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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 27, 2008
Interview of Mrs. Bush by CBS's the Early Show
8:05 A.M. EST
Q I'm at the White House with First Lady Laura Bush, who is very passionate about an initiative called "Picturing America." She wants to bring American historical and iconic art to classrooms around the country, and we thank you for inviting us into your home to talk about that this morning.
MRS. BUSH: Thanks so much.
Q As you get ready to wrap up your time here at the White House, you are having to deal with attacks on your husband and his legacy and his presidency. We saw it last night during the Democratic debate. There were attacks coming left and right -- or I guess left and left. (Laughter.) But we do even see Senator McCain campaigning on change and the need for change. How are those attacks received here in this house, in this family?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I'll have to say they're received with a grain of salt. I mean, we've been in many, many debates, as you know. I've been on the front row for lots of debates, from the time when George ran for governor the first time, and I know what these debates are like. I know they're sound bites. I know that people try to get in a quick jab of something to say that makes news -- in a good way for them, of course. And I also know that it's a lot easier to tear something down than it is to really say what you're for. And I think that's what we see.
And that's partly what the candidates are doing, to try to get a quick sound bite. But it's also, I think, the way it's covered and the questions that are asked, that aren't long and thoughtful questions, but rather quick, looking for a quick, interesting answer.
Q Do you worry that all of this talk will tarnish your husband's legacy?
MRS. BUSH: No, I really don't. I really don't. I think that over the long term, as historians look at his presidency, there are so many, many accomplishments. And I think that that's what will -- when the partisan rancor is gone, that that's what will show up.
Q You have great accomplishments yourself. You are passionate about a lot of issues, most recently this "Picturing America" initiative.
MRS. BUSH: That's right.
Q You're trying to bring 40 iconic photographs or paintings to classrooms around America. What did you get involved with this project?
MRS. BUSH: Well, this is a National Endowment for the Humanities project. It's part of their "We the People," a whole study of American history that the National Endowment for the Humanities has been supporting with grants to history teachers, for instance, for the last five years.
And this is a collection of 40 reproductions of American art, iconic American art -- paintings, sculpture, photography, architecture -- that schools can ask for. Schools and community libraries, between now and April 15, can apply to get these 40 big reproductions of American art, and the teachers' guides that go with it. And they're a great teaching tool for teaching American history, obviously for teaching for fine arts. Also for teaching American culture -- there are so many things that teachers can use them for. And that's what the teachers' guides show. They can be used from kindergarten through high school.
So I want to urge schools and community libraries to apply to the National Endowment for the Arts for this set, to have for their schools. And if anybody is interested in looking to see what these 40 iconic pictures are, you can get on their website, which is www.PicturingAmerica.NEH.gov -- that's g-o-v.
Q And we'll put that on our website as well.
MRS. BUSH: Good. So I hope people will look at it, because I think they'll find it very, very interesting. They're classic pictures that people recognize, like "Washington Crossing the Delaware," for instance.
Q Right. We don't have a lot of time left, but I'm curious, because we're only 10 weeks away now from a big moment in your daughter's life. Jenna and Henry are going to get married. How are the wedding plans coming?
MRS. BUSH: They're going great, but you just made me nervous when you said there are only 10 weeks. (Laughter.) It's going really very well, and I'm so happy for Jenna and for Henry. And I think they've really found their soul mates. And that, of course, makes their mother and daddy really happy.
Q Dad likes him, he's a good guy?
MRS. BUSH: He's a really good guy. He's finally going to be the son that George never had.
Q Oh, wonderful. Thank you so much for having us this morning, Mrs. Bush.
MRS. BUSH: Thank you so much. Appreciate it, thanks a lot.
END 8:09 A.M. EST