a special message. At times it may be frustrating when it seems that the head office is thousands of miles away and the message is not getting through. But if I may, I'm going to issue a verbal Executive order: We're going to listen, because the heart of our government is not here in Washington, it's in every county office, every town, every city across this land. Wherever the people of America are, that's where the heart of our government is.
- The Government is here to serve, but it cannot replace individual service. And shouldn't all of us who are public servants also set an example of service as private citizens? So, I want to ask all of you, and all the appointees in this administration, to do what so many of you already do: to reach out and lend a hand. Ours should be a nation characterized by conspicuous compassion, generosity that is overflowing and abundant.
- I think it's good, stable system. And, you know, dealer's choice. Let them choose what they want for their system, I'm not going to criticize the British or the Australians or anybody else. But, we've got a stable system, in the sense of presidential leadership, continuity, and I wouldn't trade it at all. And besides that, I count my blessings for the fact I don't have to go into that pit that John Major stands in, nose-to-nose with the opposition, all yelling at each other. He and I have talked about that, incidentally. I think he does very, very well. But I think that's for him, not for me.
- To all who mourn a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend — I can only offer you the gratitude of a nation, for your loved one served his country with distinction and honor." … "Your men are under a different command now, one that knows no rank, only love; knows no danger, only peace, May God bless them all.
- I don't have to stand here and defend the campaign of 1988. I'd be perfectly prepared to do it, but I was elected. I put confidence in the American people, their ability to sort through what is fair and what is unfair, what is ugly and what is un-ugly, and be as positive as possible.
- There are no maps to lead us where we are going, to this new world of our own making. As the world looks back to nine decades of war, of strife, of suspicion, let us also look forward—to a new century, and a new millennium, of peace, freedom and prosperity.
- U.S. president George Bush made those comments on January 1, 1990. The Watchtower magazine; In Search of a New World Order, 7/15 1991.
- I do not like broccoli and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli. Now look, this is the last statement I’m going to have on broccoli. There are truckloads of broccoli at this very minute descending on Washington. My family is divided. For the broccoli vote out there: Barbara loves broccoli. She has tried to make me eat it. She eats it all the time herself. So she can go out and meet the caravan of broccoli that’s coming in.
- This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait.
- Remarks to reporters (5 August 1990)
- Clearly, no longer can a dictator count on East-West confrontation to stymie concerted United Nations action against aggression. A new partnership of nations has begun. And we stand today at a unique and extraordinary moment. The crisis in the Persian Gulf, as grave as it is, also offers a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective — a new world order — can emerge: a new era, freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, east and west, north and south, can prosper and live in harmony.
- Speech to joint session of Congress (11 September 1990), as quoted in Encyclopedia of Leadership (2004) by George R. Goethals, Georgia Jones Sorenson, and James MacGregor Burns, p. 1776 and Confrontation in the Gulf; Transcript of President's Address to Joint Session of Congress The New York Times. September 12, 1990.
- This is an historic moment. We have in this past year made great progress in ending the long era of conflict and cold war. We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order, a world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations. When we are successful, and we will be, we have a real chance at this new world order, an order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and vision of the U.N.'s founders. We have no argument with the people of Iraq. Indeed, for the innocents caught in this conflict, I pray for their safety.
- WAR IN THE GULF: THE PRESIDENT; Transcript of the Comments by Bush on the Air Strikes Against the Iraqis The New York Times. January 17, 1991 (NYT transcript of Bush speech from the Oval office January 16, 1991, (Eastern time) two hours after air strikes began in Iraq and Kuwait.)
- What is at stake is more than one small country [Kuwait], it is a big idea—a new world order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom and the rule of law.
- January 29, 1991, President Bush alluded to warfare in the Persian Gulf. The Watchtower magazine, In Search of a New World Order, 7/15 1991.
- Think about every problem, every challenge, we face. The solution to each starts with education.
- Announcement of the America 2000 Education Strategy (18 April 1991) What Work Requires of Schools Pg 2.
- Yet freedom is not the same as independence. Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred.
- "Chicken Kiev speech" to a session of the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine, 1 August 1991.
- Tonight, as I see the drama of democracy unfolding around the globe, perhaps—perhaps we are closer to that new world than ever before.
- September 1991, The Watchtower, 1/3 1992.
- We're going to keep trying to strengthen the American family. To make them more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons.
- Statement at the 1992 Republican Convention on the animated sitcom, The Simpsons, sometimes misquoted "America needs to be a lot more like The Waltons and a lot less like The Simpsons."
- My dog Millie knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos.
