The name made the man. And the man made the most of the name.
Over the course of the life of George Walker Bush, his name and all it symbolizes have been defining features.
Time and again, opportunity--inextricably linked with being a Bush--knocked, and the man answered. The name Bush affected virtually all of his life's trajectory: his choice of the elite private schools his father attended; his cushioned exit from the oil business during the industry's collapse; his entry into a baseball management position that made him a multimillionaire; and meteoric success in his bid for the nation's highest office, just six years after becoming Texas governor, the only elective office he has held.
In 1989, at 42, Bush had a resume of little note, including one failed run for the U.S. House of Representatives and an unspectacular career in the oil business. A decade later, he is the leading Republican contender for president and the recipient of more campaign donations than any candidate in history, a testament to his political skills, charisma and the powerful imprimatur of the name Bush. If he succeeds, Bush will become the first son since John Quincy Adams to follow his father into the presidency.
Bush, who declined to be interviewed for this article, has on rare occasion acknowledged the benefits and baggage of bearing the name, a political legacy of a grandfather who was a U.S. senator from Connecticut, and, of course, his father, the nation's 41st president.
In 1989, the son--for perhaps the first time in his adult life--came into his own by taking the helm as part-owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team.
"It solved my biggest political problem in Texas," he told the Long Island, N.Y., newspaper, Newsday, at that time. "There's no question about it, and I knew it all along. My problem was, `What's the boy ever done?' "
To another question that has been a refrain throughout most of his life--"How are you different from your father?"--the affable Bush characteristically has responded with a punch line, saying, "He went to Greenwich Country Day School, and I went to San Jacinto Junior High."
Yet in many respects, Bush often has sought, either deliberately or unconsciously, to emulate his father, at times falling short and occasionally exceeding.
In 1961, at age 15, Bush enrolled at his father's alma mater, Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., one of the nation's most exclusive prep schools.
"It was cold, and it was lonely, and it was hard. That's what I remember," said Mike Wood, a classmate and friend of Bush who is now a businessman in Washington. "Sort of a depressing place, actually."
Andover was class-conscious and intimidating, even to those, like Wood, whose fathers had gone there.
In a place that tended to quash individuality, Bush displayed a decided irreverence. Though the school's dress code required a coat and tie in the dining room, Bush was one of the mischievous few to tweak the system, wearing a T-shirt.
"I remember particularly one he had," Wood said. "It showed a line, creating a small hill, just a bump. And underneath that it said, `Ski Midland.' "
Midland, a West Texas oil town, is notoriously flat.
"George would wear his `Ski Midland' shirt and some ugly tie and whatever Army fatigue jacket he could get away with," Wood said.
Andover may have been somber, but Bush wasn't. Through Andover and on to college, close friends say Bush, who was the school's head cheerleader, was someone they never recall seeing down.
"What George would do is climb up in a tree when he saw you coming and drop down and tackle you and rub your face in the snow or something," Wood said.
"George," he added, "just lit the place up."
In 1964, Bush enrolled at Yale, again his father's alma mater. His days there were largely carefree.
"He was a pretty typical fraternity guy," said John Weir, a Yale classmate and now a partner in a New York law firm. "A fun-loving guy. Liked to party. I don't recall any discernible interest in politics."
Chicagoan Tim Weigel, who was a year ahead of Bush at Yale, remembered him well as the fullback on the rugby team.
"In four years at Yale, I played rugby with maybe 75 to 80 guys, and he's the only one I didn't like," said Weigel, sports director at WBBM-TV. "The first six times we would socialize--six times in a row--he asked me what my father did. That seemed to be a real preoccupation with him. His quote was, `What's your daddy do?' "
"We never heard George Bush talk about anything that his father's name wasn't brought into the conversation in some way, about putting oil deals together or hanging out with this famous person or that," Weigel said. "We thought he was very shallow and really not too smart. That's saying something for a Yale man."
Bush earned mostly C's, unlike his father, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Then, as now, Bush loved athletics. His father had been the star first baseman of Yale's varsity baseball team. The younger Bush played intramural football and basketball, which he especially loved.
At Andover, the wise-cracking Bush had been known as "The Lip." But at Yale, Wood said, Bush fancied himself such a skilled ballhandler that he gave himself another nickname: "Little Mr. Magician."
