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

For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 7, 2007

Interview of the First Lady by Robin Roberts on ABC's Good Morning America
Vermeil Room

     Fact sheet Welcoming Queen Elizabeth II

7:40 A.M. EDT

Q The excitement continues to build. The White House is taking on an air of royalty this morning, as the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, set to arrive earlier -- well, actually, in just a little bit. But of course, the main event is tonight, the State Dinner. President Bush and the First Lady, Laura Bush, of course, hosting the Queen and the Prince. And I'm telling you, what a delight.

Mrs. Bush, I know it's a busy, busy, busy day for you, a long day for you.

MRS. BUSH: It is very busy, but a very happy occasion to be able to have them visit.

Q I mean, truly, everyone is buzzing around here.

MRS. BUSH: That's right, they are, just like any dinner party that anyone would have when you have a very special guest. We've done everything we can think of to do to make it really a wonderful evening for her. And I know the American people are thrilled that she's here in the United States. It's a happy occasion.

Q It does take on an air. Before we talk more about the dinner, I know that you were even watching in the newscast, and of course, all those in Kansas -- and you have family down in Texas and just the tornadoes that go through there -- and I know that your husband has declared parts of Kansas a disaster area. I know your thoughts are with the people there.

MRS. BUSH: Absolutely. And I know in Greensburg, Kansas, especially, that almost the whole town was destroyed. Everybody is thinking about those families there and hoping for the very best for them and hoping for help for them and, of course, grieving with the ones who lost a family member.

Q Always so tragic. Talking about that, that's a very hot topic in the news right now. Also, the Newsweek poll about your husband's approval rating at an all-time low of 28 percent. With the presidential election just a year and a half away, is there concern about the low rating, those numbers, will have a negative impact on the Republicans that will be running for President?

MRS. BUSH: Well, sure, I mean, of course, there would be a concern about that. But the fact is, the President does -- you know, we don't really look at polls. This is a job where if you do things that are popular, they're not always the best things to do. And I think he feels like he has -- that it's his responsibility to make hard decisions and to do things that are the best for our country.

Q He has to do that.

MRS. BUSH: That's right.

Q So you set that aside. You are very festive today and opening your home. And many people were wondering what it would be like, because -- to have the Queen over for dinner. Did you sleep well last night?

MRS. BUSH: We were -- we're all very, very excited here. We slept great, but we're very excited to host Her Majesty. And we had the opportunity to be here the last time she was here for a State Dinner, in '91, when President Bush and Barbara Bush hosted her. So this is our second opportunity to be at the White House with Her Majesty, and we're so thrilled to have this chance to host her and to show her the strong affection that the American people have for the British and for our long-time allies and our best friends.

Q And you were in her home in 2003.

MRS. BUSH: That's right.

Q It was a white tie --

MRS. BUSH: We got to actually stay at Buckingham Palace, what a thrill for us. And that was a beautiful white tie dinner, as well.

Q Was that the last time that the President was in a white tie and tails?

MRS. BUSH: I think that was probably the last time, and I don't know how thrilled he was about this -- but, of course, when you're hosting the Queen of England, of course you want to have it be white tie. This is the perfect occasion for it -- and he was a very good sport. (Laughter.)

Q Okay, good sport -- because we understand, Mrs. Bush, that you and also Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had to kind of convince him to do this.

MRS. BUSH: We did sort of have to convince him a little bit. But he was happy to do it, and it's a tribute to Her Majesty. And I think everyone, all of our guests, I'm sure, are having to go rent white tie -- obviously, not the British delegation, but the Americans. But I think everyone is really happy to do that, it makes it even a more fun and festive evening.

Q And you have been very hands-on, very much involved -- I was here yesterday and talking with a number of people on your staff. And I look at the menu here -- it's beautiful, first of all -- I can't wait, I'm going to be sure and frame it. We begin with pea soup.

MRS. BUSH: I think it's going to be a really wonderful soup. Now, when we have a dinner like this, we do a tasting. And we had a tasting a few weeks ago of all of the dishes that our chef, Cris, proposed for this State Dinner. And for that tasting, we actually had some senators and congressmen for dinner. They got to be the ones that helped us taste. And we asked them for their real opinion. We really wanted them to know. And everyone thought it was wonderful, and especially this soup. I think you'll really like it, Robin.

Q Okay, I'm going to have to take your advice on that. I know that's one of your favorites.

MRS. BUSH: It's a fresh pea soup, and it has a little hint of lavender in it. I think you'll really like it.

Q Oh, I can't wait. And the lamb, always a favorite.

MRS. BUSH: We're doing a fish course, too. So this is a formal dinner with that many courses, and then the dessert, of course, will be not only delicious, but beautiful. Our pastry chef is going to do really beautiful sugar roses.

Q I had a little sampling of that myself yesterday. The entertainment -- we have not heard, but you are going to tell us right now the entertainment for tonight.

MRS. BUSH: Exactly. Tonight, the entertainment is Itzhak Perlman, the famous violinist. And so we're thrilled that he'll be here. We'll start, of course, during the receiving line and cocktails -- the President's Own, the Marine band, will play. And then -- and this is always such a thrill -- as we're eating dessert, the Strolling Strings will come in to the dining room, and that's always a guest gasp when come in, because it's so beautiful. And then the Army Chorus will also sing at the very end of the evening.

Q It sounds like a beautiful evening. And you have a beautiful gown, we understand -- Oscar de la Renta.

MRS. BUSH: That's right, I have a very beautiful gown by Oscar de la Renta. It's a long aqua gown with some embroidery on it, with a bolero over it. And so I think it will be pretty, I hope.

Q We're showing it so no one else will wear it this time.

MRS. BUSH: Yes, exactly. (Laughter.)

Q So we're putting it up there, so that's why, then no --

MRS. BUSH: That's right. Well, this is a special one --

Q I'm sure it was.

MRS. BUSH: -- made for me, especially for the Queen.

Q Oh. Thank you so much, Mrs. Bush.

MRS. BUSH: Thanks, Robin.

Q I know it's a long day for you, and you're always so gracious in inviting us in.

MRS. BUSH: Well, thanks a lot. Glad you're here.

Q See you tonight.

MRS. BUSH: It will be fun.

Q Oh, it will be.

END 7:46 A.M. EDT

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