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Becoming President: The Bush Transition, 2000-2003

John P. Burke
Becoming President: The Bush Transition, 2000-2003
ISBN: 978-1-58826-292-9
2004/251 pages/LC: 2004001255

"Highly recommended."—Choice

"Kudos to Professor Burke. Becoming President is well-written, well-organized, and thoroughly researched; it will become one of the key works on the Bush administration."—Shirley Anne Warshaw, Gettysburg College

"Becoming President provides a texture and depth of description that are outstanding. Burke's comprehensive book will be invaluable for scholars and students of the institutional presidency. Indeed, it will be a key source for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of the early years of George W. Bush's administration." —Charles Walcott, Virginia Tech


How did a president-elect whose win was hardly convincing, and who had the narrowest margin of congressional support imaginable, create an advantage for himself that prevailed in the face of unexpected and unprecedented challenges? To answer this question, John Burke offers an in-depth account of George W. Bush's unconventional transition to power—and the significant developments that occurred during the early years of his presidency.

Burke argues convincingly that Bush had the organizational confidence to govern as if the election had delivered him a popular mandate. Examining the President's domestic and foreign policy initiatives, he also demonstrates that, contrary to conventional wisdom, decisions made early onduring the transitionshaped the evolution of Bush's leadership after September 11. History has yet to determine the legacy of Bush's presidency; but, Burke demonstrates, the Bush 2000 transition offers an enviable model for future administrations.


John P. Burke is professor of political science at the University of Vermont. His publications include The Institutional Presidency and Presidential Transitions: From Politics to Practice.


  • Why Transitions Matter.
  • Starting Early.
  • After December 13: A Transition Unveiled.
  • The Bush Team in Office.
  • George W. Bush: Leadership and Decisionmaking.
  • Advancing the Bush Policy Agenda.
  • After September 11: Continuity and Change.
  • Lessons from the Bush Experience.