Miller Center

Presidential Key Events

 

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George W. Bush - 11/05/2003: Bush signs into law a ban on late-term abortion, t…
Bush signs into law a ban on late-term abortion, the first law to ban an abortion procedure since the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court later upholds the ban. November 05, 2003

George W. Bush - 12/08/2003: Bush signs a landmark bill overhauling Medicare th…
Bush signs a landmark bill overhauling Medicare that includes the program’s first prescription drug benefits to begin in 2006 and creates incentives for private insurance companies to cover Medicare subscribers. December 08, 2003

George W. Bush - 12/18/2003: Iran signs an agreement to grant unrestricted acce…
Iran signs an agreement to grant unrestricted access to UN-IAEA weapons inspectors. December 18, 2003

George W. Bush - 01/20/2004: Bush gives his fourth State of the Union Address, …
Bush gives his fourth State of the Union Address, laying out a broad domestic and foreign policy agenda while stressing issues of national security. January 20, 2004

George W. Bush - 03/08/2004: The Iraqi Governing Council signs an interim const…
The Iraqi Governing Council signs an interim constitution to provide a framework for establishment of a transitional government. March 08, 2004

George W. Bush - 04/04/2004: U.S. forces in Iraq confront a violent uprising be…
U.S. forces in Iraq confront a violent uprising beginning with Shiite Muslims in Baghdad and spreading to Sunni guerrillas in Fallujah, leading to the heaviest fighting since the invasion began in March of 2003. April 04, 2004

George W. Bush - 04/28/2004: CBS broadcasts photographs of U.S. Army abuse of I…
CBS broadcasts photographs of U.S. Army abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, a facility on the outskirts of Baghdad. Bush and other senior administration officials voice deep disapproval over these abuses. April 28, 2004

George W. Bush - 05/17/2004: Massachusetts becomes the first state to offer mar…
Massachusetts becomes the first state to offer marriage licenses to same sex couples. Bush reiterates to Congress his call for a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. May 17, 2004

George W. Bush - 06/03/2004: Bush announces he has accepted the resignation of …
Bush announces he has accepted the resignation of CIA Director George Tenet, widely blamed for intelligence failures in the months leading up to September 11. June 03, 2004

George W. Bush - 06/08/2004: Attorney General John Ashcroft appears before the …
Attorney General John Ashcroft appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions regarding two leaked government memoranda that contained legal arguments for circumventing U.S. and international bans on torture, specifically for the questioning of terrorist suspects. June 08, 2004

George W. Bush - 06/28/2004: The U.S.-led Coalition for Provisional Authority f…
The U.S.-led Coalition for Provisional Authority formerly ends foreign occupation of Iraq, granting the provisional government sovereignty. Still, 130,000 troops remain in Iraq. June 28, 2004

George W. Bush - 09/02/2004: President Bush and Vice President Cheney are renom…
President Bush and Vice President Cheney are renominated as the Republican candidates at the GOP convention in New York City. September 02, 2004

George W. Bush - 09/30/2004: Bush and Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry, h…
Bush and Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry, have their first of three presidential debates, this one focused on national security issues and foreign policy. The Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq War is the main focus. September 30, 2004

George W. Bush - 10/08/2004: Bush and Kerry have their second debate in a town-…
Bush and Kerry have their second debate in a town-hall format in St. Louis, Missouri. October 08, 2004

George W. Bush - 10/13/2004: Polls show the two candidates in a dead heat as Bu…
Polls show the two candidates in a dead heat as Bush and Kerry meet for their third and final presidential debate on domestic policy. October 13, 2004

George W. Bush - 10/29/2004: Qatar-based television channel Al-Jazeera airs exc…
Qatar-based television channel Al-Jazeera airs excerpts from a videotape of Osama bin-Laden, leader of the terrorist network al-Qaeda, who addresses the American people. Many view this tape as an attempt by al-Qaeda to influence the U.S. presidential election. October 29, 2004

