His First Steps

An exclusive portrait of the nascent Bush campaign.

The Photographs by Charles Ommanney are not available online. Back issues of this edition (June 1999) can be ordered from Texas Monthly .

SINCE ANNOUNCING THE FORMATION OF HIS PRESIDENTIAL EXPLORATORY committee on March 7, George W. Bush (shown here on that day at the Governor’s Mansion) has been having his cake and eating it too—teasing his supporters and the national press with the suggestion that he wants to run while insisting that he hasn’t officially made up his mind. From the first, Texas Monthly has enjoyed unprecedented access to the nascent campaign, both onstage and off. Herewith, our exclusive peek behind the scenes of Bush’s big adventure.

Caption:
Checking his watch on the day of the big announcement as his wife (right) lunches with Georgia senator Paul Coverdell.

Caption:
All eyes on him as he reveals his plans. Laura (right) watches with good friends Debbie Francis (left) and Jan Bullock.

Caption:
With George Schultz, former Secretary of State, now a trusted member of his presidential exploratory committee.

Caption:
Going over his remarks moments before leaving the Governor’s Mansion to face the press—and the rest of the world.

Caption:
With longtime Midland pal Don Evans, his national finance chairman and the chair of the UT Board of Regents.

Caption:
Discussing border issues at the mansion with Governor Tomas Yarrington (left) of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

Caption:
At a joint press conference with crime-busting New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani—a possible running mate?

Caption:
In a policy briefing at the mansion. (Even presidential candidates and their advisers get hungry and thirsty.)

Caption:
On a chartered plane to Hillsboro with spokeswoman Karen Hughes (right) and state senator David Sibley (left).

Caption:
Signing autographs in Hillsboro for excited well-wishers, who greeted him with cries of “Hello, Mr. President!”

Caption:
Standing at attention (sixth from right) during the playing of the National Anthem at the Hillsboro courthouse.

Caption:
Talking to the press at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, as a member of his protective detail stays alert.

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