Both Bushes were president of the same fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, and members of the elite secretive society, Skull & Bones.
Between Bush's freshman and senior years, the Yale campus in New Haven, Conn., underwent a transformation. In 1964 it was an all-male college, and like Andover, required students to wear coats and ties. In some respects, Bush's Class of '68 represented the end of an era. By that year, the dress code was seldom enforced. Drugs were increasingly popular. Women were admitted the following year.
As in his father's day, the defining issue of the era of the son's youth would be war. Yet, for students at Yale during the younger Bush's time there, Vietnam was not a daily concern. It was only in 1968, Bush's senior year, when Vietnam captured students' attention in part because most graduate school deferments for the draft were eliminated that year.
"The '60s did arrive in New Haven, but they arrived pretty late," said Wood, who enrolled the year after Bush and graduated in 1969. "It was pretty much good times."
One of the nation's leading anti-war advocates was Yale's chaplain, William Sloane Coffin Jr. In 1964, while Bush was a freshman, his father ran for the U.S. Senate in Texas, and Bush left campus for a few days to help with the campaign. But the elder Bush, a strong supporter of the Vietnam War, was badly beaten by the incumbent, liberal Democratic Sen. Ralph Yarborough.
Upon returning to the Yale campus after his father's defeat, the younger Bush encountered Coffin and introduced himself.
According to an account Bush repeated to his friends then and in interviews years later, Coffin replied, saying, "Oh yes. I know your father. Frankly, he was beaten by a better man."
The remark, friends said, infuriated Bush, who is often portrayed as his father's chief loyalist.
But Coffin, now 75 and living in Vermont, said: "It's hard for me to imagine" making such a remark. "I'd like to think I have little more class, if nothing else."
The outside world's growing social turmoil intruded little on the New Haven campus at that time. Bush's college friends remember no protests, little drug use, no stirring debates, not even about the issue of the day: Vietnam. Of some dozen Bush associates from that time, none recalls a conversation with Bush about his views of the war.
National Guard beckons
"Everybody's focus or interest in Vietnam was not philosophical," said Clay Johnson, a friend from Bush's days at Andover and Yale, and now the Texas governor's chief of staff. "It was very personal: What am I--about to be a college graduate--going to do? Because if you don't have a plan, the armed services was going to have a plan for you."
For Bush, the plan was the Texas Air National Guard.
Bush now says he never intended to duck military service, a decision driven in part by his own leanings and in part by his father's war career as a Navy pilot. At age 18, the elder Bush put off his Yale admission to enlist and later received the Distinguished Flying Cross after being shot down over the Pacific during World War II.
As a boy, the younger Bush wrote in his 1999 autobiography, "A Charge to Keep," that he had heard stories and seen pictures of his father's dramatic rescue.
"I remember opening up a scrapbook that mother kept, and seeing a small piece of a rubber raft glued into the book," he wrote in the autobiography. "It was part of the raft that had saved Dad's life, kept him afloat until he was rescued from the water."
But like thousands of other young men, Bush demonstrated no desire to serve in Vietnam. So he found a niche that would fulfill his military obligation and yet, in all likelihood, allow him to avoid combat: He joined the National Guard.
How he got into a guard unit ahead of so many others on waiting lists remains a point of dispute. Bush maintains he received no preferential treatment.
But Ben Barnes, who was speaker of the Texas House of Representatives at the time, said he helped Bush get into the Guard by calling the unit's commander, Brig. Gen. James Rose, to recommend Bush.
"I did make a call to Gen. Rose," Barnes told the Tribune. "I did it at the request of a businessman from Houston named Sid Adger."
Sidney Adger's family lived in the same Houston neighborhood as the Bushes. Their sons attended the same private schools. Adger and George Bush belonged to the same clubs. But Barnes said Adger gave no indication that he had come to Barnes at the Bushes' urging.
Adger and Rose are dead. But John Adger, Adger's son, disputes Barnes' account, saying his father never mentioned helping the younger Bush.
"I don't know why Ben Barnes is saying those things," Adger said.
Col. Rufus Martin, who was in charge of the personnel for the 147th Fighter Group and kept the unit's waiting list locked in a safe only he could open, said that most people who wanted to get into the unit did have to wait. But that was not the case with pilots.
