Image: President-elect George H.W. Bush, right, and his wife Barbara Bush, in 1988

George H.W. Bush, right, and his wife Barbara Bush, wave to the crowd at a victory celebration rally in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 8, 1988. J. Scott Applewhite / AP

“Bush 41,” as he affectionately became known, entered politics in 1964 when he lost his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Texas. But he went on to win a House seat two years later and run again for Senate in 1970 at the urging of President Richard Nixon. He was unsuccessful, however, Nixon rewarded Bush by appointing him as ambassador to the United Nations.


Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush Stay Clear of WH Race

From there he went on to hold a host of different titles, including chairman of the Republican National Committee, the U.S. envoy to China, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The experiences would prove the cornerstone of his failed 1980 presidential campaign that led to his selection as Ronald Reagan’s running mate. It catapulted his own presidential campaign in 1988 when he defeated Democrat Michael Dukakis.

As the 41st president, he helped oversee the end of the Soviet Union, made two selections to the Supreme Court and, most notably, stood up to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, temporarily boosting him to record-high approval ratings.

But a faltering economy and breaking his famous “no new taxes” pledge led to Bush’s 1992 loss to Bill Clinton.