The Two Records That George W. Bush Still Holds

George W. Bush came into the presidency in an unusual way. On Nov. 7, 2000, the race for president of the United States between Bush and Al Gore, who was still serving as the vice president under Bill Clinton at the time, was too close to call — all thanks to the state of Florida. It took weeks of recounting and court battles for a winner to finally be called after the Supreme Court ruled that the Florida recounting needed to stop, giving the presidency to Bush. When the famous Bush vs. Gore decision came, Gore accepted the peaceful transfer of power like all presidents had before him and finally conceded on Dec. 13, 2000 (via

When Bush's presidency came to an end after two terms on Jan. 20, 2009, and Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president and first African-American president of the United States, the outgoing president was leaving with two unusual records under his belt — and a dozen years later, as of this writing, he still holds these two records.

George W. Bush reached the height of his popularity very early on

There are popular presidents, and then there are unpopular presidents — and George W. Bush was both, holding the records for both the highest approval rating and the lowest approval rating of any U.S. president, according to

While Democrats were furious that the Supreme Court seemed to hand him the presidency when he first took office, something happened to change the world that caused him to hold the record for the highest presidential approval rating in American history. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred, with two planes hitting Manhattan's Twin Towers, also known as the World Trade Center. However, Americans from both parties rallied around patriotism at the time, as well as their leader, pushing Bush's approval rating to 85% just after the 9/11 attacks, according to Pew Research.

However, eight years as president took quite a toll on Bush's approval rating, which hit around 75% when the war in Iraq began. His approval rating was still fairly high when Bush announced "Mission Accomplished" after Saddam Hussein was captured (via Pew), but an event early into his second term caused things to go downhill from there.

George W. Bush couldn't hold onto the country's love

George W. Bush managed to defeat Democrat John Kerry in another very narrow election in 2004 and went onto a second term as president. However, it was around nine months into his second term that another tragedy hit the country, just as it had around nine months into his first term. Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2005, flooding New Orleans when the city's levees broke. Americans were literally drowning, with 1,800 lives lost, according to Britannica.

However, the president seemed unconcerned, and, soon after the storm made landfall, Bush attended an Avian flu conference in Atlanta rather than attend to the human tragedy and natural disaster that was unfolding in Louisiana. Bush was skewered by the media for not sending in the help that was immediately needed, and his approval rating quickly dipped to 41%, according to Vanity Fair

His approval rating never quite recovered after that. By the end of his presidency, in 2008, the United States experienced a financial crisis that called on Congress and his administration to bail out big banks, making Bush an unpopular president, indeed. When he left office, his approval rating was historically low when it fell below 25% (via Pew Research), a number no president has seen since.