George W. Bush presidential campaign, 2000
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|George W. Bush for President 2000|
Republican primaries, 2000|
U.S. presidential election, 2000
George W. Bush|
46th Governor of Texas
17th United States Secretary of Defense
Announced: June 12, 1999|
Official nominee: August 3, 2000
Won election: November 7, 2000
Reformer with Results |
(archived - Oct. 14, 2000)
Governor of Texas
43rd President of the United States
The 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush, the 46th Governor of Texas, was formally launched on June 14, 1999 as Governor Bush, the eldest son of former President George H.W. Bush announced his intention to seek the Republican Party nomination for the presidency of the United States in the 2000 presidential election.
Bush was the main challenger to Senator McCain, who appealed to moderate Republicans, independents and the press due to his reformist policies. After McCain's upset victory in New Hampshire Bush won the South Carolina primary and following it would engage in a bitter smear campaign.
Bush won the majority of the primaries and after the March 2000 Super Tuesday contests he was well ahead in delegates of both McCain and Alan Keyes. On August 3, 2000 Bush won the Republican nomination at the Republican Convention with the support of 2,058 delegates. Dick Cheney, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense, was nominated as vice president.
On November 7, 2000, it was projected that Bush had won in Florida and its 25 electoral votes. Gore won the national popular vote but the Gore campaign lost the electoral college vote after a legal battle over disputed vote counts. Bush won the election on the electoral college vote of 271 to 266.
Leading up to the announcement
During the 1996 election cycle Bush was urged by some party leaders to seek the Republican nomination, but he instead chose to endorse Senator Bob Dole who won the nomination, but lost the general election against Bill Clinton. Dick Cheney, his future vice president, was also urged to run, but he too refused to seek the nomination. Bush would temporarily be made co-chairman of the convention. On February 2, 1999, one month before Bush announced the formation of his presidential exploratory committee, Bush was asked by Steve Cooper if he had "ever used drugs? Marijuana, cocaine?". Bush refused to answer the question and would continue to dodge questions relating to his possible illegal drug use until August.
On March 7, 1999 Bush announced the creation of a presidential exploratory committee while surrounded by Governor John Engler, Senator Paul Coverdell, former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour, Jennifer Dunn, J. C. Watts, Henry Bonilla and Roy Blunt, all member of his newly formed committee, but chose to not specific positions on national issues until he started formally campaigning in June, but Bush did outline his philosophy of compassionate conservatism and his outreach plans to Hispanics. Blunt said that eighty Republican House members already have endorsed Bush and the Bush campaign was focused on gaining the endorsement from the majority of Republican members of Congress. On May 26 one hundred fifteen Republican House members and several governors endorsed Bush seventeen days before his formal announcement.  During this time mutliple polls were showing that forty percent of Americans would vote against him and another fifteen percent would not likely vote for him. The polls also showed that Bush would defeat Gore with 54% to Gore's 40%.
Campaign developments 1999
By the time that Bush had officially entered the primary race on June 12, 1999  eight other candidates, Bob Smith, John Kasich, Pat Buchanan, Lamar Alexander, Dan Quayle, Elizabeth Dole, Steve Forbes and Gary Bauer, had already entered with John McCain and Alan Keyes coming months later. Despite this crowded field Bush was able to raise $36.2 million a mere eighteen days after his announcement, easily dwarfing his opponents with Elizabeth Dole, who had the second highest amount of donations, only had $3.5 million, and by early July Bush would refuse $16.5 million in Federal matching funds as it would limit his spending as his donations were reaching the $40 million limit. Coincidentally, this action which Bush did to help his campaign also helped his opponents who were now able to receive their matching funds earlier.
Orrin Hatch stated that "Bush doesn't have the experience to be president and was born in privilege," after he announced his own presidential campaign and that he would be there when Bush stumbles. However, by mid-July Bush's campaign fundraising and massive leads in the polls had already forced out two of his opponents, Bob Smith and John Kasich. Kasich would endorse Bush saying that "George Bush's term of 'compassionate conservative' really kind of defines what John Kasich is all about," and Bob Smith hinted at running for the U.S. Taxpayer party Bush had also already campaigned in twelve states and the District of Columbia. As Bush was forcing out his opposition and campaigning, Senator McCain was campaigning months after his informal announcement in April in South Carolina after his decision to bypass the Iowa caucus.
