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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
November 29, 2007

Interview of the First Lady by NBC's "Today" Show
State Floor

     Fact sheet Holidays at the White House 2007

8:03 A.M. EST

Q It's a great time to be in the White House. Mrs. Bush, happy holidays.

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much.

Q Thank you for having us. You always do such a great job with the theme. How do you approach the theme for the holidays?

MRS. BUSH: Well, every year just something interesting comes up, and this year we're moving up on the 100th anniversary of our National Park System. So I thought it would be really fun to celebrate our national parks. I hike in a national park -- at least one every year, sometimes more than one.

Q So that's played out now, that's played out here all over the Christmas tree with these ornaments.

MRS. BUSH: That's right. And I think we just heard an ornament fall. (Laughter.) But that's right. We sent out to each of the 391 national parks a big ornament, and then they decorated them with their artist and sent them back.

Q And let's move along here. A 20-foot Fraser fir, by the way.

MRS. BUSH: From North Carolina, a beautiful tree. And the Blue Room tree is such a magnificent tree always.

Q Absolutely.

MRS. BUSH: So huge that we remove the chandelier from the top of the Blue Room to put up the tree.

Q That's big. There is a special one marking Flight 93 from 9/11, of course, that is one of the newest national parks. Tell me about that one.

MRS. BUSH: That's right. People may not really know that the site where Flight 93 went down is a new national memorial. They are still raising money privately, as well as, of course, the money they are appropriated, to build this memorial. And so this season it would be a nice thing if people wanted to remember as a gift the Flight 93 memorial. That's what the Secret Service gave me for my birthday, a gift to the Flight 93 memorial in honor of my birthday.

So this is one of the newest ones, and it's one of the ones that actually is being built right now.

Q We talk about the holidays, we talk about sweets.

MRS. BUSH: That's right.

Q And where better than the White House -- my son was very excited to learn that there are 20,000 cookies being prepared here at the White House. One in particular is the giant gingerbread house that we have some pictures of. Tell me about this extraordinary house.

MRS. BUSH: Well, this year the fabulous house is actually a giant white chocolate house -- perfect for the White House. It's made to scale. You can see how really beautiful it is. And then the grounds of the White House are covered with the animals that you can see in a lot of our national parks -- the moose and the bear and all of those. And in fact, that's what all the cookies are that the pastry chef has made, and I see someone who is really hoping to get some cookies over there. (Laughter.) But there are eagle cookies, and moose and bear and fox and a lot of the animals -- American animals that you can see in national parks.

Q This is your seventh Christmas in the White House, and no doubt as you go into the final year of the President's term you're looking forward to a time when you can prepare for the holidays in a slightly smaller home. Beyond that, what do you look forward to after your time here?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I'm not -- you know, I mean, I look forward to, of course, a much more normal life. But at the same time I'm savoring every moment of the last year. George still has a lot of things he wants to do, and I certainly have a lot of things that I want to continue to work on. And we'll be able to work on a lot of these issues after we leave. But this is bittersweet now when you know this is the seventh season for me, or the seventh season to have decorated the White House and just have one left.

Q Republican politics playing out last night, a big debate.

MRS. BUSH: That's what I heard.

Q Do you think the next nominee is going to be a George Bush Republican, running in the spirit of this President?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I don't know. Whoever it'll be, believe me, they're going to have my support and President Bush's support -- whichever Republican wins. And neither of us have any idea which Republican is actually going to get the nomination.

Q All right, Mrs. Bush, happy holidays.

MRS. BUSH: Thank you, David.

Q Thank you so much for the tour.

MRS. BUSH: Thank you so much.

Q Meredith and Matt -- now, Meredith, I don't know if you've been down to the holiday party here at the White House, but it's really a wonderful time. (Laughter.) Have you not --

Q You're such a wise guy. (Laughter.)

Q David, could you ask Mrs. Bush if she invited Meredith, because she's feeling very, very insecure this morning.

Q She's feeling a little insecure, do you --

MRS. BUSH: Okay, tell her I'd love for her to come to the Christmas party.

Q She would love for you to come -- not this year, however. (Laughter.) Maybe sometime in the future, so we'll work on that.

Q You know what, she's too gracious to invite me for some other year -- unlike you, David Gregory. (Laughter.)

Q Please wish Mrs. Bush happy holidays from both of us.

Q We will.

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all. Happy holidays.

END 8:06 A.M. EST

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