Martin recalled the day President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat and fellow Texan, called him from the White House to make sure two other young men on the waiting list got into that same unit, but he said no one lobbied for Bush, the son of a prominent Republican.
Once in the Guard, Bush's chances of going to Vietnam were slim. He did volunteer for a program that could have put him in a rotation for Vietnam.
But Col. Walter "Buck" Staudt, who had taken charge of the unit, said Bush "wasn't even considered" because Bush and most of the others lacked the required flight experience. In addition, the jet Bush was being trained to fly, the F-102, already was being phased out by the Air Force. When Bush asked to be discharged a few months early, one of the reasons the Guard cited in approving his departure was that his plane was obsolete and it would take too long to train him on another.
So instead of ending up in Vietnam, Bush enrolled at Harvard Business School in 1973, the same year U.S. ground forces withdrew from the Southeast Asia country. In 1975, he received an MBA just as the war was ending.
Seeking his fortune
After business school, Bush lit out for the oil fields of West Texas. He arrived in Midland, where his father had made his fortune, and vowed to make his own. There Bush met another new arrival: Don Evans, now his campaign finance chairman.
Back then, said Evans, "Midland, Texas, was entrepreneurial heaven. That was a place for young men to go."
Midland is in the heart of the Permian Basin, a gigantic underground pool of oil. For much of the 1960s the oil and gas industry had been in the doldrums, and so had Midland. But in 1973, two years before Bush arrived in Midland, the oil crisis hit, and gasoline prices soared.
Suddenly, Midland was hot again and there was money to be made. Bush formed his own exploration company, Arbusto Energy Inc., which later merged into Spectrum 7 Energy Corp., and put down roots. He coached Little League and taught Sunday school; volunteered for the United Way; and went to back-yard barbecues.
He and Evans, who was married to an elementary school friend of Bush, were nearly inseparable, playing golf during the day and attending minor-league baseball games at night.
"He lived in my house, it seemed like, for the first year," said Evans, laughing about his bachelor friend who came over for home-cooked meals and to do his laundry. When the Evans' house needed painting, Bush painted it.
"It was a good life," Evans said.
But the good life didn't last long. In the early '80s, the oil and gas industry collapsed. Prices plummeted and thousands of people lost their jobs.
"This was the most colossal collapse of any industry in the history of the industrialized world," Evans said. "Anybody that survived was successful."
Big companies such as Exxon and Shell weathered the downturn, but small businesses including Spectrum 7 were especially hard hit. Bush had to lay off people, and that, Evans said, was not easy for him.
But Evans said he never saw his friend depressed. Outwardly, he said, Bush was still the same upbeat guy he always had been.
He was, according to one close friend, also drinking heavily.
"When the Oil Patch was cratering, that's when it got out of hand," said Donald Ensenat, a fraternity brother at Yale who later roomed with Bush and has remained a close friend. Bush would have six or eight drinks in an evening. "B&B, (Benedictine and brandy) if I recall," Ensenat said. "It wasn't falling-down kind of drunk excess. It was more a personal standard if anything."
Asked whether he has ever seen Bush drunk, Evans said, "I've had a few too many myself. You know, we've all had a few more than we care to acknowledge from time to time. But was it any kind of a serious problem? No it wasn't."
In 1986, the year he turned 40, Bush gave up drinking. Bush, who insists that his drinking never interfered with his responsibilities as a father, husband and employer, said he gave up alcohol, "because I thought I was drinking too much."
The morning after drinking too much at a gathering with friends, he has said, he announced to his wife, Laura, that he was quitting drinking and from that moment on he says he has kept his word. The vow stemmed, he said, from running with a bad hangover the day after that party and by a religious conversion he had experienced a year earlier after hearing Rev. Billy Graham talk at a family gathering in Maine.
"It was the beginning of a change in my heart," Bush wrote in his autobiography. And though he said he had always been a religious person, he described that weekend as "the beginning of a new walk where I would recommit my heart to Jesus Christ."
Bush's presidential campaign has been built on this image of a religious man, teetotaler and faithful husband with a high calling. Though he has openly talked about these subjects, he has refused to be so candid in addressing the swirl of rumors that has surrounded him concerning any drug use, writing off any possible misdeeds by saying, "When I was young and irresponsible, I sometimes behaved young and irresponsibly."