On August 4 the first major scandal in the Bush campaign started after his refusal to answer whether he had every used cocaine. Seventeen days later Bush won an Iowa straw poll and held a press conference in Austin, Texas where the question of his drug use was raised, causing him to become agitated. When asked if he thought the rumors were being planted Bush replied with Do I think they are being planted? I know they are being planted, and they are ridiculous and they're absurd and the people of America are sick and tired of this kind of politics and I am not participating. The next day Bush would say that he had never used drugs since 1974 and that his FBI background check clears him of any possible drug use. While this scandal was going on another low profile scandal popped up involving the firing of Democratic Eliza May, Texas' top funeral industry regulator. To distract from the new scandals the Bush campaign along with multiple other Republican candidates attacked Al Gore due to his ties to Russia.
On September 2 Bush gave his first speech regarding his policy on education stating that his administration would require states to test disadvantaged students and proposed stripping federal funds from the worst-scoring schools and allowing private schools to get public money. After campaigning in New Hampshire for months polling showed that Bush's numbers had risen eight percent since May from 37% to 45% while John McCain's fell two percent from 14% to 12% and was still behind Elizabeth Dole by three percent. Another poll at the time showed that Bush had increase his polling lead against Gore with 56% going to Bush and 39% going to Gore. After Larry Gene Ashbrook committed a church shooting at Fort Worth, Texas Bush cut his campaign activities to return to Texas where he stated that "there seems to be a wave of evil passing through America now, and we as a society can pass laws and hold people accountable for the decisions they make, but our hopes and prayers have got to be that there is more love in society," and six days later Bush announced a gun crimes initiative. On September 23 Bush was campaigning in South Carolina where he promised to renew a bond of trust between president and the military and attacked Bill Clinton for his endless and aimless deployments, which he promised to end. Five days later Bush would receive a major endorsement, the Governor of Arizona, Jane Dee Hull, chose to endorse Bush instead of Arizona's own Senator McCain.
The Bush campaign enjoyed two major successes in the beginning of October where the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, endorsed Bush and a few days later a Quinnipiac Poll showed that Bush was matching Gore in New York, but was lagging behind Bill Bradley. Despite his success in one New England state, Bush would refuse to participate in the New Hampshire forum, with his campaign stating that Bush will not participate in any debates before January. By late October the Bush campaign had released its first television commercial in both Iowa and New Hampshire one week after Al Gore released one attacking the Senate Republicans for rejecting the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. At the same time on the 20th the Bush campaign had announced that it was leading in the polls in every state.
After enjoying success after success in the previous months Bush was quizzed on his knowledge of foreign affairs on the fourth at WHDH-TV in Boston and he failed it with a score of 25%. Bush was asked to name the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan, Bush was only able to name Lee Teng-hui of Taiwan. More failures occurred as polls conducted by WNDS-TV and Franklin Pierce College showed that John McCain had risen in the polls with Bush falling from 45% to Bush and 12% to McCain in September to 38% for Bush and 30% for McCain. However, this was lessen when Bush was polling at 52% in Iowa, well ahead of second place Steve Forbes who had received 13%. Despite these setbacks Bush's war chest still made him untouchable by the rest of the Republican field except for multi-millionaire Steve Forbes.
Despite his campaign's previous statement that Bush would not appear in a debate before January, Bush participated in a New Hampshire forum on the second. Most of the Republican candidates attacked Bush except for John McCain who, despite being in a dead heat with Bush in New Hampshire, exchanged pleasantries. After the debate pundit Tucker Carlson said that "Bush cannot afford too many more episodes like this one" and that "if the Bush market does crash, John McCain is almost certain to be the beneficiary". At a debate in Phoenix Bush was considered the loser, helping not his opponents who had participated in the debate, but instead John McCain who had skipped the debate. During the previous months McCain had been focused on campaigning in New Hampshire while Bush was running a national campaign and by the ninth McCain had overtaken Bush and was leading him by seven points with 37%. After suffering from numerous failures during this month Bush was still able to receive the endorsement of Lamar Alexander, who had end his presidential campaign on August 16 after placing sixth place in the Iowa GOP straw poll on August 14. Another high point happened late in the month when Bush added another $10 million to his campaign warchest, reaching $67 million by the end of the year.
