He Served Just One Term, but the World Changed

George HW Bush was in office at the end of the Cold War
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2018 9:14 AM CST
He Served Just One Term, but the World Changed
In this Oct. 9, 1970, photo, Rep. George H.W. Bush, R-Texas, talks with a group of young people at a rally in Houston, Texas.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – With George HW Bush dead at 94, coverage of the life of the 41st president is plentiful. Here are some early highlights:

  • The broad strokes: For a thorough obituary and assessment, start with the Washington Post. Its story notes that while Bush served just one term as president, it was a consequential one. "The Berlin Wall fell; the Soviet Union ceased to exist; the communist bloc in Eastern Europe broke up; the Cold War ended." And Bush's "firm, restrained diplomatic sense helped assure the harmony and peace with which these world-shaking events played out, one after the other."
  • Great detail: In its obituary, the Wall Street Journal notes that Bush flew 58 missions in the Pacific as a Navy pilot in WWII, all with the name of his girlfriend—Barbara—on the side of the plane. He once got shot down, with this video capturing the rescue. Bush is also the only American besides John Adams to be both president and the father of a president.
  • Read his lips: The Guardian recounts some of his Bush's famous quotes, including his "read my lips" pledge to not raise taxes. He also dissed broccoli.

  • Focus on Iraq: "If Mr. Bush’s term helped close out one era abroad, it opened another," writes Adam Nagourney in the New York Times. "In January 1991 he assembled a global coalition to eject Iraqi invaders from Kuwait, sending hundreds of thousands of troops in a triumphant military campaign that to many Americans helped purge the ghosts of Vietnam." The flip side? The win "brought years of American preoccupation with Iraq, leading to the decision by George W. Bush in 2003 to topple the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, in a war that taxed American resources and patience."
  • Tributes: Politico rounds up some notable ones, including from the Obamas ("a patriot and humble servant") and the Clintons ("innate and genuine decency"). President Trump had kind words as well, despite his friction with the Bush family. Jimmy Carter also weighed in, as did former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. "It was a time of great change, demanding great responsibility from everyone," he said of the end of the Cold War, per the AP.
  • A criticism: "The pardons Bush granted in the Iran-Contra case (notably to Casper Weinberger and Robert McFarlane) were disgraceful," writes Jeet Heer in the New Republic. "They helped cement a tradition of elite impunity which undermines the rule of law."
  • Timeline: Bush had a remarkably full resume, starting with his becoming the youngest commissioned pilot in the Navy in 1943. He had enlisted the year before on his 18th birthday. He would go on to be a congressman, an ambassador, the CIA chief, vice president, and president, among other things. The Voice of America has a timeline with key moments in Bush's career and life.
  • Reporter recollects: Susan Page of USA Today writes about covering Bush as president, including his handwritten note of apology when he called her "Ann" three times during a press conference answer. The note was "vintage George Bush in both its thoughtfulness and corny humor."
  • Those socks: In later years, Bush became known for his colorful socks. USA Today has some memorable images.
(Read more George HW Bush stories.)

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