George W.: I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear...
George Bush: ...that I will faithfully execute...
George W.: ...the office of President...
George Bush: ... of the United States.
George W. Bush grew up in a family with a strong sense that it was one of the American’s political clans connected to power. The Bush's had a tradition of going into politics but making their money first. George W. was to develop an intense loyalty to his father, a man who had gone south to make his fortune out of oil.
Bill Minutaglio (Bush Biographer): I believe he grew up with an enormous set of expectations on him that he was the prince, the 1)heir in this dynasty to hisfather. I think in large measure, his 2)ascendancy to the Presidency is informed by his need, by his deep inner need to somehow or other meet those expectations in the family, maybe even 3)surpass his father in some way.
He followed his father's path. The same 4)elite colleges. At Yale, his father had been a legend in class, George W. would be remembered for his partying.
John Ellis (cousin): There were people who looked at George W. and said, you know, can he measure up to dad? And there were people I think who said that he wasn't measuring up. And I think that George probably heard some of those or George W. probably heard some of those words.
George W. Bush was spending too much time in the bars of this oil town drinking heavily, business was going badly. "I'm all name but no money," he complained at the time. In 1986, he and his wife, Laura, left Colorado Springs to celebrate his 40th birthday with their closest friends. It was to be a weekend that would change his life. That night at the Broadmore Hotel, friends say George W. drank too much and woke with a pounding head. He 5)vowed never to drink again. He woke up the next day and said, "Hey, why am I doing this?" and he just stopped and that's it.
Joe O'Neill (friend): I was suspected that he had such love and affection for his dad that "hey, what happens if I did something to embarrass my father?"
John Ellis: I think it was 6)getting in the way of his life, it was getting in the way, I mean, of his work, of his marriage, of his relationship with people. And I think he felt, you know what, it's in the way and if it's in the way, it's out of the way.
Joe O'Neill: He saw a problem and just said that's it, and George is very disciplined that way.
At the moment of his father's greatest triumph - winning the White House and enjoying the trappings of power - George W. was just over 40 and effectively unemployed. He 7)agonized over his own future to the point to agreeing to have some research done by a White House aide on what had happened to the sons of previous presidents.
Journalist: What did you find?
Doug Wead (friend): Most depressing, high levels of suicide, higher than average levels of divorce, of alcoholism, of premature death which was coincidental. Seemed like these young people - men and women, children of Presidents - so 8)identified with their father, the Presidential figure, that their whole life was 9)wrapped up in him. And when George W. saw that, he kinda 10)groaned.
Then in 1992, his father was beaten by Bill Clinton. It hurt. It definitely hurt ‘cause he loved his father. It's hard to describe the respect he had for his father.
Journalist: But do you think that sense of loss that the family had lost out influenced his decision to go into the politics and become governor of Texas?
Doug Wead: Yes, yes, I think it really 11)propelled it.
His father's defeat left George W. tearful and disgusted with politics, but it proved a liberation for him and his brother.
Laura Bush (wife): For the first time, George and his brother, Jeb, were freed to run. It was the first time they had the opportunity in their whole lives to not have to think about how everything they said or any political position they took would affect their father.
Doug Wead: Once his dad had been defeated it, it sort of freed him up to take advantage of the whole network, the whole Bush network - it could now give money to him. It didn't have to give all the money to President Bush, what former President Bush and so on and so forth. He’d enable all of this incredible 12)apparatus was now available to him.
George W.: Let's make it official, I'm a 13)candidate for Governor of Texas!
Within weeks of his father's defeat, George W. had taken steps to run for Governor. Few had expected him to win against the incumbent, a popular woman and a Democrat. Those who had come to know him while he was at the Texas Rangers were puzzled by this sudden move into politics.
Randy Galloway (friend): I said, George, you can't beat her! What are you doing this? And his answer was, I'm running against the other guy, meaning Bill Clinton.
Journalist: Could you also get the sense that this was getting back at the man who after all had beaten his father?
Randy Galloway: No doubt about it. I mean, George W. is a guy that he did not forget what happened to Big George, and he never forgot that.
Randy Galloway said it was like hearing a blato such as was George W. Bush's determination to restore the family name. It was the former baseball owner who ended up in the Governors mansion and begun running Texas, the second largest state in America.
In 1998, he was easily re-elected. The Republican Party began to eye him as a winner, and he also had going for him the Bush name. John Ellis: What it gives George an enormous advantage going in? It gives him a 100% name recognition. It gives him a huge network of financial supporters. It gives him a huge network of a political supporters. It gives him a huge reservoir of good will from people who don't even know him, because they assume that because his father's a good guy, he's a good guy.
David Gergen: If he were not a Bush, he would not be President today. So it, you know, if his name had been Smith, he'd have been Governor of Texas, he'd have been a nice candidate for Vice President, but I don't think he would be President.
The Bush guide as how George W. Bush will act under pressure came during the five weeks when the election was disputed. He decided not to remain here in the official residence 14)overseeing the crisis. Instead he appointed people to fight for his corner while he took off to his 15)ranch, a place that didn't even have TV. To some, at this most critical moment in his life, he seemed almost disengaged.
Most of the time was spent clearing brush, it's how he likes to work - 16)delegate and then 17)pull back. Those who visited him found a man supremely relaxed about his own future, whatever the outcome.
John Dickerson (TIME Magazine): When I arrived, you would of thought it was any other weekend. That the Presidency didn't 18)hang in the balance, that he hadn't been waiting out 3 weeks of court challenges and legal challenges and speculation and spin. You would of thought he had been on a month long vacation. It was only after about 2 hours that he said, you know, "I don't give a damn about the Supreme Court here." And then he paused and said, "well, of course I do, but here it all just melts away."
"President elect of the United States, the honorable George W. Bush!"
This is a dynasty in the making. Many of his father's friends have been brought into the White House, and each day George W. e-mails George senior. For all his confidence, there is an unfinished quality to the man, many regard as the accidental President.