Conga lines, chainsaws and a call to war: New book by White House photographer offers never-before-seen pictures of George W Bush's controversial presidency

By Ashley Collman

|

By the time he left office in January 2009, George W Bush was not the most liked president in history. But many would agree that his was one of the most historically important White House tenures. 

Eight months after assuming office in January 2001, 9/11 happened which would set the course for the rest of his presidency

New book 'Front Row Seat: A Photographic Portrait of the Presidency of George W Bush' provides a never before seen look into the life of the controversial president during his eight years in office.

Over his two terms as leader of the free world, Mr Bush would take the nation into two conflicts in the Middle East, while dealing with a financial crisis at home and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

'Front Row Seat' was edited down to 240 pages of images from White House photographer Eric Draper's more than one million photographs from the Bush II years.

The pictures taken by Draper, the longest-serving White House photographer, show Mr Bush both at work with his inner circle of advisers and also in his private downtime with wife Laura and at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Russian relations: President Bush on a phone call in the Oval Office with Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 24, 2003

Russian relations: President Bush on a phone call in the Oval Office with Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 24, 2003

Vantage point: 'Front Row Seat' offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Bush II president as documented by White House photographer Eric Draper

Vantage point: 'Front Row Seat' offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Bush II president as documented by White House photographer Eric Draper

Sense of humor: Mr Bush proves he can laugh at himself as he watches a Saturday Night Live video on an aide's computer in the Outer Oval Office with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (left) and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (right)

Sense of humor: Mr Bush proves he can laugh at himself as he watches a Saturday Night Live video on an aide's computer in the Outer Oval Office with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (left) and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (right)

Legacy: President Bush sits on the Resolute Desk while chatting with his father, former President George HW Bush, during a visit on May 2, 2001

Legacy: President Bush sits on the Resolute Desk while chatting with his father, former President George HW Bush, during a visit on May 2, 2001

Going home: President Bush rests on his mother and former first-lady Barbara Bush's shoulder as he travels back to Texas at the end of his presidency on January 20, 2009

Going home: President Bush rests on his mother and former first-lady Barbara Bush's shoulder as he travels back to Texas at the end of his presidency on January 20, 2009

Power couples: President Bush and first lady Laura meet with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh

Power couples: President Bush and first lady Laura meet with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh

Letting loose: Bush family matron Barbara is the third in a celebratory conga line held after her son won re-election in 2004. Pictured with Doro Koch (left), Marvin Bush (second left) and Sam LeBlond (right)

Letting loose: Bush family matron Barbara is the third in a celebratory conga line held after her son won re-election in 2004. Pictured with Doro Koch (left), Marvin Bush (second left) and Sam LeBlond (right)

Dark times: President Bush is pictured walking back to the White House after addressing the nation from the West Wing on the fifth year anniversary of the September 11 attacks

Dark times: President Bush is pictured walking back to the White House after addressing the nation from the West Wing on the fifth year anniversary of the September 11 attacks

Perks of the job: Rock star Bono, frontman of U2, joins the president for lunch on October 19, 2005

Perks of the job: Rock star Bono, frontman of U2, joins the president for lunch on October 19, 2005

Hug of relief: Mr and Mrs Bush embrace as he's re-elected president on election night, November 3, 2004

Hug of relief: Mr and Mrs Bush embrace as he's re-elected president on election night, November 3, 2004

Who's taller? President Bush and Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stand back to back to compare heights at a dinner on January 9, 2008

Who's taller? President Bush and Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stand back to back to compare heights at a dinner on January 9, 2008

Sad day: First lady Laura Bush listens as her husband discusses the terrorist attacks with advisers on September 11, 2001

Sad day: First lady Laura Bush listens as her husband discusses the terrorist attacks with advisers on September 11, 2001

Great minds dress alike: President Bush slings an arm around Legislative Affairs Assistant Nick Calio after addressing the Democratic Caucus at the Capitol on December 19, 2001

Great minds dress alike: President Bush slings an arm around Legislative Affairs Assistant Nick Calio after addressing the Democratic Caucus at the Capitol on December 19, 2001

Cheney chat: Mr Bush speaks with his vice president in the back of the presidential limousine on a ride to the Pentagon on August 1, 2001

Cheney chat: Mr Bush speaks with his vice president in the back of the presidential limousine on a ride to the Pentagon on August 1, 2001

Competitive: President Bush looks like he just lost this round of bowling, held with family members on Christmas Day at Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland

Competitive: President Bush looks like he just lost this round of bowling, held with family members on Christmas Day at Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland

Alone time: Mr Bush quietly reads the day's papers while on vacation at his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas

Alone time: Mr Bush quietly reads the day's papers while on vacation at his Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas

Monumental: A crowd in Albania rushes to touch Mr Bush during the first visit to the country by an American president

Monumental: A crowd in Albania rushes to touch Mr Bush during the first visit to the country by an American president

Call to war: President Bush addresses the nation on October 7, 2001 as the U.S. military conducts airstrikes in Afghanistan

Call to war: President Bush addresses the nation on October 7, 2001 as the U.S. military conducts airstrikes in Afghanistan

Cowboy president: The presidential seal adorns Mr Bush's chainsaw as he clears brush at the family ranch in Crawford, Texas

Cowboy president: The presidential seal adorns Mr Bush's chainsaw as he clears brush at the family ranch in Crawford, Texas

Quick reaction: Mr Bush discusses flying back to Washington from Florida aboard Air Force One after hearing of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001

Quick reaction: Mr Bush discusses flying back to Washington from Florida aboard Air Force One after hearing of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001

Secret mission: President Bush boards Air Force One bound for a secret trip to Iraq on June 12, 2006

Secret mission: President Bush boards Air Force One bound for a secret trip to Iraq on June 12, 2006

The comments below have not been moderated.