- Now I know, I know that every uh speaker comes before you and says they identify with Columbus but I really mean it. Think about it; the guy was faced with questions at home about whether his global efforts were worth a darn. Some critics want him to cut his voice short... he even faced the threat of mutiny (laughs) and yet Columbus persevered and won. Not a bad analogy in my (laughs) view so I know this isn't political. Now I admit Columbus also had to worry all about at that time about a lack of wind. I... I don't have that problem with Congress.
- The Senate opens its meetings with a prayer. The House of Representatives opens its meetings with a prayer. Nobody doubts that they both need it.
- Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep", and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different — and perhaps barren — outcome.
- Whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law, went beyond the stated mission, and said we're going to show our macho? We're going into Baghdad. We're going to be an occupying power — America in an Arab land — with no allies at our side. It would have been disastrous. We don't gain the size of our victory by how many innocent kids running away — even though they're bad guys — that we can slaughter. … We're American soldiers; we don't do business that way.
- A statement to a reunion of Gulf War veterans (February 28, 1999) as quoted in "Bush tells Gulf vets why Hussein left in Baghdad" by S.H. Kelly, Pentagram (3 March 1999)
- Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the identity of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors.
- Most of the money that President Clinton and I raised has not been spent yet, and it will go into reconstruction. … This is bigger than politics; this is about saving lives, and I must confess I’m getting a huge kick out of it.
- Statements to press (20 February 2005), on serving with former political rival Bill Clinton in their efforts to raise money for tsunami recovery.
- I will never apologize for the United States — never, ever! I don't care what the facts are... I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.
- Statement as Vice-president, during a presidential campaign function (2 Aug 1988), commenting on the Navy warship USS Vincennes having shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in a commercial air corridor on July 3, killing 290 civilians, as quoted in "Perspectives", the quote of the week section of Newsweek (15 August 1988) p. 15; also quoted in "Rally Round the Flag, Boys" by Michael Kingsley in TIME magazine (12 September 1988). Newsweek cites this phrase as said about the downing of the Iranian airliner to the group of the Republican ethnic leaders; see the citation from Bush Ethnic Coalition speech below.
- "I'll never apologize for the United States. Ever. I don't care what the facts are," Bush told about 200 members of his newly formed Coalition of American Nationalities, a group with representatives of ethnic backgrounds from about two dozen countries. Bush attributed his indiscriminate support for the nation to his belief that the United States is "the only hope for freedom and democracy" in the world and that "no other country is strong enough to lead the free world."
- We must never apologize for the United States of America.
- "I will never apologize for the United States," the Vice President declared recently. "I will stand up for her."
- "Bush, a Cautious Front-Runner Again, Avoids Attacks and Personal Campaigning" by Gerald M. Boyd in The New York Times 27 February 1988, p. 1.8.
- "I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy."
- If I am elected president, I will never apologize for the United States. I will strengthen her and make her a beacon of freedom and liberty!
- My view, is let Mike Dukakis go around there and talk about pink slips, despair, pessimism in the United States. I'll be the guy out there talking about hope and opportunity and challenge, and the fact that the United States is the best, the fairest, the most decent nation on the face of the earth. Let them apologize for America, and let me lead her to new greatness.
- "Bush, who … came of age in World War II, instinctively identified with the crew members and captain on the Vincennes. He said he would not apologize for the incident. "I will never apologize for the United States of America!" he frequently declares in campaign speeches."
- "[WW II] helped formulate his view of America as a military power: clearly in the right, with no shades of gray. "I will never apologize for the United States of America", Mr. Bush has said frequently."
- "The 1988 Elections Man in the News: George Herbert Walker Bush; A Victor Free to Set His Own Course" By Gerald M. Boyd in The New York Times (9 November 1988)
- "And I'll be honest with you, it's a joy to serve with a president who does not apologize for the United States of America."
- No nation can fully understand itself or find its place in the world if it does not look with clear eyes at all the glories and disgraces, too, of the past. We, in the United States, acknowledge such an injustice in our own history: The internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry was a great injustice, and it will never be repeated.
- Message: I care
- America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms. As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city’s most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country.
- Joint statement with George W. Bush (August 2017), as quoted in "Politics: Both Bush presidents just spoke out on Charlottesville — and sound nothing like Trump" (16 August 2017), by Cleve R. Wootson Jr., The Washington Post
Inaugural Address (1989)
- Washington, D. C. (20 January 1989) Full text online at Yale University
- I have just repeated word for word the oath taken by George Washington 200 years ago, and the Bible on which I placed my hand is the Bible on which he placed his. It is right that the memory of Washington be with us today, not only because this is our Bicentennial Inauguration, but because Washington remains the Father of our Country. And he would, I think, be gladdened by this day; for today is the concrete expression of a stunning fact: our continuity these 200 years since our government began.
