"The biggest advantage and the biggest handicap I have," George W. Bush frankly admitted, "is my name." The grandson of a United States senator and the eldest son of a president, Bush was a popular governor of Texas who worked successfully with both Republicans and Democrats. In 2000, in an election so close that it required the intervention of the Supreme Court, Bush defeated Al Gore, the vice president during the previous administration. Expecting that the success of his presidency would hinge, as it had when he was governor, on his negotiating skills and ability to solve problems, Bush found his two terms in office instead marked by a series of cataclysmic events: the attacks on September 11, 2001; the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina; and a financial crisis during his last months in office.
The White House selected Robert Anderson, a Connecticut portraitist and a Yale classmate of the president, to create this painting for the National Portrait Gallery.