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Gov. Bush begins second term in Texas

By Charles Zewe/CNN

January 19, 1999
Web posted at: 8:29 p.m. EDT (2029 GMT)

AUSTIN, Texas (January 19) -- Texas Governor George W. Bush was sworn in Tuesday for a second term, becoming the first Texas governor ever elected to back-to-back, four-year terms. Bush called for placing a high value on morals -- something that could become a campaign theme if he decides to run for president in 2000.

"I ... do solemnly swear," the son of former President George Bush and brother of Florida Governor Jeb Bush said taking the oath of office.

Some Texans wondered whether they were watching a rehearsal for another inaugural in two years. "I certainly hope he has a national future in Washington D.C., hopefully," said one audience member.

Bush
Gov. George W. Bush is sworn in for
a second term
 

"I just think he would be an improvement over what we've got right now," another Texan agreed.

Bush made no mention of a presidential bid or President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial in his inaugural address, saying only a healthy Democracy depends on the character of its citizens.

"Some people think it's inappropriate to make moral judgments anymore. Not me," Bush said.

Children, he said, should be taught to make right choices in life.

"They must learn to say 'yes' to responsibility, 'yes' to family, 'yes' to honesty and work, and 'no' to drugs, 'no' to violence, 'no' to promiscuity or having babies out of wedlock," the 52-year-old Republican said.

Bush is expected to present the Texas legislature with a package of tax cuts and education reform his advisers hope will buttress a presidential campaign.

"I think he wants to be able to give some tax money back to the voters; he wants to make some real strides in education reform to build the record that he can take around to the rest of the country," Political analyst Phil Seib said.

"What Americans need to hear and Texans need to hear is that these conservative policies lead to compassionate results," Bush said.

Still undeclared, Bush says his wife and two daughters are reluctant to support his run for president.

In recent weeks, however, Bush has staked out his turf as the de facto Republican front-runner.

He's met with top GOP contributors and some of his father's top advisers including former Secretary of State George Schultz and former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

"Being a Bush and being part of a political family that has contacts and friendships all over the country. It gives him an opportunity to call on people that new candidates would have more difficulty doing," said Ron Faucheux of Campaigns and Elections Magazine.

The Texas governor is also reportedly contacting a network of campaign veterans who are ready to sign on to a Bush campaign once he forms a presidential exploratory committee and qualifies for federal funding.

Bush says he'll announce in six to eight weeks whether he's running for president. While he's publicly undecided and unannounced there's every indication he has may not be finishing his second term as governor of Texas.


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Tuesday January 19, 1999

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