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Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration Officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.

Mrs. Bush
First Lady
Laura Bush

December 10, 2003

Mrs. Bush
Hello, it's Laura Bush. I'm excited to be here today for Ask the White House. And I will start with Jim's question from Abilene.

Jim, from Abilene writes:
Dear Mrs. Bush- Thank you for taking my questions. When can we expect to see the next Barney Cam? Has any of Barney's fame gone to his head?



Mrs. Bush
Barney has been working very hard for this year's BarneyCam and we will release it on Friday at the Children's National Medical Center. The First Ladies of the United States have made a traditional holiday visit to the hospital for many years. Last year, I released the BarneyCam -- showed it to the children there before it went up on the web site. This year, like the last two years Barney himself will accompany me to the hospital.

You can look for Barney Cam this friday afternoon at

Barney seems oblivious to any fame. He is a dog of the people.

Elizabeth, from Greenville, South Carolina writes:
Mrs. Bush, Do you and the President have your own family decorations( Christmas tree ornaments,etc.) in the living quarters of the White House? Do you decorate your own tree in the living quarters?

Mrs. Bush
We do have our own family decorations in the White House -- very large Christmas tree in the Yellow Oval room in the private residence with our own ornaments. Including the ornaments our daughters made when they were three years old that includes a photograph of them. Of course, there are many Scottish terrier ornaments on the tree. And a few Springer spaniel ornaments. And just a couple cat ornaments that friends have sent us because of Barney, Spot and our cat.

We have decorated the downstairs Christmas tree in the blue room with our girls' grandparents' ornaments. Like many families some of our favorite ornaments are ornaments which belong to our parents and grandparents. And this year we borrowed from the George HW Bush presidential library -- The storybook character ornaments that were on the White House Christmas tree in 1989. Also upstairs in our private quarters, we have decorated with our large collection of nativity sets

Desiree, from Worcester, MA writes:
Hello Mrs. Bush, It was great to see the President make the trip to Iraq to see the troops on Thanksgiving. Did you, the girls, and his parents celebrate a second Thanksgiving on Friday when President Bush returned ? How did you all celebrate ?

thanks much and regards,


Mrs. Bush
When we heard that the President had left Iraq and was safely back on his way to the US, President Bush #41 and Barbara and the girls and I celebrated with a wonderful Thanksgiving feast.

We all went for a long walk. All the President had when he came back was a turkey sandwich.

So this year, we'll be serving another turkey dinner for Christmas day and I expect the President to be with us.

Lewis, from Orlando, Fl writes:
Do you have to spend your Christmas at Camp David or are you free to spend it whereever? If you are free to spend it whereever why not the Texas White House?

Mrs. Bush
We choose to spend Christmas at Camp David because it is such a beautiful snow-covered spot for Christmas. And also it is our sentimental favorite place to be at Christmas because we spent the years 1989 - 1992 there with all of the Bush family. And once again this year we will be joined by President Bush, Barbara Bush, our girls, my mother, the President's sister and her family and one of his brothers.

We will go to Texas for New Years.

Mary, from Bethesda writes:
Mrs. Bush, I love the Whitehouse website. It's as though I can visit the Whitehouse, and it's fun at this holiday time of year. This week I received a notice of the date of my high school reunion, class of '64. Can you and the President go to your class reunion?

Mrs. Bush
I'm glad you like the White House web site. This year would be our 40th anniversary of our graduation from high school. We hosted our high school class at a reunion at the Texas governor's mansion. I expect most of our class is hoping that we hold our 40th reunion at the White House. No plans have been made yet.

President Bush did invite his University class -- the Yale class of 1968 to their college reunion last summer. Mary, have fun at your reunion.

erlinda, from jourdanton writes:
What kind of job do you think your husband is doing as President of the United States?

Mrs. Bush
You've asked me an easy question for me to answer. I think my husband is doing a great job as President of the United States. I admire his steadiness and strength as our country faces the many challenges before us. I'm proud of my husband.

Ann, from Warsaw, NY writes:
Will photos of the White HOuse Christmas decorations be available at the White HOuse web site or elsewhere? I have enjoyed seeing them on television.

Mrs. Bush
Many photos of the decorations here in the White House will be unveiled on Friday. The famous show BarneyCam will be available for viewing at that same time all at 11am.

Tonight Home and Garden TV (HGTV) will give a tour of the White House decorations including behind the scenes footage of the many decorators , florists and chefs who work to make the White House so beautiful for the holidays.

There will also be a Christmas special on A&E TV tomorrow night. Please check your local listings.

Ben, from High Point, Nc writes:
What happens to the Christmas Deorations used in the White House once the season is over? The really are outstanding.


Mrs. Bush
This year's theme is a Season of Stories and the special decorations belong to the US Archives. They will be stored at a future President Bush Presidential library. We borrowed the decorations on the White House Christmas Tree from the George HW Bush library at College Station.

The decorations really are outstanding because of the hard work of the White House staff -- the florists, decorators, artists, the plumbers, the chefs who contribute to effort.

Tuan, from Atlanta, GA writes:
What is your philosophy to get you and your family through tough time?

Mrs. Bush
I have found that love and emotional support that comes from close family members and friends helps us weather the tough times. But also the idea that "this too shall pass" and that there will be times of happiness on the other side of the tough times sustains me.

Jordan, from Kennewick, WA writes:
What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Mrs. Bush
My favorite Christmas memory is when our girls were just old enough to help decorate the tree. All of the ornaments that Christmas were just two feet off the ground. And when we got done decorating, I told the girls to wait under the tree for me while I got them hot chocolate. Like all little three year olds, they took me literally and when I came back with the hot chocolate they were crouched under the lowest branches of the tree.

I will never forget that sight.

Kathy, from Washington, DC writes:
We hear quite a bit about Barney and Spot but not so much about your cats. Who are your cats and where do they spend most of their time? Thank you for answering our questions today

Mrs. Bush
We just have one cat -- India, aka Willie who stays upstairs in the White House so the press rarely sees her. She is quite friendly and often attends parties in our residence. Recently, the President was hosting a luncheon for President Ciampi from Italy when Willie joined them in the dining room and begged for food until she had to be removed from the room.

Marisa, from Ohio writes:
Hello Mrs. Bush, It is an honor to speak with you. The other day my boyfriend proposed to me on "Ask the White House" when the CEA Director was taking questions. I didn't believe it until he sent me an email and told me to check it out.

Needless to say, I was unbelievably shocked to see it. And furthermore, I was very surprised to see that a lot of media covered it.

I love Steve and I said yes. Thought you all would want to know about it.

(I think you are a lovely First Lady, by the way).

Happy Holidays


Mrs. Bush
Congratulations Marisa to you and Steve. President Bush is quite the matchmaker. In fact, more than a half dozen White House staffers have met their future spouse while working here. So, I am pleased that Steve used the White House web site for his proposal. Congratulations to both of you and very best wishes.

Mrs. Bush
Thanks to all of you for sending in your questions. President Bush and I wish you a very happy holiday season and a joyous new year.