Campaign developments 2000
In early January Orrin Hatch attacked Bush's service as governor of Texas as it is a "constitutionally weak governorship". On January 24 Bush won both the Alaska and Iowa caucuses with 36.28% and 41.01% respectively and two days later Hatch ended his campaign and endorsed Bush, saying that I believe Governor Bush is the one who can unite the party and bring the White House back to us, months after his criticism that "Bush doesn't have the experience to be president and was born in privilege". After this victory many pundits predicted that Bush would easily take the nomination as he had received 40% of the vote in Iowa to McCain's, his main opponent, 5%. However, despite his success in Iowa some pundits were speculating that Bush could lose the primaries and made reference to the fact that his father had won the Iowa caucus against Ronald Reagan, but had lost the nomination.
As the New Hampshire primary results were reported Bush was very pleased when he won the first precinct counted in Dixville Notch. However, when the primary ended McCain had a eighteen point lead over Bush and he agreed that Tuesday's results were more of a beginning than an end. Despite this defeat Bush was still certain that South Carolina was Bush country. As the South Carolinian primary approached McCain overtook Bush in the polls by five points. McCain was focusing his efforts on South Carolina while Bush was divided between Delaware and South Carolina. Another poll taken from the fourth to fifth showed that McCain had a lead of four points with 44%, up from 32% in January, against Bush's 40%, down from 52% in January. Bush criticized McCain's campaign strategy stating that "if somebody runs for president of the United States, they need to run in all the states". On the eighth Bush won the Delaware primary with 50.73%, he hoped that this victory could be used to make him surge in the South Carolina polls which was to happen in eleven days. Two days later Steve Forbes announced that he was ending his campaign, but refused to endorse any of the candidates at that moment. Shortly before the primary a debate was held where both Bush and McCain attacked each other for negative campaigning, giving a small victory to minor candidate Alan Keyes. Since the New Hampshire primary Bush had been spending millions in South Carolina, with $2.8 million alone being used to buy television ads, and it was working, Bush had risen in the polls to 58% against McCain's 31%. On the nineteenth Bush won the South Carolinaian primary with 53.39% against McCain's 41.87%, however McCain wasn't defeated yet as his campaign still looked forward to the Michigan primary. On the twenty seconded McCain defeated Bush in both his home state of Arizona and Michigan with over 50%, allowing him to continue his campaign and gave him confidence while going into the March 7th primaries. Bush tried to salvage a victory from this defeat saying that "among Republicans and independents, there is no question who the winner is in Michigan tonight, and you're looking at him". At the end of the month Bush defeated McCain in three primaries, in Puerto Rico he took 94.21% of the vote, in Virginia he took 52.79% of the vote, in Washington he took a narrow victory with 48.26% of the vote against McCain's 47.98% and in the North Dakota caucus he took 75.72% of the vote.
Following his victory in Virginia TIME political correspondent John Dickerson stated that "This is a big win for Bush, if for no other reason than it helps him psychologically" however Jeff Greenfield stated that neither Bush nor McCain had the momentum to have a landslide victory. At a rally in Georgia attacked McCain for his claims of Bush's anti-Catholic bigotry stating that "I try not to take things personally in politics, but calling somebody an anti-Catholic bigot is beyond the reach," and that he had "a record of being inclusive in the state of Texas." On March 6 Bush said in a San Francisco Chronicle interview said that he welcomes support from gays and is willing to meet with members of LCR. Previously, during a November Meet the Press interview, Bush said he would probably not meet with them. Later on the 24th Ari Fleischer said that Bush wouldn't meet with the Log Cabin Republicans as they had supported McCain, but would meet with gay Republicans that had supported Bush. Shortly before Super Tuesday the McCain campaign attacked Bush for a series of negative ads attacking McCain's environmental record with McCain stating "We've got 48 hours and the message is do not let the Bush campaign and their cronies hijack this election with negative ads and $2.5 million in dirty money" at a rally in Buffalo and filed a complaint to the FEC demanding that the ads be halted until a disclaimer was attached. On Super Tuesday Bush won every primary and caucus except in Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts and following his victory stated ""I understand politics, this campaign hasn't been any rougher than others I have seen. Now, we have to get ready to win the White House." John Dickinson said that "It's just a matter of time now before he [John McCain] leaves the race" following as it was now mathematically impossible for John McCain to win the nomination, McCain would later suspended his campaign on the 9th. A poll conducted from March 8-9 showed that Gore was leading Bush by two points with 48%, but another poll conducted from March 10-12 showed Bush leading with 49% against Gore's 43%.
