The three cornerstones of democracy - peace, jobs and freedom - were in short supply during the presidency of George Bush.

For seven of the eight years America was at war. Jobs evaporated faster than at any point since 1945. And the land of the free was noticeably not free from want, fear or suffering.

We've picked 10 days that try to sum up the character of the Bush presidency: its extremes of high politics and low diplomacy, its inability to cope with the unexpected, and its remarkably divisive impact around the world.

December 12 2000Justify FullThe United States Supreme Court rules 7-2 in favour of declaring Florida Supreme Court's plan for recounting ballots cast in the previous month's presidential election as unconstitutional. They also rule 5-4 in favour of declaring that no alternative method of recounting can go ahead. This means that Katherine Harris, the Republican Secretary of State who had been the Florida co-chair of George Bush's election campaign, can certify that her state's electoral college votes will go to Bush and hence give him a majority over Democrat opponent Al Gore. Bush is subsequently declared president-elect of the United States.

March 28 2001

Two and a half months after being formally inaugurated as president, George Bush confirms he has no intention of implementing the Kyoto Protocol - the international treaty, that commits countries to cutting the emission of gasses believed responsible for global warming. Bush argues that ratifying the treaty would harm the US economy and does not make big enough demands on developing nations. His position cements his administration's attitude towards environmental issues for the following eight years.

September 11 2001

Bush sits in a Florida classroom reading aloud from a book while terrorists fly two aeroplanes into the World Trade Centre, a third into the Pentagon and fail to target a fourth at Washington DC. After learning of the second Trade Centre crash, he continues reading to the children for seven minutes. Bush then makes a brief statement to the press. Over the next few days, while he and his team fashion a more formal response, his approval ratings soars to above 80%. On 20 September Bush addresses a joint session of the US congress to initiate a 'war on terror' which 'begins with al Qaeda.'

January 29 2002

During his annual State of the Union Address, Bush cites Iraq, Iran and North Korea as belonging to an 'axis of evil' due to their alleged encouragement of international terrorism and intention to build and deploy weapons of mass destruction. It characterises the president's attitude to foreign policy, and becomes in retrospect one signal of Bush's intention to invade Iraq.

July 10 2002

The first CIA team reportedly enters Iraq to lay the ground for an invasion that will not officially begin for another nine months. Their activities, although kept secret at the time, suggest with hindsight that Bush was determined to invade and defeat Iraq regardless of whatever diplomatic and legal initiatives occurred in the interim.

May 1 2003

Bush lands on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of California and announces to its crew and the watching world that major combat operations in Iraq are over. He is pictured speaking in front of a banner that reads 'Mission Accomplished'. The gist of his remarks, and the implication of the banner, is soon proved utterly mistaken. US troops go on to endure a bloody few years as an occupying force. A Pentagon spokesman later claims the banner referred solely to the ship, and not the war itself. During George Bush's presidency, 4,226 Americans die serving in Iraq.

November 3 2004

In contrast to opinion polls that had predicted a very close outcome, Bush wins the popular vote with 50.73% to Kerry's 48.27%. It is the first time since 1988 that the winning presidential candidate of either party has polled more than half of the popular vote.

August 29 2005

Hurricane Katrina makes landfall as a Category 3 storm in southeast Louisiana. At least 1,836 people are killed by the hurricane and ensuing floods. Katrina results in $81.2bn of damage. Bush is severely criticised for his failure to recognise the severity of the storm and his tardiness in mobilising the full potential of national emergency services.

November 8 2006

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigns. Just 24 hours previously, Americans had voted in elections for the Senate and House of Representatives; as a result, the Republican Party lost control of both. Bush needs to offer up a sacrifice; Rumsfeld falls on his sword. The Defence Secretary had become the walking embodiment of Bush’s increasingly unpopular foreign policy activities in Iraq, Afghanistan and, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. Later it emerges that Rumsfeld had offered to resign the day before the elections, but Bush had delayed the announcement.

September 29 2008

The House of Representatives votes against a $700bn rescue plan for the US financial system. Shares tumble, with the Dow Jones index sliding 7%, or 770 points. The panic that follows in Congress and on Wall Street is frighteningly persuasive. Bush addresses the nation, but seems powerless to affect either the behaviour of the markets or that of his fellow politicians. His presidency is destined to end with the US heading into the greatest economic collapse since the 1930s.
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