George W. Bush on Families & Children
President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)
Restore dignity and honor to the White House
Americans were repulsed that the president had had oral sex with an intern in the Oval Office. On the other hand, they were sick of the vicious way in which both parties had handled the scandal. Bush decided not to attack Clinton's behavior, but to
describe what he would do if entrusted with the responsibilities of the presidency. This was encapsulated in his pledge to "restore dignity and honor to the White House." The criticism was offered in an oblique way. A frontal assault would have backfired
Source: Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove, p. 75-76
, Mar 9, 2010
1988: actively safeguarded against rumors about women
During the 1988 campaign, an attractive young worker make it clear she was interested in Bush, and staffers began taking bets on whether the two would end up having an affair. Bush confronted the woman and backed her off in no uncertain terms.
A senior campaign official complained angrily that the woman had been humiliated.
"Good, good," Bush replied evenly. "I'm a married man. I'm glad she got the signal."
To make sure that everyone understood his meaning,
Bush usually traveled with an aide and asked the man to stay in his hotel room until late at night as a safeguard against rumors about women.
It was not an act. Bush was on a flight one evening with a senator and a congressman.
The two other men were downing scotch & sodas and discussing how they kept their girlfriends from wives and journalists.
Bush said. "I'm a lucky man to have Laura." The senator and congressman went silent. Bush continued cheerily, "Let's toast Laura."
Source: The Faith of George W. Bush, by Stephen Mansfield, p. 79-80
, Apr 12, 2004
Defend the institution of marriage against activist judges
All of us-parents and schools and government-must work together to counter the negative influence of the culture and to send the right messages to our children. A strong America must value the institution of marriage. I believe we should respect
individuals as we take a principled stand for one of the most fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization.
Congress has already taken a stand on this issue by passing the Defense of Marriage Act, signed in 1996 by President Clinton.
That statute protects marriage under federal law as the union of a man and a woman, and declares that one state may not redefine marriage for other states.
Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for
the will of the people and their elected representatives. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.
Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress
, Jan 20, 2004
Tax cut plan helps single people as well as families
Q: What is one example of something in your plans that would improve opportunities for single adults past their college years?
A: There are a number of examples in my plans to improve opportunities for single adults, from my proposed health insurance
credit to my proposal [for people to] invest a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes in personal retirement accounts. If I were to highlight just one example it would be the income tax relief that my plan provides to everyone. It improves the
opportunities for all single adults who pay income taxes because they can take more of their paycheck home. An accounting firm examined five hypothetical single taxpayers. Every one of them got a tax cut under my plan. Four out of five got no tax relief
under Al Gore’s plan. For example, a single person earning $40,000 a year pays $5,772 in federal taxes under current law and gets no income-tax relief under Gore’s plan. That same person would get a $496 income tax cut under my plan.
Source: Associated Press on 2000 presidential race
, Nov 6, 2000
Internet filters, ratings, & parental monitoring for kids
Q: How can we protect children from inappropriate entertainment?
BUSH: You bet there’s things the government can do. We can work with the entertainment industry. We can have filters on Internets where public money is spent.
There ought to be filters in public libraries, and filters in public schools, so that if kids get on the Internet, there’s not going to be pornography or violence coming in. I think we ought to have character education in our schools.
I think we need to have rating systems that are clear. And I happen to like the idea of having technology for the TV, easy for parents to use, so you can tune out these programs that you don’t want in your house.
I’m going to remind mothers and dads: The best weapon is the off-on button, and paying attention to your children and eating dinner with them.
Source: St. Louis debate
, Oct 17, 2000
Paying taxes hurts family time for middle class
Bush argued that because tax payments take up such a large percentage of families’ incomes, it effectively forced people to work more and spend less time at home. “Many middle class families work three jobs: his, hers and the joint responsibility of
raising children. High taxes rob families of time to be with each other, and be with their children.” He promised he would reduce taxes, making sure middle class Americans pay no more than 25 percent of their income to the federal government.
