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Bush's Legacy

George W. Bush entered the White House after one of the closest and most contested elections in U.S. history. The two-term president served during some of the nation’s most turbulent times. Take a look at the pivotal images from George W. Bush’s presidency.

 / Updated 31 PHOTOS

George W. Bush

Presidential hopeful George W. Bush waves to a crowd of supporters gathered in Kentucky on July 29, 2000. Bush lost the New Hampshire primary to Sen. John McCain but rebounded to claim the Republican nomination for president in 2000.

Timothy A. Clary / AFP
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Ballot recount

Broward County, Fla. canvassing board member Judge Robert Rosenberg uses a magnifying glass to examine a disputed ballot cast during the 2000 election. A ballot recount was ordered in parts of Florida following voting machine errors. Both Al Gore and the Florida Supreme Court ordered a recount to determine a winner. For 36 days after the election, the results in Florida remained in doubt, and so did the winner of the presidency. Bush emerged victorious when the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 ruling, put an end to the ballot counting.

Alan Diaz / AP
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Bush wins in 2000

George W. Bush takes the presidential oath of office on Jan. 20, 2001. The president's daughters Jenna and Barbara stand at his side along with their mother Laura. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore are seen standing on the right.

Doug Mills / AP
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Terror strikes on 9/11

President Bush stands with firefighter Bob Beck at the World Trade Center in New York, three days after the 9/11 attacks.

Doug Mills / AP
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Troops sent to Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld watches television as President Bush announces that U.S. troops are engaging terrorists in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001. Bush sent troops into Afghanistan to hunt for Osama bin Laden and other terrorists linked to the 9/11 attacks.

David Hume Kennerly / Getty Images North America
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Wanted: Dead or alive

Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahri are seen at an undisclosed location in this television image broadcast on Oct. 7, 2001. Bin Laden praised God for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. In the days following the attack, President Bush named bin Laden the prime suspect in the 9/11 attacks.

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U.S. detains suspects

U.S. Military Police guard detainees in orange jumpsuits on Jan. 11, 2002 in a holding area at Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The legality of holding suspected terrorists indefinitely at the Guantanamo Bay facility has become a lightning rod of controversy. More than 750 detainees have been held there since 2001.

U.s. Navy / Getty Images North America
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Bush declares an 'axis of evil'

In his first State of the Union address, President Bush declares that an 'axis of evil' consisting of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq was 'arming to threaten the peace of the world.'

Paul J .Richards / AFP
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Strong allies

President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair deliver statements to the media at Camp David on Sept. 7, 2002. Blair was an ally to Bush and supported his decision to intervene in Iraq.

Paul J. Richards / AFP
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Powell addresses the U.N.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell addresses a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 14, 2003. Powell was tasked with presenting evidence that Iraq was harboring weapons of mass destruction in order to get a U.N. resolution authorizing the use of military force.

Kathy Willens / AP
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Baghdad falls

Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad on April 9, 2003. The statue fell more than two weeks after U.S. forces invaded Iraq and started a hunt for Saddam Hussein.

Jerome Delay / AP
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Mission accomplished?

On May 1, 2003, President Bush declared the end of major combat in Iraq aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP
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Torture at Abu Ghraib

This photo taken in late 2003 shows an unidentified detainee standing on a box with a bag on his head and wires attached to him at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Accounts of abuse and torture of prisoners at the U.S.-run prison came to the public's attention in 2004. Seventeen soldiers and officers were removed from duty and seven were sent to prison for the treatment of prisons at Abu Ghriab.

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Bush, Kerry debate

President George W. Bush and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry face off during the second presidential debate at Washington University on Oct. 8, 2004. Bush defeated Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.

Mario Tama / Getty Images North America
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Voting in Iraq

A woman displays her ink-stained finger after voting in Iraq on Jan. 30, 2005. The 2005 vote was the first free, democratic election to be held in Iraq in 50 years.

