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Bush, George (Herbert Walker)(1925– ) forty-first U.S. president; born in Milton, Mass. He enlisted as a Navy combat pilot in World War II and was rescued by a submarine when his plane was shot down in the Pacific. He returned to graduate from Yale and then went to Texas in 1948 where he made a fortune in the petroleum industry. He entered politics as a Republican and served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1967–71). After his second failure to gain election to the U.S. Senate, he was appointed U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations (1971–73) and then chairman of the Republican National Committee (1973–74). He became the first chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in China (1974–75) and then director of the Central Intelligence Agency (1975–76). He failed in his run for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1980 but was picked to be Ronald Reagan's vice-president (1981–89). He won the presidency on his own (1989–93) and proved to be adept at conducting foreign affairs, whether showing restraint as the Communist governments of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe collapsed or exercising initiative in organizing an international response to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. But as the nation slid into a major recession, he failed to take action, and, with the economy in the doldrums, he lost his reelection bid in 1992 and retired to pursue his personal interests in Texas and Maine.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.