Early life of George W. Bush

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George W. Bush, the oldest child in a family of six children was born in the city of New Haven, Connecticut, grew up in the Texan cities of Midland and Houston. He studied at Yale University and the Harvard Business School before serving in the Texas Air National Guard. Bush would later be part owner and managing partner of the Texas Rangers baseball franchise, become governor of Texas and eventually become the 43rd President of the United States.


Bush was a keen rugby union player, during high school and Yale University.[1][2] Bush played at the position of fullback[2] for Yale's 1st XV, and in 1968, he was part of Yale's dramatic win over Harvard.[1][2]

Service in the Air National Guard[edit]

After graduating from Yale University, Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard on May 27, 1968, during the Vietnam War, with a commitment to serve until May 26, 1974. He was promoted to first lieutenant on the November 1970 recommendation of Texas Air National Guard commander Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He served as an F-102 pilot until 1972. Bush was discharged from the Texas Air National Guard and transferred to inactive duty in the Air Force Reserve. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserve on November 21, 1974, at the end of his six-year service obligation.[3]

Alcohol use and DUI arrest[edit]

Bush had described his days before his religious conversion in his 40s as his nomadic period and irresponsible youth. Although Bush states that he was not an alcoholic, he has acknowledged that he was "drinking too much".[4]

On September 4, 1976, Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He admitted his guilt, was fined US$150, and had his driving license in the state suspended for two years, although the White House had claimed 30 days.[5] This incident did not become public knowledge until it was reported by Erin Fehlau of Maine TV station WPXT-TV in the week before the 2000 election.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush said that he gave up drinking after waking up with a hangover after his 40th birthday celebration: "I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then." He ascribed the change in part to a 1985 meeting with Reverend Billy Graham, after which he began serious Bible study, as well as to gentle but persistent pressure from his wife, Laura.[6][7][8] However this claim has been challenged by some due to a 2004 interview Graham did with Brian Williams where he said.

"I've heard others say that, and people have written it, but I cannot say that," he says. "I was with him and I used to teach the Bible at Kennebunkport to the Bush family when he was a younger man, but I never feel that I in any way turned his life around."[9]

Mickey Herskowitz, a sportswriter for the Houston Chronicle who became close friends with the Bush family and was originally contracted to ghostwrite A Charge to Keep recalled interviewing Bush about it when he was doing research for the book.

"I remember asking him about the famous meeting at Kennebunkport with the Reverend Billy Graham...." Herskowitz said. "And you know what? He couldn't remember a single word that passed between them."[10]

Friends recall that Bush said nothing of his decision, even to Laura, until many weeks later when they realized that he had not had so much as a single beer in the interim.

Family life[edit]

Bush and his family

Bush married Laura Welch in 1977. They have fraternal twin daughters, Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, born in 1981.


  1. ^ a b Cain, Nick & Growden, Greg "Chapter 21: Ten Peculiar Facts about Rugby" in Rugby Union for Dummies (2nd Edition), p297 (pub: John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, England) ISBN 978-0-470-03537-5
  2. ^ a b c Clarke, Wes Famous Ruggers, retrieved 24th August, 2009
  3. ^ Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, Jeff Birnbaum, Charles Krauthammer (July 9, 2004). "The All-Star Panel Discusses John Kerry's Shifting Positions on Iraq War Spending". Fox News Network (transcript). 
  4. ^ Kristof, Nicholas, How Bush Came to Tame His Inner Scamp, The New York Times, July 29, 2000
  5. ^ The Smoking Gun: Archive
  6. ^ The Washington Post. July 30, 1999 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/bushtext072599.htm |url= missing title (help). Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  7. ^ The Washington Post. July 30, 1999 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/wh2000/stories/bush072599.htm |url= missing title (help). Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Bush acknowledges 1976 DUI charge". CNN. November 3, 2000. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  9. ^ Rev. Billy Graham, still crusading at 86
  10. ^ [1]

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