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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
July 14, 2006

Interview of Mrs. Laura Bush by Werner Sonne, Ard Morgenmagazin
Kempinski Grand Hotel
Heiligendamm, Germany

     Fact sheet President's Trip to Germany and Russia

8:37 A.M. (L)

Q So what do you have to say about Angela Merkel?

MRS. BUSH: I like her very, very much, and this trip, for the President and me to have the opportunity to be in her home constituency, has given us a chance to get to know her in a more personal way. I admire her very much. I think it's terrific that Germany has a woman Chancellor, and both my husband and I really like her.

Q What is so fascinating about her? Your husband always says that.

MRS. BUSH: Well, I think because she's so frank -- she tells you exactly what she thinks, which really, for two world leaders, gives them the opportunity to have a real dialogue and a real frank discussion about many, many issues, and I think that's constructive.

Q Do you actually give advice to your husband, even critical or controversial advice?

MRS. BUSH: Sure, doesn't every wife give their husband some advice? But I also am aware that I don't want him to give me a lot of advice or criticism, so I refrain from criticizing too much.

Q Do you actually discuss politics in your marriage at all?

MRS. BUSH: Sure, of course. I mean, we live politics. We live in the White House. We live above the shop, so to speak, because the Oval Office is right there where we both live and work. So we constantly discuss issues and politics. That's what we think about all day and that's what the President is faced with every day in his office, of course.

Q Is it sometimes controversial? Do you have a different point of view sometimes?

MRS. BUSH: Sometimes we have a different point of view.

Q What about?

MRS. BUSH: We also have been married for a long time; we have a real understanding of each other. So even when we might differ on an issue, I understand where he comes from on that issue and I think he understands my point of view, as well.

Q Your visit has, especially here in the East, been controversial to a certain degree. Do you understand that? And what's your message for the people here in this country, especially here in the East?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I hope that people understand that America is a friend of Germany. We all in the United States are concerned about anti-Americanism. Because we feel like -- the people of the United States -- that we've stood with Germany since World War II, every time Germany needed us, we also wonder if Germans stand with the United States, and we hope they do.

Q What can you, in a short visit like this, really pick up from the people you have met? What was your view -- did you understand their concerns?

MRS. BUSH: Yes, I think we did. We visited, of course, a town that we might not have ever visited if we only visited the capitals of countries. We had a chance to meet people personally last night at the barbecue, to talk with the different mayors, other b rgermeisters of various towns that are around here, to see what issues they face.

Yesterday, I was accompanied all day in Stralsund by the Lord Mayor, and had an opportunity to see what issues are important to him in the governance of his town and area. And that's -- what we find out is that the issues all of us face are similar around the world. When we meet with mayors in the United States, the issues they're looking at in their cities are very similar to what mayors here are looking at.

Q You mentioned yourself that we have now a female Chancellor. Your husband came here re-elected. Is it time for a woman in the White House?

MRS. BUSH: Certainly, I think so -- a Republican woman. (Laughter.)

Q Thank you very much that you have been with us this morning, and thank you very much for your time.

MRS. BUSH: Thank you so much. And I want to thank all the people we had the chance to meet yesterday, as well, for their hospitality.

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