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George W. Bush is Profiled in New Documentary

One of the most polarizing presidents in recent memory — George W. Bush is featured in a new documentary from the PBS series “The American Experience”.

Bush is the latest subject in the award-winning series of presidential biographies by “The American Experience”. The two-part documentary promises to look at the life and presidency of the forty-third president of the U.S.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Bush sparked a new era of political divisiveness in the U.S. After all, it was only 11 years ago that he left office — but the political climate then already seems quaint compared to now.

Although recent, his presidency saw several historic events that shaped the nation: the controversial election in 2000 that led to his presidency, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Iraq War, and the 2008 financial crisis.

On his personal life, the film explores Bush’s checkered past: the wild days of his youth where he underperformed in school, as well as his relationship with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, who allegedly overlooked his son’s political potential.

Each episode is two hours long, and will feature interviews with many key figures who worked in the Bush administration, including chiefs of staff Andy Card and Joshua Bolten, press secretary Ari Fleischer, Rove and others.

Some reviews, however, scrutinized the film for leaving key issues out, such accusations of “smear tactics” by Bush political strategist Karl Rove during the 2000 Republican primary against John McCain, or Bush’s life and legacy after he left office.

Four hours is certainly a limited amount of time to cover eight years of a divisive presidency and the life of the man behind it though.

After his controversial victory in the 2000 election, his War on Terror after 9/11, and the divisive Iraq War in 2003, it was inevitable that Bush had a contentious legacy with the American public. His presidency has often been rated as one of the worst in polls by historians and citizens, although his favorability ratings have improved since leaving office. Keeping a low profile since, his status as a polarizing political figure is certainly eclipsed by the current presidency now.

“The American Experience” premiered on PBS in 1988, focusing on important or interesting events and people in American history. It has won several awards, including the Peabody and Emmy.

The documentary airs on PBS May 4 and 5 at 9 p.m. Episodes can also be viewed online here.


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