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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.

Gordon Johndroe
Laura Bush's Press Secretary
February 10, 2004

Gordon Johndroe
Good afternoon. Thanks for your questions. Let's start.

Ron, from Chicago writes:
Every First Lady picks a cause, correct? What are Mrs. Bush's causes and how did she select them?

Gordon Johndroe
In modern times, First Ladies have picked causes that they either have a personal interest in or something that has been brought to their attention once getting to The White House. Mrs. Bush was a public school teacher and librarian and has spoken out on education issues since she was First Lady of Texas.

Last year, Mrs. Bush learned that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. Like many people, she thought cancer was on top of the list. Mrs. Bush joined the Heart Truth campaign to spread the message, that women (and men) can reduce their risk of heart disease by taking a few simple steps, such as eating healthy and exercising a little each week.

Mrs. Bush is also interested in historic preservation as well as women's rights around the world, especially in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

Tara, from West Falls Church writes:
What is the significance of the Red Dress? I saw Mrs. Bush was donating a red dress the other day on CNN. But I wasn't aware of the purpose.

Gordon Johndroe
The Red Dress Project is a component of the Heart Truth Campaign to spread the message that women can reduce their risk of heart disease by eating healthier, exercising and getting screened. The red dresses travel around the country to shopping malls where women can get free screening. If you need more information, go to

Beverly writes:
You're cute. Are you single? And has Mrs. Bush ever tried to fix you up with anyone? I have heard her comments on how the President has been quite the matchmaker in this White House.

Gordon Johndroe
Mrs. Bush has pointed out some cute girls to me before. I think she is following the President's lead in being a matchmaker. I'll let you know if any of them work out.

Rose, from Indiana writes:
I think Barbra and Jenna gets bad press. I am sure they do good things that the press never prints. I hope they do campaign for their dad. Do you think they will? Thanks

Gordon Johndroe
Mrs. Bush has said that will be up to them. They graduate soon and this is a very busy time in their lives. I KNOW they want their Dad to get re-elected.

Mike, from Wayne, PA writes:
What is it like working in the East Wing, and is it comparable physically to the West Wing?

Thanks for your time.

Gordon Johndroe
The East Wing was built during World War II to house additional military personnel assigned to The White House. It now serves as Mrs. Bush's office, the Legislative Affairs office for The President as well as the White House Military Office. It's is smaller than the West Wing and also serves as the entrance for people taking White House tours.

Sandy, from Los Angeles writes:
Why aren't there more pictures and stories about Mrs. Bush in the major magazines--NOT Good Housekeeping.

It seems that the Bush administration has really missed the boat when it comes to bringing out what could be magical--it isn't.

Gordon Johndroe
Mrs. Bush is keeping a very busy schedule these days. She was in the February 1 edition of Parade Magazine, this week's Newsweek and yesterday appeared on Live with Regis and Kelly. She was also recently on the morning television news shows (February 2) talking about the Heart Truth campaign. Keep on looking for her in your favorite magazines in the future.

Brian, from Wilson, NC writes:
Will Mrs. Bush be on the campaign trial a large amount of time during the 2004 election cycle??

Gordon Johndroe
Mrs. Bush will be traveling around the country a lot this year in support of the President. She often says that politics is a people business, and she loves seeing old friends and making new ones out on the campaign trail. She will continue to talk about the No Child Left Behind education act as well as other issues.

Reg, from Fort Worth writes:
Hello from Fort Worth! Is it fun to be around Mrs. Bush and the President? Or is it always serious (like West Wing).

Gordon Johndroe
Good to hear from the hometown. President and Mrs. Bush are just like a lot of Texans: they're serious when they have a job to do, but are great fun to work for and be around. They often remind their aides that we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously.

gage, from baltimore writes:
Where does the State Of The Union Address take place? I need this for my homework.

Gordon Johndroe
The President delivers the State of the Union in the House of Representatives chamber in the United States Capitol, here in Washington. If you would like to know more about the State of the Union, take this quiz

Michael, from Powell, TN writes:
What kind of questions does the First Lady answer for the press?

Gordon Johndroe
She answers questions on just about everything because the press asks her questions on every subject. She talks about education and heart disease frequently, but people also want to know about life at the White House, about State Dinners and of course about Barney and Spot.

Adam, from New York writes:
Why does the President carry Barney up and down the stairs on Air Force One? Is he too short to do it on his own? Why do we never see Mrs. Bush carrying Barney?

And what about the family cat? We hear so much about Spot and Barney, but almost nothing about the family cat. Does the President not like the cat? Does the cat belong to the First Lady? Is the cat shy?

Gordon Johndroe
It would take Barney a long time to get up the stairs of Air Force One if The President didn't carry him. The cat is very private and avoids the limelight. Barney asked the cat to be in his Christmas Film, "Barney Cam II" and the offer was declined.

Jordan, from Maynard, Arkansas writes:
As Press Secretary for the First Lady how much influence do you think she has when she introduces new programs compared to if a member of President Bush's staff had.

Gordon Johndroe
Mrs. Bush often says she is The President's wife, not his advisor. While they do talk about all the issues facing the country, she also says that too much advice from a spouse isn't always the best thing and that goes both ways.

Hannah, from New York writes:
Why aren't you more like CJ on the TV show West Wing?

Gordon Johndroe
You need to ask Scott McClellan that question. But I am waiting for there to be a show called the East Wing.

Justine, from Lafayette,CA writes:
First Lady Laura Bush recently supported the funding of National Endowment for the Arts. I dislike the use of public funds in such an unnecessary endeavor. If she would like to support their activities, she should support them herself. I would rather see my tax money saved than spent on NEA activities that I do not support. I am not against art, but I think that I know best what types of art I want to support.

Plus, doesn't First Lady Bush feel this is fiscally irresponsible at a time of budget deficits?

Gordon Johndroe
The increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts is a proposal to bring American art into schools as an educational tool.

Mrs. Bush knows that The President's budget was written in a fiscally responsible way.

Jeremy, from East Meadow, NY writes:
What are the First Lady's plans for post-White-House life?

Gordon Johndroe
We should ask her that in five years.

Jo, from WA writes:
Hello. I just want to know what Mrs.Bush thinks about the reelection? Does she actually want it? Thank you

Gordon Johndroe
Yes. Mrs. Bush will travel the country this year telling people why she is so proud of her husband and why he should be re-elected.

Lance, from Murray KY writes:
What do you feel are the top three characteristics that a First Lady needs to have to be effective in the White House?

Gordon Johndroe
Mrs. Bush is often asked what is the role of the First Lady. Her reply is that a First Lady should do whatever she feels comfortable doing. It's a job without a job description.

MaryEllen, from Wheaton, Illinois writes:
How does the President and First Lady cope with the constant attacks and outright lies about him, his decisions, and his military service? It has gotten so ugly, I hate to watch the news or any campaign debates.

Gordon Johndroe
President and Mrs. Bush know that this comes with the territory. She knows this is a political season and that the noise in the system is only going to get louder. She says no one really likes to hear bad things or things that are untrue, said about someone they love, but that's part of life as President and First Lady.

Gordon Johndroe
Thanks for all the questions. I'll let Mrs. Bush know how much interest there is in her initiatives and campaign plans. Mrs. Bush looks forward to taking questions on Ask the White House soon.

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