Bush, George W.

The son of former president George H. W. Bush, he was elected governor of Texas in 1994. In 2000, he secured the Republican nomination for the presidency and narrowly defeated Al Gore, the Democratic party nominee, in an election marred by charges of irregularities in the counting of votes, especially in Florida. Although Gore won more popular votes, Bush prevailed in the Electoral College after a Supreme Court decision resolved the Florida controversy in his favor.

In the wake of the September 11 attacks (2001), the Bush administration identified Osama bin Laden as the mastermind behind the terror. With support from U.S. allies, Bush ordered a deployment of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and in nations adjoining Afghanistan, where bin Laden apparently ran training camps for terrorists with the backing of the Taliban. Air strikes led to the rout of the Taliban in November, though operations continued and bin Laden appeared to have evaded capture. On the domestic front, Bush oversaw successive reduction of interest rates to stimulate the sluggish U.S. economy.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.