George H.W. Bush

41st President of the United States (1989-1993)

The first sitting vice president elected president since Martin Van Buren in 1836, Bush took the helm of White House as a beneficiary of the “Reagan Revolution”—an era known as much for a bull market and conspicuous consumption as it was far the rise of the underclass and homelessness. With Communism on the wane in Eastern European countries and countries like China embracing capitalism, Bush was the first president that didn’t have to deal with the Cold War and presided over a new version of a peacetime economy. Although Bush did not present a comprehensive legislative agenda to Congress during his first three months, his administration faced a number of issues; including the mammoth budget deficits caused by Reagan’s fiscal policies and the flagging savings and loan industry.

Highlights from his first 100 days:

• To attend Emperor Hirohito’s funeral, Bush travels to Asia—the first time a U.S. president has visited a foreign country other than Europe as his first international trip. He uses his Asia tour to speak on Chinese television about the growing bond between the two superpowers—the first such appearance by a US president.
• The Bush administration worked with congressional Democrats to reduce the federal budget deficit by $29 billion and develop a plan to overhaul savings and loan associations.
• After Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, Bush declares that offshore drilling is off-limits in that area.

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