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VOA慢速英语--George W. Bush: Wartime President

时间:2017-12-31 23:38来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]


VOA Learning English presents America’s Presidents.

Today we are talking about George Walker Bush. He took office in 2001 as the 43rd president.

He has a similar name to another president -- his father, George Herbert Walker Bush.

To simplify things, Americans sometimes call the younger Bush “43,” or simply “W.” Here we will just call him Bush.

Because Bush is a recent president, historians have not reached a broad agreement on his time as a leader.

But he will surely be remembered for facing one of the biggest challenges to any president: the attacks against the U.S. on September 11, 2001.

Early life

George Bush was born in the northeast state of Connecticut. But his parents soon moved to the southwest state of Texas. George grew up there and considered Texas home.

The Bush family had a long background in politics. Bush’s grandfather was a senator. His father held many public offices. In some ways, George was prepared for a career in politics, too.

He went to the same private boarding school as his father. Then, like his father and grandfather, George went to Yale for college. He also worked on several political campaigns. But he said he did not consider pursuing politics.

Instead, he earned a degree in business at Harvard and took a job in an oil company in Texas. In time, he founded his own oil business.

And he married Laura Welch, who was a teacher and librarian in their hometown. They had twin daughters named Barbara and Jenna.

In these years as a young adult, Bush began to make some changes. He began attending a Christian1 church regularly. He decided2 to stop drinking alcohol because it was creating problems in his personal life. And he turned his attention to politics.

Bush lost the first election in which he competed, a race to become a member of Congress. So, for a while, he focused on business investments and helping3 his father’s political career.

But in 1992, his father lost re-election to the presidency4. And the younger Bush saw a chance to enter politics himself again. In 1994, Bush ran for governor of Texas. To many people’s surprise, he won.

Four years later, he was overwhelmingly re-elected. Many voters liked his image as, what he called, a “compassionate5 conservative.” In other words, he wanted to use traditional Republican ideas about government to help society.

Following two successful terms as governor, Bush turned his attention to the presidency. In 2000, he competed against the vice6 president at the time, Al Gore7. The winner was not announced until more than a month following the election – usually, the winner is announced within hours.

Both sides disputed the process of counting votes in the state of Florida. Finally, the U.S. Supreme8 Court ruled on the process. The Court ordered state officials to stop re-counting votes. Bush’s lead stood.


Bush entered office expecting to bring many of the ideas he pursued in Texas to the entire nation. For example, as president he permitted religious groups to receive government funding, and set national standards for public schools.

These moves were popular with many voters. But they also challenged some American traditions: the separation of church and state, and the ability of public schools to govern themselves.

For many presidents, these policies might have created a legacy9. But early in Bush’s term, he faced a crisis that defined much of his time in office.

Hijackers linked to the al-Qaeda group seized four airplanes on September 11, 2001. They purposely crashed two planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, eventually killing10 more than 2,700 people.

Another plane was flown into the Pentagon, the country’s military headquarters outside of Washington, DC. About 200 people died there.

The fourth plane was aimed at another important target. But passengers fought the hijackers. The plane lost control and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. All 44 people on board died there.

President Bush was visiting an elementary school in Florida that morning. He learned about the attacks while he was reading with the children.

At the end of the day, Bush spoke11 to the nation. He said the U.S. would answer both the terrorist groups and the countries that permitted terrorist groups to thrive.

Over the next years, Bush took a number of actions to create a new national security strategy. They included creating a Department of Homeland Security, making changes to the country’s intelligence operations, and reforming the U.S. military.

He also sent U.S. forces into Afghanistan to destroy terrorist networks there. Bush was especially targeting the person who had designed the September 11 terrorist attacks, Osama bin12 Laden13.

The struggle in Afghanistan was successful at first, but continued throughout Bush’s time in office. And bin Laden was not captured while Bush was president.

In 2003, Bush opened another front on what some called the “war on terror.” He and other government officials said the leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was developing weapons that could kill many people. They said Hussein – and his connections to terrorist groups – threatened Americans and people in other countries.

Hussein did not agree to leave Iraq. So U.S. and British forces launched bombs at targets in the country’s capital. Additional troops destroyed what was left of the targets. Hussein was quickly overthrown14.

But the weapons of mass destruction were not found.

For the rest of Bush’s presidency, U.S. forces remained in Iraq. Bush promised that Americans would stabilize15 the country and help Iraqis create a democratic government.