Chris Hondros / Getty Images North America
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Bush's boys

From left, Press Secretary Scott McClellan, political strategist Karl Rove, Vice President Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, White House communications director Dan Bartlett and Vice President Dick Cheney listen to the president deliver a speech in the Rose Garden on July 1, 2005. Since this photo was taken, McClellan has stepped down, Rove left his post and Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying in the investigation of the leaking of a CIA operative's name.

Stephen Crowley / NYTNS
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Saddam on trial

Saddam Hussein addresses the court during his trial in Baghdad, Iraq Thursday Dec. 22, 2005. Saddam and his co-defendants are charged with ordering the killing of more than 140 Shiite men in the town of Dujail, following an assasination attempt on Saddam in July 1982. (AP Photo/John Moore, Pool)

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Hurricane Katrina

In this photo taken on Aug. 30, 2005, a victim of Hurricane Katrina is evacuated by helicopter over the devastation caused by the high winds and heavy flooding in the greater New Orleans area. President Bush was sharply criticized for what some called his lethargic response to the natural disaster.

Vincent Laforet / THE NEW YORK TIMES
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No Child Left Behind

President Bush delivers a speech on education at an elementary school outside of Baltimore on Jan. 9, 2006. The 'No Child Left Behind Act' was aimed at closing the achievement gap between low-income students and their richer counterparts. It was one of the big tenets of Bush's domestic agenda and was signed into law in early 2002.

Evan Vucci / AP
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New Supreme Court

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts walk down the steps of the court house on Feb. 16, 2006. President Bush initially nominated Roberts to replace the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor, but when Chief Justice William Rehnquist died, Bush withdrew that nomination and nominated Roberts to be Chief Justice. The president then nominated Alito to fill O'Connor's seat.

Alex Wong / Getty Images North America
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Bush in India

The president is surrounded by Indian women after watching a women's discussion group in Hyderabad, India on March 3, 2006. Bush made a three-day visit to India to renew ties with the nuclear nation.

Mandel Ngan / AFP
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Prescription drug reform

Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt points to a laptop computer screen as President Bush watches volunteers and seniors use the internet to sign up for prescription drugs. Bush's program provides prescription drug benefits to Medicare recipients through private insurance companies.

Paul J. Richards / AFP
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Talks with Pakistan and Afghanistan

President Bush appears with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the Rose Garden on Sept. 27, 2006. The trio met to discuss cross-border relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mandel Ngan / AFP
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Gonzales resigns

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announces his resignation during a news conference at the Justice Department on Aug. 27, 2007. Gonzales stepped down amid controversy over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

Jim Bourg / X90054
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Rice talks Mideast peace

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erek at the White House on Nov. 28, 2007. Bush invited the two leaders to Washington to initiate a new round of peace negotiations.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images North America
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Border fence

A metal fence forms a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. The fence was a result of the Secure Fence Act, calling for 698 miles of border fences to try to keep illegal immigrants from entering the U.S. Critics argue that extensive fencing damages fragile desert environments and divides border neighborhoods.

David Mcnew / Getty Images North America
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Kyoto protests

Thousands of climate change protestors march toward the U.S. Embassy in London on Dec. 8, 2007. Mass demonstrations have occurred worldwide since President Bush opposed signing the Kyoto Protocol which seeks to impose mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Andy Rain / EPA
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U.S.-Russian relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Bush talk during a bilateral meeting at Putin's summer retreat in Sochi, Russia on April 6, 2008.

Epsilon / Getty Images Europe
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Economy in crisis

The president walks alongside Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Christopher Cox and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson prior to a speech on the economy on Sept. 19, 2008. The president called together his economic team to discuss a weakening economy and a global financial crisis.

Saul Loeb / AFP
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Hail and farewell

The president hugs first lady Laura Bush as he gives an emotional wave of appreciation after speaking on the transition to administration employees on Nov. 6, 2008, on the South Lawn of the White House.

Paul J. Richards / AFP
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Changing of the guard

President George W. Bush,first lady Laura Bush, Michele Obama and president-elect Barack Obama stand outside the White House on Nov. 10, 2008. Obama visited the White House at the invitation of Bush ahead of his Jan. 20, 2009 inauguration.

Tim Sloan / AFP
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