George W. Bush - 11/03/2004: Bush wins a second term with 51 percent of the pop…
Bush wins a second term with 51 percent of the popular vote and 274 electoral votes to John Kerry’s 252. The Republican Party builds slightly on its majority in the House and Senate. November 03, 2004

George W. Bush - 11/08/2004: U.S. troops launch an assault to retake the rebel-…
U.S. troops launch an assault to retake the rebel-controlled city of Fallujah in the largest military operation since the initial invasion in March of 2003. November 08, 2004

George W. Bush - 11/15/2004: Retired Army general and Secretary of State Colin …
Retired Army general and Secretary of State Colin Powell resigns. Bush appoints former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to the position. November 15, 2004

George W. Bush - 01/20/2005: President Bush is sworn in for the second term of …
President Bush is sworn in for the second term of his presidency. January 20, 2005

George W. Bush - 02/02/2005: In his State of the Union, President Bush calls fo…
In his State of the Union, President Bush calls for an historic restructuring of Social Security, allowing workers to use their payroll taxes to invest in the stock market. However, he is unable to move the policy through Congress. February 02, 2005

George W. Bush - 02/17/2005: Bush names former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Neg…
Bush names former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte Director of National Intelligence, a newly created position of “intelligence czar” created in the wake of Congressional investigations into intelligence failures leading up to September 11. February 17, 2005

George W. Bush - 02/20/2005: Bush travels to Europe to meet with French Preside…
Bush travels to Europe to meet with French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and Russian President Vladimir Putin to smooth diplomatic relations after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. February 20, 2005 - February 24, 2005

George W. Bush - 03/31/2005: Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman long-suffering from…
Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman long-suffering from brain damage, dies following the removal of her feeding tube. Schiavo had been the focus of legal controversy between the wishes of her parents and those of her husband. Ten days earlier, President Bush had signed a law permitting Schiavo’s parents to challenge the removal of her feeding tube in federal court. March 31, 2005

George W. Bush - 06/05/2005: Iraqi government announces that a war crimes trial…
Iraqi government announces that a war crimes trial for Saddam Hussein is likely to begin within the next two months and prosecutors would seek the death penalty. June 05, 2005

George W. Bush - 06/10/2005: South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun meets with Bus…
South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun meets with Bush to discuss efforts to persuade North Korea to join the six-party talks intended to end North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. June 10, 2005

George W. Bush - 06/21/2005: Vietnamese Premier Phan Van Khai meets with Bush t…
Vietnamese Premier Phan Van Khai meets with Bush to discuss human rights and treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in Vietnam. This marks the first visit by a Vietnamese Premier to the United States since the country reunited under Communist rule in 1975. June 21, 2005

George W. Bush - 06/28/2005: The Senate easily passes an omnibus energy bill ai…
The Senate easily passes an omnibus energy bill aimed at supporting the traditional energy industries of oil and natural gas, but also provide tax incentives for the use of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power. June 28, 2005

George W. Bush - 07/26/2005: The space shuttle Discovery takes off from the Ken…
The space shuttle Discovery takes off from the Kennedy Space Center on a mission to deliver repairs to the International Space Station. This is the first U.S. space mission since the failed return of the Columbia in 2003. July 26, 2005

George W. Bush - 08/28/2005: Hurricane Katrina strikes the southern coast of th…
Hurricane Katrina strikes the southern coast of the United States with devastating effects. The storm breaches the levee system in New Orleans, causing massive flooding and destruction of property. The Bush administration is harshly criticized for an inadequate response by the federal government to the storm’s destruction. August 28, 2005

George W. Bush - 09/29/2005: John G. Roberts is confirmed as Chief Justice of t…
John G. Roberts is confirmed as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Roberts replaces William Rehnquist, who died in office, and is President Bush’s first nominee to the Court. September 29, 2005