Just two years after his return to Midland, Bush announced his decision to run for the district's congressional seat. That same summer of 1977, friends introduced him to a quiet librarian named Laura Welch. That autumn, the two married and almost immediately were on the campaign trail.
Bush won the primary, but lost the general election. With his father's supporters from all over the nation making political contributions for the untried son, Bush was portrayed as a carpetbagger with nothing to offer but his father's name and connections. It was the same image that had tarred his father in Texas elections years earlier, in 1964 and 1970, when he was portrayed as an outsider from the Northeast rather than a true Texan.
After the campaign loss, in which he drew 47 percent of the vote, Bush concentrated on building his business. During his oil field days, Bush possessed a phenomenal knack: He made money even when his companies didn't. The seeds of his future fortune came from Harken Energy Corp., which bought the struggling Spectrum 7 during the oil collapse of the mid-80s and made Bush a director.
"I think Harken did a very wise thing by putting him on the board," said Phil Kendrick, one of Harken's founders, who sold out in 1983. "After all, he was the son of the vice president at the time, and that's just good business, I guess."
Harken, like Spectrum, drilled for oil. But Harken was also into oil speculation. The company made millions in the 1980s by gambling on oil prices in the commodities market. But in 1989, disaster struck. The tanker ship Exxon Valdez ran aground off the coast of Alaska, spilling more than 10 million gallons of crude oil. Oil prices seesawed, devastating Harken's carefully placed bets.
The company never recovered. For 1989, after restating its income, Harken reported a loss of $12.6 million, and it has lost money virtually every year since. Its stock, which once traded for $8 a share, now sells for about 75 cents.
Bush, though, dodged a bullet, selling two-thirds of his Harken stock just weeks before huge losses were announced. The timing of that sale prompted a two-year inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which ultimately closed the investigation without filing charges.
The sale of Harken stock ultimately fetched Bush $835,807. This profit was critical because it provided him with the cash for his next big venture: professional baseball.
Through baseball, Bush would find what he never found in the oil fields: money, huge money.
In 1989 he showed up on the doorstep of Eddie Chiles, a friend of his father, who was then ailing, to ask if he could buy Chiles' controlling interest in the Texas Rangers. Chiles was eager to sell. A self-made millionaire, Chiles was a former oil field roughneck who had made good only to lose it all when the bottom dropped out of the oil business in the 1980s. Chiles, who has since died, had plenty of offers, but he chose the president's cash-strapped son.
"Eddie told me that he had a lot of people who wanted to buy the team," said Richard Greene, then the mayor of the Rangers' hometown, Arlington, Texas. "But he said, `I'm going to deal with George first because I admire his father so much, No. 1, and, No. 2, because I'm impressed by what he said he was going to do.'
"The obvious question," Greene said, "is `Did George W. have access to buy the team because of his father?' The answer is certainly `Yes.' But I would quickly add that Ed didn't have time to mess around with someone who could not bring that deal together, even if it was the president's son. Obviously, a door was opened, but then George had to put the deal together."
Bush wasn't the first family member to be drawn to the baseball business. His great-uncle Herbert Walker was a part-owner of the New York Mets.
Bush had been drawn to the Rangers by William DeWitt, a Cincinnati businessman whose father once owned the Cincinnati Reds. DeWitt and his partner, Mercer Reynolds, bought out Bush's sinking oil company in 1984, and now Bush would be the front man for their investment group.
The group, however, was made up almost entirely of investors from outside Texas, and that was unacceptable to baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and league owners. Ueberroth, who had been trying to line up local buyers, suggested that Bush call Richard Rainwater, a Ft. Worth billionaire investor and financial guru.
Rainwater was interested, but he had one condition: He would not be the public face of the team. He wanted no part of the news media. Rainwater had talked earlier with Dallas businessman Edward "Rusty" Rose, and while Rose was willing to put up money and run the business, he also was reluctant to take a high-profile role. With Bush as the willing front man, the deal jelled.
The men quickly assembled a group of mostly local investors. Bush brought to the group friends from school, relatives and Fred Malek, a controversial man who had worked for the Bush and Richard Nixon presidential administrations. Malek had previously admitted that he had, under orders from Nixon, searched the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine how many of its ranking officials were part of what Nixon called the "Jewish Cabal."