Source: Frank Bruni, NY Times on 2000 election
, Sep 18, 2000
Blueprint: Focus on community; adoption; fatherhood; safety
The Bush plan will:
Source: Blueprint for the Middle Class
, Sep 17, 2000
- Empower parents to protect their children.Protect children from harmful material on the Internet.
- Cut the marriage penalty.Provide a new deduction for couples that pay higher taxes merely because they are
- Support after-school programs. Provide funding to after-school programs and let community and faith-based groups compete for federal support to run these programs.
- Keep families in crisis together.
Provide $1 billion for programs to help protect children.
- Promote adoption. Expand and make permanent the Adoption Tax Credit, by increasing the $5,000 tax credit for adoption expenses to $7,500.
- Promote strong fathers.
Provide support through mentoring, faith-based programs and community efforts.
- Promote child safety in school and at home. Establish Project Sentry & Project ChildSafe.
Safety at school & home: Project Sentry & Project ChildSafe
The Bush plan will promote child safety in school and at home:
Source: Blueprint for the Middle Class
, Sep 17, 2000
- Establish Project Sentry to prosecute juveniles who bring guns to school, and adults who provide them.
- Ban for life serious juvenile offenders from purchasing or carrying a gun.
- Launch Project ChildSafe, a federal-state-local partnership to ensure that child safety locks are made available for every single handgun in America.
Teach our children the values that defeat violence
My administration will encourage after-school programs that build character, and support mentoring groups that shape and save young lives. We must give our children a spirit of moral courage, because their character is our destiny.
Our schools must support the ideals of parents, elevating character and abstinence from afterthoughts to urgent goals. Most of all, we must teach our children the values that defeat violence.
Source: Speech to Republican National Convention
, Aug 3, 2000
Fathers’ registry will promote involvement, responsibility
Bush today promoted a 1997 Texas law creating a Paternity Registry. Fathers of out-of-wedlock children must sign the registry to maintain a legal claim of parenthood. “This is a way to encourage responsibility on behalf of dads on one hand,
but on the other hand, if fathers refuse, for whatever reason, to be responsible, expedite adoptions. Every child deserves to grow up in a loving home with a father and a mother. Too often, however, fathers are absent from the lives of their children.
We need to provide a vehicle for fathers to formalize paternity. Our child welfare system, working in partnership with states and citizens in communities throughout America, must
do more to encourage fathers to care for their families or, failing that, to expedite adoption when that is the mother’s wish or the mandate of the state,“ Bush said.
Source: Ron Fournier in Washington Post on 2000 election
, Jul 17, 2000
$75M to support veterans to mentor youth
Bush will outline plans for a five-year, $75 million effort to place former members of the armed forces in contact with youngsters. “There can be no more important mission today than to connect young people with veterans who can pass on the
qualities that have made their lives full and our democracy strong,” Bush said. His “Veterans Mission for Youth Initiative” would provide federal matching grants to community organizations that connect veterans & retired military personnel with the young.
Source: AP article in NY Times on 2000 election
, Jul 13, 2000
$2.3 billion over 5 years for adoption & child welfare
Announcing his agenda to “ensure that every child lives in a secure, permanent, and loving family,” Bush today unveiled reforms to improve child-welfare services and make adoption easier for families.
The reform total $2.3 billion over 5 years. “The objectives of the federal-state child welfare system are safety, permanency, and healthy child development. Sadly, this system has failed. When
children come out of the system facing troubled lives, lost opportunities, and shattered dreams - that is
a tragedy. When the very system designed to help them has made them victims yet again - that is a crisis. And that is a call to action.“
Source: “Help for Families & Children”, part of “Renewing America”
, Jul 11, 2000
Parental accountability is more important than trigger locks
Q: What about requiring trigger locks on guns?
A: I don’t mind trigger locks being sold. But the question is how do we enforce it. Are we going to have trigger lock police knocking on people’s doors saying show me your
trigger lock? 80% of the guns sold today have trigger locks with them and I think that’s fine. I think there need to be laws that say that if a parent is irresponsible and a child ends up with a weapon, the parent ought to be held accountable.
