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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 9, 2004
Interview with First Lady Laura Bush by Bill Plante of CBS News
Sea Island, Georgia
6:37 A.M. EDT
Q I'm here on Sea Island with First Lady Laura Bush. Good morning, Mrs. Bush.
MRS. BUSH: Good morning, Bill.
Q I want to ask you right off the bat whether you had a chance yet to speak to Nancy Reagan.
MRS. BUSH: I haven't spoken to her yet. The President spoke to her on Saturday night when we were in France, he talked to her then. But we're going to pay a call on her tomorrow evening when we get back to Washington.
Q So you will see her then?
MRS. BUSH: So I will see her then.
Q You know, I know your father passed away from Alzheimer's.
MRS. BUSH: That's right.
Q So it must have been very personal for you to understand what she was going through?
MRS. BUSH: It is. And I know how very difficult it is for the patient, obviously -- but also for the caregiver; it requires unbelievable strength of character to take care of the person you love, as you see them slip away like that. The long goodbye, they call Alzheimer's. It's such a tragic disease. And Nancy, really, once again has been a great role model for all of us in her devotion to her husband through this long, long disease.
Q And, of course, she is now pushing to have the restrictions on stem cell use removed, restrictions that the President put on three years ago, because she feels that it could help patients with diseases like Alzheimer's.
MRS. BUSH: Well, there are stem cells to do research on, and there is a -- you know, we have to be really careful between what we want to do for science and what we should do ethically. And stem cell issue is certainly one of those issues that we need to treat very carefully.
Q So you're not prepared to endorse that just yet?
MRS. BUSH: No.
Q Now, you are here with all of the other spouses, the wives all, I guess, of the G8 people. Sometimes the husbands haven't gotten along all that well over issues like Iraq. How do you all get along?
MRS. BUSH: We get along very well, and actually the husbands get along very well, too. We had a dinner here in this very spot last night. We hosted the heads of state right down here, we had tables here. We had a great southern dinner, with fried green tomatoes and grits and all the foods that are specialties here in Georgia. And we had a really great evening.
And today, I'm going to meet with the wives of the heads of state. We have a woman coming from the Iraqi Governing Council, we have a woman coming from the Afghan Governing Council, we have a Fulbright -- Iraqi Fulbright scholar, a woman who is here studying in the United States, to talk to all of us about what we can do as spouses of the eight most developed countries, to help them, to assist in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
Q Let me go back to President Reagan for just a moment. What are your memories of him and how did he influence your life? And, of course, now you're sitting in the same place that he and Mrs. Reagan did. You must have a slightly different view of things.
MRS. BUSH: Well, I have great memories of him. We weren't with him that much, of course, but we would come to visit George's dad when he was Vice President and we were invited to the White House a few times while they were there.
And I think really what people remember the most about Ronald Reagan was his size, his -- he filled a room with his -- he was a big man with a great size, and he had a wonderful, funny sense of humor, a wonderful way to be with people. He was self-deprecating, he was -- made you feel instantly at home. And I know that when you meet the President of the United States, certainly when we met him when he was President, we didn't know what to say to him, we were intimidated, and he made us feel very at home.
Q Now, your daughters have graduated from college.
MRS. BUSH: That's right.
Q And they're going to work in the campaign. Have they started yet?
MRS. BUSH: No, they haven't started yet. They graduated a couple of weeks ago and they're in Europe right now, on their graduation tours. And they'll be back in the United States in the next couple of weeks. And then they'll go to work, we hope.
Q Do you know what they're going to do?
MRS. BUSH: I think they'll work at the headquarters, maybe, some and then maybe they'll go out if they feel like they have enough confidence --
Q And hit the campaign trail?
MRS. BUSH: -- and hit the campaign trail.
Q Well, Mrs. Bush, thank you very much for spending time with us this morning.
MRS. BUSH: Thanks so much. Thanks a lot, Bill.