Bush began working in the oil industry in Texas in 1948 and created a lucrative career for himself. He became active in the Republican party, winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1966. In the House, he was appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means committee. He ran unopposed again and was reelected to his congressional seat in 1968.
Bush attempted to run for Senate in 1970 but was defeated. President Nixon then appointed Bush as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, where he served until 1973. He was then named chairman of the Republican National Committee and served in this capacity during the Watergate Scandal and its fallout.
Bush became the first vice president to ever serve as “acting president” when Reagan had surgery to remove polyps on his colon on July 13, 1985. Before his surgery, Reagan sent a letter to the speaker of the House handing power to Bush while he was under anesthesia. Bush was acting president for eight hours.
In 1974, after Nixon's resignation, Ford appointed Bush to be the unofficial ambassador to China. It was an unofficial position because America did not have an official embassy in China at the time. In 1976, Ford appointed him to be the director of the CIA. When Carter won the presidency, Bush was replaced in this position and went into private business for a time, including a period as an adjunct professor at Rice University.
Bush ran against Reagan in the primaries to attempt to get the Republican nomination for president in 1980. When Reagan, the more conservative of the two, won the nomination he chose Bush as his vice president.
From 1981 to 1989, he served as vice president under Reagan.