George W. Bush - 01/26/2006: The Senate Judiciary Committee approves President …
The Senate Judiciary Committee approves President Bush’s nomination of Samuel A. Alito, Jr., to the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 10-8. Previously, concerns were voiced over the disruption of the court’s ideological balance that would result from Alito’s replacement of moderate Sandra Day O’Connor. January 26, 2006

George W. Bush - 03/21/2006: In a White House news conference, President Bush a…
In a White House news conference, President Bush admits for the first time that the complete removal of U.S. troops from Iraq during the remainder of his term is improbable. He continues to assert the fact that progress is being made in the establishment of Iraqi democracy. March 21, 2006

George W. Bush - 05/03/2006: After several cases of avian influenza are reporte…
After several cases of avian influenza are reported in Central and Southeast Asia, the Bush administration proposes a plan to minimize losses in the case of a deadly pandemic. The plan includes coordination with the World Health Organization, reorganization of international travel, and the authorization of military assistance in the case of public unrest. May 03, 2006

George W. Bush - 05/04/2006: The U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, s…
The U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, sentences Zacarias Moussaoui to life in prison without parole for his role in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Moussaoui was the first person to stand trial for the attacks. May 04, 2006

George W. Bush - 06/07/2006: The Senate votes 49-48 to conclude debate on a con…
The Senate votes 49-48 to conclude debate on a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriages in the United States, thereby preventing a vote on the actual passage of the amendment. President Bush had previously expressed support of the proposed amendment. June 07, 2006

George W. Bush - 07/19/2006: President Bush vetoes a bill to lift constraints o…
President Bush vetoes a bill to lift constraints on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, and subsequently, the House unsuccessfully attempts to override the veto. This is the first veto Bush issues during his administration. July 19, 2006

George W. Bush - 10/26/2006: President Bush signs a bill providing for the cons…
President Bush signs a bill providing for the construction of a 700-mile fence along the United States-Mexico border, in an effort to increase border security and stem illegal immigration. October 26, 2006

George W. Bush - 11/07/2006: Democrats recapture control of the U.S. House and …
Democrats recapture control of the U.S. House and Senate in the midterm elections. November 07, 2006

George W. Bush - 12/30/2006: Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is hanged in…
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is hanged in Baghdad, Iraq, after being convicted of crimes against humanity dating back to 1982. December 30, 2006

George W. Bush - 01/04/2007: Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, takes of…
Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, takes office as the first female Speaker of the House. Democrats assume control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. January 04, 2007

George W. Bush - 01/08/2007: The U.S. Air Force launches an air attack on Islam…
The U.S. Air Force launches an air attack on Islamist militias and suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Somalia. January 08, 2007

George W. Bush - 01/11/2007: Bush announces what would be t…
Bush announces what would be termed a “troop surge” in Iraq in an attempt to increase security in the capital of Baghdad and smother insurgency centers throughout the country. January 11, 2007

George W. Bush - 02/10/2007: General David Petraeus takes over command of the m…
General David Petraeus takes over command of the multinational forces in Iraq to oversee the surge. February 10, 2007

George W. Bush - 03/06/2007: Scooter Libby, Vice President …
Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, is convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the case of CIA operative, Valerie Plame Wilson, whose covert identity was exposed. President Bush later commutes Libby’s sentence. March 06, 2007

George W. Bush - 04/16/2007: Seung-Hui Cho kills himself and 32 fellow students…
Seung-Hui Cho kills himself and 32 fellow students at Virginia Tech in the deadliest campus gun rampage in U.S. history. President Bush and the First Lady attend the memorial. April 16, 2007

George W. Bush - 05/01/2007: Bush vetoes a war spending bill passed by Congress…
Bush vetoes a war spending bill passed by Congress, which set a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq. Within days Bush reaches a record low approval rating. May 01, 2007

George W. Bush - 06/29/2007: The Supreme Court reverses an April decision and a…
The Supreme Court reverses an April decision and agrees to hear appeals from Guantanamo Bay detainees who have not had access to the federal courts. June 29, 2007