We meet on democracy's front porch, a good place to talk as neighbors and as friends. For this is a day when our nation is made whole, when our differences, for a moment, are suspended.
- I come before you and assume the Presidency at a moment rich with promise. We live in a peaceful, prosperous time, but we can make it better. For a new breeze is blowing, and a world refreshed by freedom seems reborn; for in man's heart, if not in fact, the day of the dictator is over. The totalitarian era is passing, its old ideas blown away like leaves from an ancient, lifeless tree. A new breeze is blowing, and a nation refreshed by freedom stands ready to push on. There is new ground to be broken, and new action to be taken. There are times when the future seems thick as a fog; you sit and wait, hoping the mists will lift and reveal the right path. But this is a time when the future seems a door you can walk right through into a room called tomorrow.
Great nations of the world are moving toward democracy through the door to freedom. Men and women of the world move toward free markets through the door to prosperity. The people of the world agitate for free expression and free thought through the door to the moral and intellectual satisfactions that only liberty allows.
We know what works: Freedom works. We know what's right: Freedom is right. We know how to secure a more just and prosperous life for man on Earth: through free markets, free speech, free elections, and the exercise of free will unhampered by the state.
- We must act on what we know. I take as my guide the hope of a saint: In crucial things, unity; in important things, diversity; in all things, generosity.
- 'America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the Nation and gentler the face of the world.
- The American people await action. They didn't send us here to bicker. They ask us to rise above the merely partisan. "In crucial things, unity" — and this, my friends, is crucial.
- A President is neither prince nor pope, and I don't seek a window on men's souls. In fact, I yearn for a greater tolerance, an easy-goingness about each other's attitudes and way of life.
- I do not mistrust the future; I do not fear what is ahead. For our problems are large, but our heart is larger. Our challenges are great, but our will is greater. And if our flaws are endless, God's love is truly boundless.
Some see leadership as high drama, and the sound of trumpets calling, and sometimes it is that. But I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning. The new breeze blows, a page turns, the story unfolds. And so today a chapter begins, a small and stately story of unity, diversity, and generosity — shared, and written, together.
- It's like WWE, but for smart people!
- I think Romney is the best choice for us.
- Offered his support to Mitt Romney, for US presidential elections of 2012. 
Quotes about Bush
- The sort of man who steps out of the shower to take a piss.
- Widely quoted remark of an anonymous Texan, published in The Right Nation : Conservative Power in America (2004) by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, p. 33; also published as a book excerpt in the The New York Times (28 November 2004)
- In 1980 the Democrats were pretty much stuck with Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, who ran under the slogan "Four More Years?" The Republicans, meanwhile, had a spirited primary campaign season, which came down to a duel between Reagan and George Herbert Walker Norris Wainright Armoire Vestibule Pomegranate Bush IV, who had achieved a distinguished record of public service despite having a voice that sounded like he had just inhaled an entire blimp-load of helium.
- Dave Barry, Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States (1989), p. 167
- Poor George. He can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.
- Former Texas Governor Ann Richards, in a keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention (18 July 1988)
- During the parade, George H.W. Bush came over and talked with Carolyn and me at length, as proud a father as could be. It was not quite two years earlier that I'd had the pleasure of celebrating his seventy-fifth birthday with him in what was dubbed Operation Spring Colt, a parachute jump from twelve thousand feet with the parachuting team. What few people realize is that shortly after he jumped from the aircraft, the former President had trouble getting into position and began to tumble uncontrollably. It was only through the extraordinary aerial prowess of one of the Golden Knights, the Army's elite parachute team and a member of the U.S. Freefall Association that they were able to steady the guest of honor so that his parachute could properly deploy, and that happened only at the last possible moment. Once safely on the ground, the former President was aglow, joking with us on how much more pleasurable it was than the first time he'd jumped, which was over the Pacific after his bomber had been disabled by Japanese gunfire in World War II.
- Hugh Shelton, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior (2010), p. 400
- Biography at The Official White House site
- Bush Presidential Library and Museum
- George H. W. Bush's Inaugural Address
- Works by George Bush at Project Gutenberg Note: Contains only Bush's 1990 State of the Union address
- Essays on Bush and His Administration
- George H. W. Bush Speeches
- The President Who Treated Me Like A Son, brief memoir by his personal aide ("body man")