The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 1, 2005

Interview of the First Lady by ABC News
The Diplomatic Reception Room

7:42 A.M. EST

Q The First Lady, Laura Bush, is joining us this morning from the White House. Mrs. Bush, good to have you back with us.

MRS. BUSH: Thanks, Charlie.

Q We have talked a number of times about women and heart disease, as you've tried to call attention to the problem. But the numbers always surprise me, that heart disease kills more women than all the cancers that we worry about with women, for instance.

MRS. BUSH: That's right. And heart disease kills more women than men in the United States every year. And so I think it's really important for women to realize what their risk factors are. And one of the reasons that women seek help later than their husbands do or their boyfriends do if they start to have any symptoms of a heart attack is because women don't know that heart disease is the number one killer of women. They think it's a man's disease.

So it's really important --

Q I just read a piece --

MRS. BUSH: Go ahead.

Q I just read a piece the other day, that doctors are more hesitant to diagnose heart problems in women than they are in men.

MRS. BUSH: That's right. Even doctors don't know that. They also think of heart disease as a man's disease. So this isn't just educating women about their risk factors, but also letting doctors around the country know. When you go the emergency room, you don't see a cardiologist immediately. A cardiologist would know what your risk factors are. So we want doctors to know that, as well.

Q Now, the things to do are well known, and we've talked about it so often in this broadcast.

MRS. BUSH: That's right.

Q And it's basic: you don't smoke, you follow a good diet, and you exercise, which is so critical.

MRS. BUSH: Exercise -- all of those things are very important. You stay aware of what your blood pressure is and your blood cholesterol and check with your doctor for screenings. You need to know if you have heart disease in your family: did your parent die of a heart attack or have you lost a brother or sister. All of those are also indications that you might have heart disease in your family.

But the great news about heart disease is that it really is preventable if people are very careful, if they eat a healthy diet, if they get off the couch and get some exercise. And it doesn't have to be a lot of exercise. It's not running marathons. It's just going for a walk around the block. And for mothers especially, it's great to get your kids off the couch, as well, and go for a walk with them.

Q We know the President is pretty good about working out. Are you hitting the treadmill?

MRS. BUSH: I do. I work out on the elliptical some and then I lift weights three times a week. I'm very proud that he's finally gotten me off the couch, and so I'm exercising like he has for years.

Q Well, it is a very important problem to which attention needs to be called, and it's good that you do it and we appreciate your coming here to talk about it.

I just have a couple of other questions for you --

MRS. BUSH: Sure.

Q -- one serious and one maybe not so serious. Number one, was it a nervous day at the White House on Sunday as you waited to find out whether Iraqis would, indeed, turn out to vote?

MRS. BUSH: It was a nervous day, of course. We, like I'm sure a lot of Iraqis, were fearful of terrorist attacks, and we were hoping that the Iraqi people would turn out. When we woke up early that morning -- we always get up a little after 5:00 a.m. -- the President called the Situation Room to find out what the situation was in Iraq, and we were very encouraged from the first news we heard that morning.

And then as we watched it on television, it was a very, very moving and sweet day, to see the Iraqi people in the first free election they'd had in over half a century, go to the polls, walk long distances to be able to vote. It was very, very moving, and it really is such a celebration for the people of Iraq and for their bravery and for their courage and for their statement that they want a democracy, they want a free country where the government respects the right of the people.

Q It was quite a day. The second question I wanted to ask, I've read in the social pages that one of your daughters has a new boyfriend. (Laughter.) And as the father of daughters -- -- as the father of daughters, I want to know, how is the President when a boy shows up to see one of your girls? Is he pretty good about it?

MRS. BUSH: Well, he's pretty good about it, he's very good about it. This is not a serious boyfriend, I hate to have to be the one to say it on television, but he's a very nice young man. (Laughter.)

Q I was never too good at it, so I'm glad he's better at it. (Laughter.) But my deal with my daughters was if they're around for more than three months, I'll learn their names. (Laughter.) I don't know how the President treats it. But nice to see you, Mrs. Bush.

MRS. BUSH: Well, it might be the same way.

Q Good luck with this campaign, because it's an important one.

MRS. BUSH: Thanks so much.

END 7:46 A.M. EST

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