George W. Bush - 07/26/2007: Congress passes the Antiterrorism Bill, which will…
Congress passes the Antiterrorism Bill, which will allow for the screening of air and sea cargo and will give more money in government antiterrorism grants to states with the greatest risk for terrorist attacks. July 26, 2007

George W. Bush - 09/17/2007: President Bush names Michael Mukasey as Attorney G…
President Bush names Michael Mukasey as Attorney General after Alberto Gonzalez announces his resignation. September 17, 2007

George W. Bush - 10/09/2007: The Dow Jones industrial average closes at 14,164,…
The Dow Jones industrial average closes at 14,164, its all-time high. Soon after, it begins a steep decline. October 09, 2007

George W. Bush - 11/27/2007: President Bush hosts a Middle East Peace Conferenc…
President Bush hosts a Middle East Peace Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. November 27, 2007

George W. Bush - 12/19/2007: Congress passes new energy legislation to increase…
Congress passes new energy legislation to increase automobile fuel efficiency standards and mandates increases in biofuel production. The bill passes the House and Senate, and President Bush signs it into law. December 19, 2007

George W. Bush - 01/18/2008: President Bush proposes a $145 billion stimulus pa…
President Bush proposes a $145 billion stimulus package in response to a housing crisis and rapidly increasing oil prices. The package gives individuals several hundred dollars to facilitate spending, as well as rebates for children and tax deductions for businesses in order to jump-start the slowing economy. January 18, 2008

George W. Bush - 01/31/2008: U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan kill a top al-Qae…
U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan kill a top al-Qaeda leader, Abu Laith al-Libi, who trained terror operatives in the region. January 31, 2008

George W. Bush - 02/01/2008: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.…
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. economy lost more than 15,000 jobs during the previous month. Such an elimination of jobs from the economy had not occurred for more than four years. February 01, 2008

George W. Bush - 02/07/2008: The Senate passes a $170-billion stimulus package …
The Senate passes a $170-billion stimulus package to give many Americans tax rebates as large as $600 or more, and to implement tax breaks for certain businesses in an effort to head-off impending economic slowdown. February 07, 2008

George W. Bush - 02/11/2008: Six detainees at Guantanamo Bay who were thought t…
Six detainees at Guantanamo Bay who were thought to have had roles in orchestrating the September 11 terrorist attacks are charged with conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, terrorism, and other charges. All six face the death penalty in military tribunals. February 11, 2008

George W. Bush - 03/23/2008: After a roadside bomb exploded in Baghdad, the U.S…
After a roadside bomb exploded in Baghdad, the U.S. death toll for the war in Iraq reached 4,000. March 23, 2008

George W. Bush - 05/09/2008: The State Department renews a deal with Blackwater…
The State Department renews a deal with Blackwater Worldwide, the private defense contractor whose guards killed 17 civilians in 2007, to provide defense for U.S. diplomats in the Middle East. May 09, 2008

George W. Bush - 05/22/2008: The House and Senate override President …
The House and Senate override President Bush’s veto of the Farm Bill, a $307 billion bill which will provide subsidies to farmers. More than $10 billion of the funds will go to expanding nutritional programs such as food stamps. Bush originally vetoed the bill, which he felt to be excessive. May 22, 2008

George W. Bush - 06/03/2008: Democratic candidate Barack Obama secures the part…
Democratic candidate Barack Obama secures the party’s nomination for the presidency. June 03, 2008

George W. Bush - 06/05/2008: The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence finds,…
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence finds, after a five-year study, that President Bush and other officials greatly exaggerated the evidence showing that Saddam Hussein held weapons of mass destruction. June 05, 2008

George W. Bush - 06/30/2008: In a new report issued on the situation in Iraq, t…
In a new report issued on the situation in Iraq, the U.S. Army admits that while it was able to adequately topple Hussein’s regime, it did not have the capability to rebuild Iraq into a fully-functioning new country. June 30, 2008

George W. Bush - 09/01/2008: U.S. forces hand over control of Anbar Province to…
U.S. forces hand over control of Anbar Province to the Iraqi military and police, who will now be responsible for maintaining order there. September 01, 2008