Primary campaign results
Total popular votes in Republican 2000 primaries:
- George W. Bush – 12,034,676 (62.0%)
- John McCain – 6,061,332 (31.2%)
- Alan Keyes – 985,819 (5.1%)
- Steve Forbes – 171,860 (0.9%)
- Unpledged – 61,246 (0.3%)
- Gary Bauer – 60,709 (0.3%)
- Orrin Hatch – 15,958 (0.1%)
- Feb 1 New Hampshire primary: McCain 115,606 (48.5%), Bush 72,330 (30.4%), Forbes 30,166 (12.7%), Keyes 15,179 (6.4%)
- Feb 19 South Carolina primary: Bush 305,998 (53.4%), McCain 239,964 (41.9%), Keyes 25,996 (4.5%)
- Feb 22 Arizona primary: McCain 193,708 (60.0%), Bush 115,115 (35.7%), Keyes 11,500 (3.6%)
- Feb 22 Michigan primary: McCain 650,805 (51.0%), Bush 549,665 (43.1%), Keyes 59,032 (4.6%)
- Feb 29 Virginia primary: Bush 350,588 (52.8%), McCain 291,488 (43.9%), Keyes 20,356 (3.1%)
- Feb 29 Washington primary: Bush 284,053 (57.8%), McCain 191,101 (38.9%), Keyes 11,753 (2.4%)
- Mar 7 California primary: Bush 1,725,162 (60.6%), McCain 988,706 (34.7%), Keyes 112,747 (4.0%)
- Mar 7 New York primary: Bush 1,102,850 (51.0%), McCain 937,655 (43.4%), Keyes 71,196 (3.3%), Forbes 49,817 (2.3%)
- Mar 7 Ohio primary: Bush 810,369 (58.0%), McCain 516,790 (37.0%), Keyes 55,266 (3.96%)
- Mar 7 Georgia primary: Bush 430,480 (66.9%), McCain 179,046 (27.8%), Keyes 29,640 (4.6%)
- Mar 7 Missouri primary: Bush 275,366 (57.9%), McCain 167,831 (35.3%), Keyes 27,282 (5.7%)
- Mar 7 Maryland primary: Bush 211,439 (56.2%), McCain 135,981 (36.2%), Keyes 25,020 (6.7%)
- Mar 7 Maine primary: Bush 49,308 (51.0%), McCain 42,510 (44.0%), Keyes 2,989 (3.1%), Uncommited 1,038 (1.1%)
- Mar 7 Massachusetts primary: McCain 325,297 (64.7%), Bush 159,826 (31.8%), Keyes 12,656 (2.5%)
- Mar 7 Vermont primary: McCain 49,045 (60.3%), Bush 28,741 (35.3%), Keyes 2,164 (2.7%)
- Mar 7 Rhode Island primary: McCain 21,754 (60.2%), Bush 13,170 (36.4%), Keyes 923 (2.6%)
- Mar 7 Connecticut primary: McCain 87,176 (48.7%), Bush 82,881 (46.3%), Keyes 5,913 (3.3%)
General election results
Total popular votes in United States presidential election, 2000:
- George W. Bush/Dick Cheney (R) – 50,462,412 (47.87%) EV: 271
- Al Gore/Joe Lieberman (D) – 50,999,897 (48.38%) EV: 266
- Ralph Nader/Winona LaDuke (G) – 2,882,955 (2.74%) EV: 0
- Pat Buchanan/Ezola B. Foster (RF) – 448,895 (0.43%) EV: 0
- Harry Browne/Art Olivier (L) – 384,431 (0.36%) EV: 0
- Howard Phillips/Curtis Frazier (C) – 98,020 (0.09%) EV: 0
- John Hagelin/Nat Goldhaber (NL) – 83,714 (0.08%) EV: 0
- Other – 51,186 (0.05%) EV: 0
- Compassionate Conservatism: The Bush campaign made extensive use of the "Compassionate conservatism" concept, based in large part on a book by Marvin Olasky of the same name, with a Foreword by then-governor Bush.