The group went back to Chiles, who, true to his word, had put off other suitors. Chuck McGuire, a Dallas attorney who represented a rival group of investors at that time, recalled, "We were running around with a $500,000 check in earnest money, but we never could find Chiles."
The Bush-Rose group--they spared themselves all the bad jokes that would have come with the name Rose-Bush--came up with $75 million for the team. Bush's contribution was $606,302, a third of his net worth. On April 21, 1989, the group signed a deal to buy the Rangers, and Bush became the team's managing partner.
By all accounts, Bush enjoyed his years as the face of the Rangers. He would sit in the stands, down behind the Rangers dugout, bantering with the players, signing autographs for the fans. Every game night the television cameras would cut to the brash young owner to show his reaction to the game, introducing George W. Bush to the rest of Texas.
But the team's owners needed a new stadium to generate the millions of dollars they would need to attract new players. In 1991, voters gave them one, approving a half-cent increase in the local sales tax from 7 1/4 to 7 3/4 percent. This was used to raise $135 million of the $165 million cost of the stadium complex.
In subsequent terms as governor and during his presidential campaign, Bush would make lowering taxes a hallmark, but at this critical juncture in his career, a hefty tax subsidy made his business investment pay off.
Bush played a relatively low-key role in the campaign for the tax increase. Business partners said this was a deliberate strategy, to avoid the incongruity of the son of a president who had taken a "no new taxes" pledge publicly championing a tax hike.
There were accusations that the partners had gotten a sweetheart deal and that residents whose land was condemned to make way for the new stadium were woefully underpaid. Some complained that the white team owners had made no provision to give some of the stadium construction work to minority contractors.
Under criticism from the community, the Bush team recruited minority-owned firms but required them to bid against larger white-owned firms. The result was that minority-owned companies received about $9 million of the nearly $200 million in contracts awarded for the stadium.
The Ballpark at Arlington opened in 1994, capping a phenomenally successful period for Bush and his investors. Annual revenues had more than doubled, and in 1998, Thomas Hicks, a Dallas entrepreneur, bought the team for $250 million.
George W. Bush was set for life. In almost 10 years, an initial $606,000 investment grew to $14.9 million. Provisions of the deal mean Bush may yet earn another $1 million to $2 million.
Buying a stake in the Rangers was a pivotal move for Bush. It not only made him rich, it made him politically viable.
Before his involvement with the Rangers, his talents as a leader were unproven. According to Bill Minutaglio's biography, "First Son," Bush, a year before the baseball deal, hired a veteran strategist who floated his name among Texas Republican power brokers and returned with bad news: "George, everybody likes you, but you haven't done anything . . . You're a Bush and that's all."
By 1994, though, his identity was forged as the public persona of the baseball team. To a degree, the defeat of his father in 1992 freed Bush to pursue his own political aspirations without having to contend with having a father in the White House.
So, on the heels of his father's humiliating political exit, Bush made his entry, taking on the popular Democratic incumbent Gov. Ann Richards.
At the 1988 Democratic National Convention, Richards drawled the line that would haunt the elder Bush's campaign, words that many Texans and even some Bush friends consider a wellspring of the intensely loyal son's political career.
"Poor George," Richards lamented about the president, "He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth."
Though the younger Bush was derided by Richards as "Shrub," "Junior," and "some jerk," he steadfastly kept his temper in check.
The 1994 Bush campaign, with its emphasis on the candidate's effervescence and his determination to stick to the agenda he had set, no matter what questions arose, in many senses suggested the tenor of the presidential campaign that would follow six years later.
The strategy worked so well that Bush won, in a year for sweeping Republican victories, by a wide margin, beating Richards 54 percent to 45 percent, becoming only the second Republican since Reconstruction to win that office.
Four years later, he won by an even wider margin, 68 percent to 31 percent, over Texas Land Commissioner Garry Mauro.
Connecting with people
In his second campaign, Bush even won the endorsement of Bob Bullock, then the state's most powerful Democrat and the godfather of one of his opponent's children. The crusty former lieutenant governor underscored his bond with Bush last summer when, on his deathbed, he asked Bush to deliver his eulogy.
Bush's popularity in Texas stems from his effusive personality and unfailing ability to connect with people from all walks of life.
"He did something that Republican candidates frequently don't do," said George Edwards, director of the Center for Presidential Studies at Texas A&M University, noting Bush's unprecedented support among Hispanics and blacks. "He made an effort to be inclusive."