The presidency of George W. Bush is too recent to understand its impact. But there is some evidence of the public’s reaction at the time.

Bush received some of the highest ratings of any president. In the weeks following the September 11 attacks, 90 percent approved of his leadership.

He was re-elected in 2004. But his popularity steadily16 decreased.

At the end of his second term, he had one of the lowest public approval ratings of any president: 33 percent.

The U.S. economy had entered a recession. More Americans disagreed especially with his decision to invade Iraq. And some criticized his government for responding too slowly after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the country’s Gulf17 Coast.

Since Bush left the White House in 2009, his approval ratings have – like those of many presidents – risen again. He has mostly avoided public appearances. Instead, he has enjoyed playing sports, helping charities, and reading U.S. history.

He also began a new hobby: painting. He has created portraits of dozens of veterans to honor their service in the military.

I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.

Words in This Story

boarding school - n. a school where students can live during the school term?

twin - adj. used to describe two children who are born to the same mother at the same time

compassionate - adj. feeling or showing concern for someone who is sick, hurt or poor

legacy - n. something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past?

thrive - v. to grow or develop successfully


1 Christian KVByl     
  • They always addressed each other by their Christian name.他们总是以教名互相称呼。
  • His mother is a sincere Christian.他母亲是个虔诚的基督教徒。
2 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
3 helping 2rGzDc     
  • The poor children regularly pony up for a second helping of my hamburger. 那些可怜的孩子们总是要求我把我的汉堡包再给他们一份。
  • By doing this, they may at times be helping to restore competition. 这样一来, 他在某些时候,有助于竞争的加强。
4 presidency J1HzD     
  • Roosevelt was elected four times to the presidency of the United States.罗斯福连续当选四届美国总统。
  • Two candidates are emerging as contestants for the presidency.两位候选人最终成为总统职位竞争者。
5 compassionate PXPyc     
  • She is a compassionate person.她是一个有同情心的人。
  • The compassionate judge gave the young offender a light sentence.慈悲的法官从轻判处了那个年轻罪犯。
6 vice NU0zQ     
  • He guarded himself against vice.他避免染上坏习惯。
  • They are sunk in the depth of vice.他们堕入了罪恶的深渊。
7 gore gevzd     
  • The fox lay dying in a pool of gore.狐狸倒在血泊中奄奄一息。
  • Carruthers had been gored by a rhinoceros.卡拉瑟斯被犀牛顶伤了。
8 supreme PHqzc     
  • It was the supreme moment in his life.那是他一生中最重要的时刻。
  • He handed up the indictment to the supreme court.他把起诉书送交最高法院。
9 legacy 59YzD     
  • They are the most precious cultural legacy our forefathers left.它们是我们祖先留下来的最宝贵的文化遗产。
  • He thinks the legacy is a gift from the Gods.他认为这笔遗产是天赐之物。
10 killing kpBziQ     
  • Investors are set to make a killing from the sell-off.投资者准备清仓以便大赚一笔。
  • Last week my brother made a killing on Wall Street.上个周我兄弟在华尔街赚了一大笔。
11 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
12 bin yR2yz     
n.箱柜;vt.放入箱内;[计算机] DOS文件名:二进制目标文件
  • He emptied several bags of rice into a bin.他把几袋米倒进大箱里。
  • He threw the empty bottles in the bin.他把空瓶子扔进垃圾箱。
13 laden P2gx5     
  • He is laden with heavy responsibility.他肩负重任。
  • Dragging the fully laden boat across the sand dunes was no mean feat.将满载货物的船拖过沙丘是一件了不起的事。
14 overthrown 1e19c245f384e53a42f4faa000742c18     
adj. 打翻的,推倒的,倾覆的 动词overthrow的过去分词
  • The president was overthrown in a military coup. 总统在军事政变中被赶下台。
  • He has overthrown the basic standards of morality. 他已摒弃了基本的道德标准。
15 stabilize PvuwZ     
  • They are eager to stabilize currencies.他们急于稳定货币。
  • His blood pressure tended to stabilize.他的血压趋向稳定。
16 steadily Qukw6     
  • The scope of man's use of natural resources will steadily grow.人类利用自然资源的广度将日益扩大。
  • Our educational reform was steadily led onto the correct path.我们的教学改革慢慢上轨道了。
17 gulf 1e0xp     
  • The gulf between the two leaders cannot be bridged.两位领导人之间的鸿沟难以跨越。
  • There is a gulf between the two cities.这两座城市间有个海湾。
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