Love, love, LOVE the Bush family! Boy, are they missed.

7
39
Click to rate

Yeah....What I wouldn't give for a couple of decent multi trillion dollar wars and a completely collapsed economy....Those were the days!

10
4
Click to rate

You would never see Obama holding a chain saw. He has never done an actual days work in his life. He is an elitist who is only in office for the notoriety and celebrity status.

7
57
Click to rate

2 of 4 repliesSee all replies

The fact that you can defend the idiot currently destroying our nation, after this week in particular, is proof you are one of the sheep incapable of thinking for yourself.

3
24
Click to rate

More fake Right Wing Scandals...."Oh...People are LOSING their INSURANCE"...There's probably about a couple dozen of them Pi$$ed about it total. Maybe I'm wrong, but after the whole Benghazi, IRS, Phone Tap...etc etc fake scandals, I'm getting fake, right wing, scandal fatigue. Our system was irretrievably broken and the Republican solution was to do nothing and watch as a quarter of Americans faced economic Armageddon at the first health hiccup in their families. Sorry...not for me. Some people are going to be inconvenienced, how is it possible not to have that when you're dealing with 300 million people. And for sure the Republicans will sniff out each and every one of them. We can't go on the way we have been, and that's the simple truth. Obamacare is here to stay...we'll work to fix the problems...and Republicans are welcome to sit on the sidelines where you've always been able to find them and where...quite frankly...they belong.

9
0
Click to rate

He was & still is an idiot. He seems to have been the worst president EVER. He starts one war then another and lies about everything.

61
10
Click to rate

The current one is not any better. He would have started one too if he wasn't slapped down by Putin, of all people!!!

1
33
Click to rate

I guess you like the lying communist in office now better?

1
28
Click to rate

No matter what you republicans trolls rant on about, 9/11 was under Duyba Bush's watch not President Obama's period.

46
11
Click to rate

..because clinton chose not to eliminate him when he had the chance.

4
29
Click to rate

Clinton had all the intel on 9/11 but was more concerned about when he was going to get his next nonsexual BJ.

3
15
Click to rate

George W Bush, the Original Village Idiot who destroyed the US. He destroy us Financially (Clinton left him a Surplus and he left us $11 Trillion in Debt), he destroy our standing around the World (Afghanistan and Iraq - the War for Oil), he handed out Tax Cuts to the top 2% for 10 years that cost the American Tax Payer another Trillion. Our Schools, Roads, Bridges are dilapidated while 8 Million lost their Jobs, 50,000 American Factories closed with 401K's crashing during the biggest Recession since the Great Depression. It's going to take more than 5 years to clean up the mess left by Bush - Obama is doing his best but the GOP rather likes destroying Democracy - they've made Money off of it - in fact Billions!

84
14
Click to rate

I love this family. They're classy, diplomatic, down-to-earth, humble, witty,animal-loving people. When GW addressed the world in NYC on 9-11 it made me cry. He's a genuine person warts and all; a caring person. You don't have to be a genius to be good president--you have to be credible and a strong leader. I'm proud to have had the Bushes as my president. The phony who occupies the oval office today...not so much.

11
83
Click to rate

Thank God for President Obama for finally getting that idiot King George Bush out! The last picture is the best. Bye bye Georgie Porgie.

111
19
Click to rate

Obama got Bush out of office? Unless I am mistaken, President George W. Bush could not have run for a third term. Did you skip all your history classes?

0
2
Click to rate

Just got to finishing Jeremy Scahill's book Dirty Wars. I highly recommend it to you guys, it is SHOCKING what Chaney and Rumsfeld labored to enact - only for Obama to perfect. Bush earned his hatred but the real puppet masters got off scot free and it is sickening. Obama has A LOT to answer for and so do Cheney and Rumsfeld.

34
13
Click to rate

2 of 3 repliesSee all replies

annie w. Bush was a Pawn a tool, a means to an end. Rumsfeld and Cheney both had DECADES of connections, worked under numerous administrations and working in Washington - they had all the cards. They set up the policy, they were the two with the vision of where they wanted America's military to be - an the power of the COC. They factually wanted a dictatorship inside the US of A. These are just tidbits of the level of insanity those two men aspired for. Bush was never in charge he was the puppet. Rumsfeld and Chaney were the two really in charge.

25
8
Click to rate

Obama has taken every-single- Bush administration policy and perfected it. Every last one. Name ONE act he got rid of, name ONE measure he annulled, name ONE military action he has denied. Every single policy the Bush administration aspired to enact Obama has done so. Just READ Dirty Wars and make up your own mind.

12
14
Click to rate

George W Bush made us the laughing stock of the world.They can't believe he was elected to office twice and neither can i .Don't miss him at all. kindwoman60 greenville sc

94
16
Click to rate

Now we have the village idiot who has proved to be just what he is - an affirmative action loser who thinks he is entitled.

5
64
Click to rate

WOW!! Get out often? it's obama who's made us a laughing stock. Recently, my husband and I went to the Caymans and every single person we met and talked to told us what a joke obama is. Every single one said that they used to respect the USA, but now it's just a joke! And, not a good one! They all see what a lying son of a b---ch obama is. And, this was information that they volunteered! We DID NOT ask them! He (obama) is pathetic. The absolute worst president EVER!

2
36
Click to rate

History will Judge him right and no man should point a finger at Bush. I'm a democrat but when i think of Benghazi ...............I'LL pass on that one for now. Red arrow me all you want.

13
89
Click to rate

Whatever the truth of Benghazi, how can it possibly compare to Bush and Cheney and September 11?

60
10
Click to rate

Benghazi has turned out to be NOTHING but hot air coming from the Right Wing who has nothing else to complain about.

59
5
Click to rate

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now