Bush's six years as governor offer a limited window into what a Bush presidency might look like.
Bush himself characterizes his political philosophy with a two-word shorthand, "compassionate conservative." In his autobiography, he explained what he means by the term.
"The phrase compassionate conservative recognizes that a conservative philosophy has sometimes been mistakenly portrayed as mean-spirited," he wrote. "I like to joke that a compassionate conservative is a conservative with a smile, not a conservative with a frown."
On the campaign trail, he tells people how to answer anyone with a question about the phrase, saying, "You can tell him it is conservative to cut taxes . . . It's compassionate to give people their own money back."
His positions are conservative, but not doctrinaire. Though he signed a law allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons, he also supports increasing the minimum age for possession of a handgun from 18 to 21. Though he opposes quotas and preferences, he did not endorse California's controversial ban on affirmative action, and he signed a Texas law guaranteeing admission to any state public university to students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.
Straddling the issues
He split from the party's right wing on many high-profile issues, among them California's Proposition 187, which banned all government services to illegal immigrants and their children. Instead, he says, "We should educate children, regardless of the status of their parents."
Bush is not easy to pigeonhole on many major issues, and at times his efforts to straddle issues can appear tortuous. For instance, although he personally opposes abortion, Bush has said he will not seek to ban it.
Yet he has signed numerous laws in Texas that place new limits on abortion, among them, requiring parental notification for minors, prohibiting anyone from transporting minors out of Texas for abortions, and imposing stricter and more costly regulations for abortion providers.
Although he has said the two Supreme Court justices he most admires are the court's most conservative voices, President Ronald Reagan appointee Antonin Scalia and his father's controversial appointee Clarence Thomas, Bush has said he will not make abortion a judicial litmus test.
Time and again Bush has demonstrated that he is more pragmatist than idealogue. When his proposal on one tax cut died, he agreed to another. When he insisted on an end to social promotion in schools, he compromised, giving students who fail the required exam other ways to pass.
But as Bush himself acknowledges, the primary difference from the conservative camp most often is in tone, not philosophy. Bush does not call himself a compassionate moderate, and the reasons go beyond the lack of alliterative appeal in the phrase.
He supports school vouchers, the death penalty and, like his more conservative congressional party members, has invited industry to draft environmental legislation that relies on voluntary, not enforced, compliance.
His team of campaign advisers, many of them names from the previous Bush and Reagan administration, also suggest the tone.
In this campaign, as in the one his father faced eight years ago, a Bush faces an unlikely crisis of image. Then, the war hero father had to campaign against an improbable image, of being a wimp. Now, the son, the graduate of some of the world's most prestigious educational institutions, is struggling to prove that he is smart enough to be a good president.
Assessing Bush's ability to work with divided interests, Joe O'Neill III, a Midland businessman who is a longtime friend, said, "Here's a guy whose talent is to get those people together. That transcends intelligence. That transcends a pop quiz. That's the intelligence of governance."
Friends acknowledge that Bush, like his father, disdains introspection, and they consider the characteristic an asset.
"That's not the type of person he is," said Collister "Terry" Johnson, a Yale roommate and close friend. "He hates psychobabble. He hates to be with people who endlessly muse on their own inner workings. He's not that type of person. He kind of forges ahead and does what he does."
In many ways, that is the key to his popularity. Bush has achieved what his father never could. The elder Bush was plagued with a patrician and aloof image. But the younger Bush--Connecticut born and Ivy League-educated--is Texas bred, with a Southern twang that makes him seem like a regular fellow.
He likes country music. Used to chew tobacco. Likes to fish. Likes to hunt. He once blasted a protected species of plover while dove hunting and joked afterward that it was a good thing it was not deer season, or he might have shot a cow.
He speaks often of his wife and their twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, now 18. But they are rarely seen with him on the campaign trail. Laura Bush is notoriously shy. Unlike First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who once said that she "could have stayed at home, baked cookies and had teas" instead of becoming a lawyer, Laura Welch Bush is a stay-at-home wife.
"I've always done what really traditional women do," she once said.
But in many ways the family member who counts the most is the one Bush mentions least. On campaign stop after campaign stop voters talk about Bush's father. They remark on how much the two resemble each other, except, as onCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times