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Presidency Upstaged

The Public Leadership of George H. W. Bush

Lori Cox Han

Publication Year: 2011

A president who distances himself from stagecraft will find himself upstaged.   George H. W. Bush sought to “stay the course” in terms of policy while distancing himself from the public relations strategies employed during the administration of Ronald Reagan, his predecessor. But Bush discovered during his one-term presidency that a strategy of policy continuity coupled with mediocre communication skills “does not make for a strong public image as an effective and active leader in the White House", as author and scholar Lori Cox Han demonstrates in A Presidency Upstaged.   Incorporating extensive archival research from the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University—including documents only recently available through requests made under the Freedom of Information Act—Han thoroughly examines the public presidency of George H. W. Bush. Han analyzes how communication strategies, relationships with the press, and public opinion polling shaped and defined his image as a leader. The research for this study also includes content analysis of press coverage (both print and television) and major public addresses during the Bush administration.   "Lori Cox Han skillfully uses archival materials, interviews and leading academic studies to present a thorough analysis of George H.W. Bush's public presidency. Her book is a valuable addition to the literature on presidential communications, media, and politics, and also stands as a very useful resource on the events of the first Bush presidency."-Mark Rozell, professor of Public Policy, George Mason University and author, Power and Prudence

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

My interest in this topic, as well as the research and writing for this book, has spanned several years. I first began working on this project in 2001 while still an assistant professor at Austin College. My goal was to take a closer look at the public aspects of the George H. W. Bush presidency to gain a better understanding of the role that public leadership plays in the ...

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Chapter 1. Introduction: George H. W. Bush and the Public Presidency

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pp. 1-13

When Pres. George H. W. Bush left office in January 1993, much was left to be determined about his legacy. Presidential legacies are often built not only on issues of substance, such as domestic, economic, and foreign policy achievements, but also on issues of style, such as a president’s approval ratings and ability to connect with the American public. As Ronald ...

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Chapter 2. Internal Factors: Process and Strategy in the Bush White House

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pp. 14-47

The public strategy of the George H. W. Bush administration, particularly that with the press, can be summed up as more access, more information, less image manipulation. Bush wanted to develop a strong and substantive relationship with the press, especially in providing more real interaction between him and the White House press corps than during the previous ...

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Chapter 3. External Factors: The News Media and Public Opinion

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pp. 48-82

By the time he left the White House in January 1993, George H. W. Bush seemed happy to leave the national press behind as he embarked on his post-presidential years. Having followed the “Great Communicator” in the White House, and then having lost his reelection bid to the first president born in the television age, the public aspects of the Bush presidency had ...

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Chapter 4. Bush’s Major Public Addresses: The Inaugural and State of the Union Addresses

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pp. 83-143

The significance of symbolism and ritual to the U.S. presidency cannot be overstated. In recent decades, as technology has continued to expand the myriad opportunities for presidents to communicate with and be seen by citizens (U.S. and global alike), the image of the president as a national leader and the presidency as a powerful institution is perhaps ...

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Chapter 5. Bush’s Public Activities: Major Policy Addresses

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pp. 144-194

Presidents now rely heavily on public events as an essential component of governing in a media-saturated political environment. A steady increase has occurred in the number of public events, particularly the use of major policy addresses, since the start of the 1980s. This can be attributed to the influence and expansion of television coverage, changes in the political ...

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Chapter 6. Conclusion: The Public Legacy of George H. W. Bush

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pp. 195-206

On December 15, 1992, just thirty-six days before he would leave office, George Bush delivered an address on the foreign policy accomplishments of his administration. In the speech, what could be considered the closest thing to a farewell address that he would deliver after losing his reelection bid in November 1992, Bush talked about his vision for a new world ...

Notes

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pp. 207-228

Bibliography

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pp. 229-234

Index

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pp. 235-242

Other titles in the Joseph V. Hughes Jr. and Holly O. Hughes Series on the Presidency and Leadership:

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p. 243-243


E-ISBN-13: 9781603444842
E-ISBN-10: 160344484X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603442206
Print-ISBN-10: 1603442200

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: Figure. 5 tables. Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Joseph V. Hughes Jr. and Holly O. Hughes Series on the Presidency and Leadership

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Subject Headings

  • Political leadership -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Press and politics -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Public relations and politics -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Bush, George, 1924- -- Relations with journalists.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1989-1993.
  • Presidents -- United States -- Messages.
  • Mass media -- Political aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Public opinion -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Bush, George, 1924- -- Public opinion.
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