George W. Bush - 09/07/2008: The U.S. government places Fannie Mae and Freddie …
The U.S. government places Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under its control to prevent the institutions from going under and endangering more than half of the country’s mortgages. September 07, 2008

George W. Bush - 10/01/2008: Senate approves an end to the long-standing ban on…
Senate approves an end to the long-standing ban on trading nuclear fuels with India, who will be able to purchase fuel on the market as long as it is for civilian purposes. October 01, 2008

George W. Bush - 10/03/2008: At the onset of financial crisis, President Bush s…
At the onset of financial crisis, President Bush signs a $700 billion bailout plan for failing bank assets, the largest in U.S. history. October 03, 2008

George W. Bush - 10/30/2008: U.S. gross domestic product drops by 0.3 percent, …
U.S. gross domestic product drops by 0.3 percent, the first time GDP has shrunk in 17 years. October 30, 2008

George W. Bush - 10/31/2008: General David Petraeus takes over as Head of Centr…
General David Petraeus takes over as Head of Central Command, overseeing all U.S. military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and Iran. October 31, 2008

George W. Bush - 11/04/2008: Barack Obama is elected the next President of the …
Barack Obama is elected the next President of the United States in an historic election in which Democrats win in several traditionally Republican states and pick up seats in the House and Senate. Obama is the first African American elected President. November 04, 2008

George W. Bush - 11/25/2008: The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve ag…
The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve agree to provide another $800 billion in lending programs to buy debt insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to provide more small loans to consumers. November 25, 2008

George W. Bush - 12/16/2008: Federal Reserve cuts interest rates to an all-time…
Federal Reserve cuts interest rates to an all-time low of zero percent, down from 1 percent and 0.25 percent earlier in the year as part of a plan to stimulate the economy. December 16, 2008

George W. Bush - 12/19/2008: President Bush issues a $17.4-billion auto bailout…
President Bush issues a $17.4-billion auto bailout to General Motors and Chrysler to keep the two American automotive giants from going bankrupt. December 19, 2008

George W. Bush - 01/20/2009: Barack Obama is inaugurated the 44th President of …
Barack Obama is inaugurated the 44th President of the United States. President Bush leaves Washington, D.C., and settles in Dallas, Texas. January 20, 2009

Barack Obama - Barack Obama Inaugurated

On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. He was the first African American President in U.S. history.

Obama emerged as an unlikely candidate during the 2008 presidential campaign. He was born and raised in Hawaii. His mother, a white American from Kansas, and his father, a black Kenyan studying in the United States, met as students at the University of Hawaii. After attending school in Hawaii, Obama moved to the mainland for college—first attending Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, and then graduating from Columbia University in New York City.

Obama then moved to Chicago, Illinois, and began working as a community organizer, helping low-income residents improve their public housing conditions. In 1988, he enrolled at Harvard Law School. During the 1990-1991 academic year, he was president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review, the first African American elected to the position. Returning to Chicago, Obama worked in a civil rights law firm and as a lecturer at the University of Chicago.

He first entered public office as a state senator in 1997. Obama attracted national attention in the summer of 2004 when he gave the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. “There's not a liberal America and a conservative America,” he declared. “There's a United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America. There's a United States of America.”

After serving as a state legislator for eight years, Obama ran for the U.S. Senate and won the election in 2004 by the largest margin in the history of Senate elections in Illinois. As a first-term Senator, he launched his presidential campaign in February 2007. After a hard-fought Democratic primary against Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, Obama secured the Democratic Party nomination in June 2008. Two days before the Democratic National Convention, he picked Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware as his vice presidential running mate.

The 2008 presidential campaign featured the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joseph Biden against the Republican ticket of Senator John McCain of Arizona and his vice presidential running mate, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. Obama and Biden won the election handily, 53 percent of the popular vote to 46 percent and 365 Electoral College votes to 173.

January 20, 2009

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