News / USA

US Presidents Gather for Bush Library Dedication

(L-R) President Barack Obama, former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter (R) at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, April 25, 2013.
(L-R) President Barack Obama, former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter (R) at the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, April 25, 2013.
Carla Babb
All five living U.S. presidents are attending the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Here is a look at their political legacies.

Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. President

Jimmy Carter served as a U.S. Naval officer, a Georgia state senator and the governor of Georgia before serving as U.S. president from 1977-1981. The Democrat created two new Cabinet-level departments during his presidency - The Department of Energy and the Department of Education.

Carter worked on the Camp David Accords, which became a bilateral peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. He is still vocal in working toward a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.

His time in office was plagued by a U.S. energy shortage and the Iran hostage crisis.  A group of Islamist students held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days after storming the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.

George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st U.S. President

George H.W. Bush served as a U.S. congressman, the ambassador to the United Nations and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency before his term as U.S. president from 1989-1993.

The Republican was president when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union dissolved two years later. He ordered military operations in Panama and the Persian Gulf and signed the Immigration Act of 1990, which increased legal immigration to the U.S. by 40 percent.

He oversaw the nation as an economic recession swept across the United States, ultimately losing favor with the public when he allowed Congress to increase taxes.

Bill Clinton, 42nd U.S. President

Bill Clinton served as the governor of Arkansas before serving as U.S. president from 1993-2001. He is married to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also is a former U.S. senator.

Clinton successfully pushed for welfare reform and signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law, creating a trilateral trading bloc between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The U.S. created a budget surplus during the last three years of the Clinton administration.

Clinton's desire for universal health care in America manifested in a failed health care reform package that would have mandated employers to provide health insurance coverage to all of their employees. His time as president was marred by a sex scandal involving a White House intern.

He and former President George Herbert Walker Bush teamed up to form the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, which helped victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

George Walker Bush, 43rd U.S. President

George W. Bush, the eldest son of George H.W. Bush, was the governor of Texas before serving two terms as U.S. president from 2001-2009.

Eight months into his presidency, the Islamist terrorist group al-Qaida hijacked passenger airplanes to attack major U.S. buildings. Two planes hit the World Trade Center's twin towers, one hit the Pentagon and a fourth heading for Washington, D.C. crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks.

Bush declared a "War on Terror" after the attacks and ordered U.S. troops into Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban regime and hunt down al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.  International support for the War on Terror waned when Mr. Bush and several other nations invaded Iraq in 2003, which resulted in the fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Bush enjoyed an approval rating of 90 percent, the highest of any president, following the September 11 attacks in 2001. His approval rating plummeted to 22 percent by the time he left office.

Barack Obama, 44th U.S. President

Barack Obama served as a U.S. Senator from Illinois before serving as president from 2009 until now. He is the United States' first African American and multiracial president.

Obama ordered the military operation in 2011 that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaida terrorist network.  He also ended U.S. combat operation in Iraq.

His term has been plagued by the worst economic recession in decades. His economic policy has used U.S. government stimulus money to try to grow the nation's sluggish economy, as the U.S. national debt has ballooned to more than $16.8 trillion.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs