The 41st President of the United States has turned into a pretty cool guy that seems to be the complete opposite of who he was as the Commander in Chief. He might have vomited on some important international politicians and had a few hiccups along the way, like the whole “no new taxes” thing, but people already know these facts. Here are some interesting facts about George H.W. Bush you might not already know.
1. He Stopped Going to School to Fight
Bush was one of many men who dropped everything they were doing on December 7, 1941, and volunteered to join the fighting forces of the United States. On his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the Navy and flew nearly 60 combat missions during World War II. In 1943, he was even the youngest pilot that was in the Navy at the time of his service. With four medals awarded to him, Bush is also the last veteran of WWII to serve as POTUS.
2. He’s In Some Elite Company
Although the Presidency was not designed to be an office that could establish a sort of “royalty” that was seen in other countries, there have been two father-son teams that have wound up serving as POTUS. The first pair is John Adams and John Quincy Adams, two of the first Presidents that the US had in its infancy. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, are the other two Presidents that have served in office.
3. He Could Handle His Balls
What many people don’t realize about Bush was that he was an elite athlete. After WWII ended, Bush got his life back on track and went to college at Yale. When there, he became captain of the university’s baseball team. He guided his squad to back-to-back College World Series appearances through his combination of leadership and athleticism. The Hall of Fame that is associated with the collegiate baseball foundations have even named their museum after him. While playing baseball at Yale, Bush even got to meet Babe Ruth. There’s a picture of the two posing together that is widely circulated.
4. He Was a Loser… a Lot
Bush didn’t have a lot of success in politics. He lost the 1992 campaign cycle to Bill Clinton. He lost the GOP nomination in 1980 to Ronald Reagan. He lost his bid for a US Senate seat in 1964. Before Bush was nominated as Reagan’s VP, in fact, he mostly held lower level political offices before being sworn into the executive branch in 1981 after he and Reagan were swept into office.
5. He Technically Served Two Terms
Most people know that Bush lost the election to Clinton. If you didn’t, then you just discovered this information in Fact #4 above. How could Bush serve two terms as President if he was only elected as POTUS once – in 1988? It’s because he was put into the President’s chair in 1985 when Ronald Reagan underwent a medical procedure. His first term in office might have only been 8 hours in total, but considering most people don’t ever see the Oval Office in the first place, it was still a notable achievement for a man who lost more than he won.
6. He’s Not the Conservative GOP Member You Think
Bush and his family are often seen as leaving a legacy for conservative influences on American society, but he’s personally more liberal than most people realize. He’s in support of same-sex marriages and has even attended them after leaving office. In the case of Helen Thorgalsen and Bonnie Clement, Bush even signed the marriage certificate as a witness so that the marriage could be legally recognized for the couple.
7. An Exception to the Rule
Many sitting Vice Presidents have tried to run for the POTUS position over the years and failed miserably in their bids. Bush is actually one of the few exceptions to the rule. When he ran successfully for President in 1988, he became the first sitting VP to be elected to the top office since Martin Van Buren had a similar campaign in 1836. To this day, no other VP has been able to repeat the feat. Some might argue that Al Gore was successful in doing so, but he never took the oath of office, like it or not. Blame it on the hanging chad if nothing else.
8. He Didn’t Get Wealthy Until Late in Life
The Bush family is considered a political dynasty with great wealth, but it wasn’t always that way for the family. Bush’s father, Prescott, served as a US Senator from Connecticut. For the family right now, his son Jeb is also part of the national political picture. If he were to become President one day, then Bush would become the only man to be the father of two men in the Oval Office, a unique feat indeed in this modern political age. It wasn’t until the oil business took off that the Bush family really became wealthy and that wealth has grown exponentially over the years.
9. Some of His Failure Was His Own Doing
After serving two terms in the House of Representatives, Richard Nixon asked Bush to leave the office. He ran against a Democratic senator and wound up losing. In return for the sacrifices that Bush made, however, the GOP made it up to him. Not only did he get to serve as the US Ambassador to the UN, but he was made the Director of the CIA and was part of the envoy that the US sent to China, all over the course of a 7 year period.
10. Bush Even Beat Reagan – Once
It happened in the 1980 primary races. Bush was able to beat Reagan in the Iowa caucus. Reagan, however, took away the early momentum in New Hampshire and the rest is history.
George H.W. Bush is a man that many have made some incorrect assumptions about. These interesting facts about the former President will help everyone get to know him a little bit better.