When George Bush, proclaiming himself "the environmental president" and "the education president" took the reins of office, he was truly riding high. Not since Martin Van Buren in 1836 had a sitting vice president been elected to the presidency by popular vote, and not since 1929 had a candidate from the same party as an outgoing president succeeding him.
The son of a Republican Senator from Connecticut, Bush was elected president of the class of 1942 at Phillips Academy, Andover. At Yale, he was first baseman and captain of the varsity baseball team. Enlisting in the Navy, he became its youngest bomber pilot in World War ll.
In the 1950s Bush co-founded three oil and gas companies in West Texas and made himself a tidy fortune. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1966. Two years later he was elected to the House, eventually serving on the Ways and Means Committee.
President Nixon appointed Bush ambassador to the United Nations in 1971 and chairman of the Republican National Committee the following year. President Ford named him the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
While president, Bush launched the bombing and ground assault called Desert Shield and Desert Storm and his popularity soared to 90 percent.