What Was George W. Bush's Daily Routine When He Was President?

No president is the same no matter what political party they are affiliated with and former President George W. Bush certainly had his unique traits and his own way of doing things during his eight years as leader of the free world. As the son of George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, Bush 43, as he eventually became known, came to the presidency through both name recognition and time spent as governor of Texas before announcing his entry into the 2000 Republican primary field.

Like his father before him, Bush faced several challenges as president — maybe even more so. Both presided over U.S. military action in Iraq, but Bush 43 also had to deal with a terrorist attack on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001, as well as a disastrous hurricane response when Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 during his second term (via Biography). But Bush also had a way to get through it all on a daily basis and that was a rigid White House routine that started at the crack of dawn and ended in the early evening.

An early-morning wake up helped set the agenda for George W. Bush's presidential day

When the clock struck 5 a.m., George W. Bush was awake and ready to start his day, according to Balance the Grind. Within two hours, he was situated in the Oval Office and expected to get down to the business of running a country.

"I go to work a little before 7 a.m., and I expect everybody to show up on time when I have a meeting," Bush told Runner's World. Former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told The New York Times what Bush was up to when much of the country was either still asleep or first waking up. "Mr. Bush has always been an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of guy, and he typically arrives at the Oval Office by 6:45 a.m...for briefings from his national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, and chief of staff, Joshua B. Bolten. He holds regular secure video-conferences with various world leaders, among them the president of Afghanistan and the prime minister of Iraq." (via Balance the Grind).

George W. Bush took some downtime to exercise

An avid runner for decades, the former president wasn't about to give up that part of his life just because he was the president of the United States. Instead, he made exercise a large part of his daily routine and took a midday break to either jog or cycle, according to Balance the Grind. As he told Runner's World, even when he was on the road or in the air, he made sure to get in a workout.

"There's never a question in my mind that I'll exercise," Bush said. "Even when I travel, there's always a treadmill in my room. I have a treadmill on Air Force One. On long trips — for example, when I went to Europe recently — I ran for 90 minutes on the flight over there. When I came back from China, I ran on the flight. Usually I run 6 days a week. When I don't run, I use an elliptical trainer, lift weights, and stretch. But when I run, I run hard."

The former president always had a busy afternoon

After making sure to get his workout in, George W. Bush was punctual for lunch, often dining with his vice president, Dick Cheney, or his often-colorful and controversial political strategist, Karl Rove. Again, Bush expected everyone to be there when he wanted them — and attributed his rigid schedule to the discipline he learned from running.

"I'm a person who believes in punctuality. That's a discipline. I expect the White House staff to be on time and sharp and to exercise. And in my case, running helps me keep that discipline," he told Runner's World.

By 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m., Bush was ready to wrap up his regular work day, according to The Baltimore Sun. As his former gubernatorial aides from Texas told the outlet, "We could tell if he hadn't gotten eight hours of sleep. He wasn't as sharp," his former Texas legislative director Teral Smith said. "He'd be in a press conference, and it was clear he wasn't thinking as quickly. It affects his quickness."