Source: GOP debate in Los Angeles
, Mar 2, 2000
Leave no child behind, via improving schools & health care
Q. If you could tell Americans one thing they need to know about your commitment as President to acting on behalf of children, what would you tell them?
A. I have worked to strengthen families, improve public schools, and increase access to quality health care so no child is left behind.
Source: National Association of Children’s Hospitals survey
, Jan 8, 2000
More daycare funds; caseworkers; “Second Chance” homes
Bush’s 1999 legislative record included:
Source: GeorgeWBush.com/News/ “1999 Texas Legislative Record”
, Jun 25, 1999
- Increased funding for child care for low-income families.
- Provided funding for an additional 380 child protective caseworkers to “rescue children before they become a tragic statistic.”
funds for four pilot “Second Chance” homes for unwed teenage moms.
V-chip OK, but cultural changes are better
On questions relating to the influence of popular culture, Bush said he had no problem with Clinton’s initiative to require a V-chip in televisions that parents could use to block objectionable material. He also said the kind of ‘tools’ for parents
Clinton has proposed (such as the V-chip and a television rating system) are less important than cultural changes. “The fundamental question is going to be, can America rededicate itself to parenting as the No. 1 priority for all of us?” he argued.
Source: (cross-ref to Technology) L.A. Times
, May 1, 1999
Filter - or avoid - media that romanticizes violence
After the Littleton, Colorado, shootings, Bush blamed popular culture for ‘romanticizing violence.’ He said he favored parental filtering devices for television and the Internet, but said the best solution was simply not to watch violent shows.
, Apr 21, 1999
Enforce child protection and child support
Our youngest Texans need our help. Last year, 176 children were killed by abusive parents or caretakers. For every one who dies, countless others suffer in anonymity. This breaks my heart. I urge you to increase funding so our child protection agency
can hire 380 new caseworkers to rescue children before they become a tragic statistic. The early years are critical ones, so I ask you to support the First Lady’s early childhood initiative and to give our Attorney General more tools to enforce child sup
Source: 1999 State of the State Address, Austin TX
, Jan 27, 1999
George W. Bush on Abstinence
Double funding for abstinence to prevent STDs
Each year, about 3 million teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases that can harm them or kill them or prevent them from ever becoming parents. In my budget, I propose a grassroots campaign to help inform families about these medical risks.
We will double federal funding for abstinence programs so schools can teach this fact of life: Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress
, Jan 20, 2004
Promote abstinence in schools and via churches
Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’
, Apr 2, 2000
- Proposed spending at least as much on abstinence education as on teen contraception programs
- Proposed ensuring that faith-based organizations can compete for federal abstinence education grants
- Proposed studying the effectiveness of
federally funded sex education programs
Abstinence Ed should get funded as much as Sex Ed
Bush has long supported sexual abstinence for unmarried couples...announced that if he were elected president, the federal government would channel as much money into abstinence education as it spends on sex education. “The twin epidemics of teen
pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease are a major problem for the future of America,” Bush said.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
, Jun 22, 1999
Appropriate to draw a moral line for children
Some people think it’s inappropriate to draw a moral line. Not me. For our children to have the lives we want for them, they must learn to say yes to responsibility, yes to family, yes to honesty and work. What can be done? We can give schools and
principals more authority to discipline children. We must encourage states to reform their juvenile justice laws. We must say to our children, “We love you, but discipline and love go hand in hand, and there will be bad consequences for bad behavior.”
Source: Candidacy Announcement speech, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
, Jun 12, 1999
Teach kids right (abstinence) and wrong (drugs & gangs)
We must teach our children right from wrong. We live in a culture of moral indifference, where movies and videos glamorize violence and tolerance is touted as a great virtue. Respect for other ideas must not be confused with tolerance of actions that are
harmful. There are right choices in life and wrong choices. We must teach our children to say no to drugs & alcohol, no to violence & gangs and yes to staying in school, yes to making healthy choices and yes to abstaining from sex until marriage.
Source: Powell Lecture Series, Texas A&M Univ.
, Apr 6, 1998
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Other past presidents on Families & Children:
George W. Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)
Past Vice Presidents:
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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022