(thousands of dollars)
- Foreign Affairs: Bush promised a humble foreign policy with no nation building. He had criticized the Clinton-Gore Administration for being too interventionist: "If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I'm going to prevent that."
- Economy: Bush promised tax breaks for all, sometimes using the slogan "Whoever pays taxes gets a tax break." The rich pay the most taxes, and the current system weighs the income tax against the upper income brackets. Bush also supported raising the Earned Income Tax Credit, which would primarily benefit the lower brackets of income-tax-affected citizens.
- His 2003 tax proposal offers a sweeping package of tax cuts and incentives that would eliminate all federal taxes on stock dividends, quick tax relief for married couples and a $400 per child increase in the tax credit for families with children. Economists are divided on the effectiveness of Bush's proposals for helping the economy. John Leonard, the chief of North American equities for UBS Global Asset Management, said eliminating the dividends tax would spur the economy by sending more money into the economy; on the other hand, other economists, including Allen Sinai of Decision Economics and Andrew F. Brimmer, a former Federal Reserve Board member who heads a consulting firm, argued that the dividends tax cut would be largely ineffective. The administration's proposal would also lower taxes for small business owners by expanding the amount of equipment purchases they can write off as deductions from the current $25,000 to $75,000. Opponents argue that this tax proposal would primarily benefit the rich. According to a New York Times analysis published on January 21, 2003, $364 billion out of the $674 billion "economic stimulus" plan is devoted towards eliminating the tax on dividends; however, the poorest fifth of Americans have an average of $25 in dividend income, while the richest fifth have $1,188. The Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center produced the following table describing the impact of Bush's plan on average taxpayers:
- Education: policy named No Child Left Behind, includes mandatory national testing and some support for school vouchers.
- The No Child Left Behind Act provides increased funding for schools, while requiring greater accountability for results. It gives parents the option to transfer their children to another school, if the current school is failing. It requires teachers to have a degree specific to the subject they are teaching, which had not been federally required in the past. It also makes high school academic records available to military recruiters.
- Energy: The Bush campaign supports a comprehensive energy reform bill which includes initiatives for energy conserving technologies as well as decreasing the foreign dependence on oil through increased domestic production and the use of non-fossil fuel based energy production methods.
- Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and other domestic fields would decrease dependence on oil imports, particularly from the Middle East. However, many environmentalists hold that it will produce such small amounts of petroleum as to be effectively useless and will needlessly harm the environment.
- Opponents of such drilling recommend alternate courses of action such as to complete research on and implement as a matter of urgency alternative, safe and renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind and tidal power - but not nuclear. Although perhaps requiring greater initial investment, in the long run these are now accepted by many informed environmentalists and scientists as being the most viable alternative to what they see as the vigorously anti-environmental approaches of the Bush administration.
- Supporters of drilling in ANWR argue that the Administration has agreed to a number of measures to minimize the impact of drilling on the Arctic environment. For example, roadways would be constructed of ice that would melt in the spring, when activity on the roads would cease. Also, supporters say that the total surface disturbance due to drilling would be limited to not more than 2,000 acres (8 km²).
Because of the Bush Administration's close connections with numerous energy companies, many of Bush's Cabinet members have come under immense scrutiny from environmental groups, in particular J. Steven Griles, the deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior. National Environmental Strategies (NES), the oil and gas lobbying firm which Griles worked for, was paying him $284,000 a year as part of a $1.1 million payout for his client base. As deputy secretary of the Interior, Griles was charged with overseeing and revamping environmental regulations that affect the profits of his former clients and NES’s current clients.
- Redesign of military with emphasis on supermodern hardware, flexible tactics, speed, less international deployment, fewer troops. This includes developing a system to defend against ballistic missile attacks, despite strong objections both domestically and internationally. Many commentators were critical of Bush when, in his very first policy statement after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Bush reiterated his intent to place missile attack intervention highest on his list of priorities (despite the fact that no such system could have prevented the type of sneak attack the country had really, not theoretically, experienced). However, other commentators have endorsed Bush's position, noting, for example, the continuing development of long-range missile technology by North Korea, along with that country's threats to resume its nuclear weapons program.
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