The 12-year Reagan-Bush era was the longest Republican stay in the White House since Harding, Coolidge and Hoover.
Spiraling inflation and the Iran hostage crisis contributed to sealing Carter's defeat to former California Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1980. Reagan led the nation through the booming growth of the 1980s, easily rebuffing a challenge from Walter Mondale in 1984. Vice President George Bush, promising continued Reagan-era prosperity, triumphed over Michael Dukakis, Democratic governor of Massachusetts, in 1988. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, Bush led a coalition of nations into the Persian Gulf War, which expelled Iraq from Kuwait and won Bush some of the highest presidential approval ratings in history.