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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 1, 2008

Interview of the First Lady by CNN
Xcel Energy Center
St. Paul, Minnesota

6:26 A.M. CDT

Q Good morning to you, Mrs. Bush. It's good to see you.

MRS. BUSH: Good morning. Good to see you, John.

Q So you cancelled your speech tonight. Any idea how this is going to affect the rest of the convention, and will you eventually be speaking here, do you think?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I don't know that. Actually, all the -- of the program tonight has been cancelled. As you said, the Republican delegates will meet today for their regular visit, all of the things they need to do legally to nominate John McCain for their candidate for President. So tonight has been cancelled. We'll wait and see. I think they'll sort of play it by ear and see. I know the delegates are disappointed. They've come from all over the country to have this big celebration, but on the other hand, I know they understand.

Q I know that you and Mrs. McCain this morning --

MRS. BUSH: That's right.

Q -- as I understand it, will be having breakfast with the Louisiana delegation.

MRS. BUSH: We're going to go have breakfast with the Louisiana delegation and I hope to see some other delegations while I'm here. There's a luncheon that was already planned that I'll go to and try to see as many delegates as possible.

Q Now, as we've mentioned, you've been to the Gulf Coast many times -- I think it's more than 20 times since Hurricane Katrina hit. What are your thoughts this morning as this hurricane is coming to shore?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I'm worried, of course, like everybody is. I'm encouraged that so many people have left. I know that the -- both the federal, local, and state response is going to be much, much better prepared than it was for Katrina. The coordination between federal, local and state is going to be much better. Supplies and everything were prepositioned, so I know the response to it is going to be a lot better. And because people now know to take a hurricane so seriously, many, many people evacuated. Very few people have stayed. And so that's encouraging to know the people will be safe.

Q Now, John McCain, during his campaign, has said repeatedly that he will never repeat the mistakes of this administration in responding to a hurricane. I'm sure that you've talked to your husband many times about what happened in 2005. What has he said to you?

MRS. BUSH: Well, a lot of lessons were learned from that, for sure, and mistakes were made by everyone -- by the local government, by the state government, by the federal government. And really part of it was not being able to have the really good communication that we would need between the three governments. And we have taken care of that. We know that that's a lot better. And the lessons that were learned from Katrina can serve the United States very well in any kind of disaster, not just a hurricane, but another kind of disaster. And I think that's really important. And I think it's important for the people of the United States to know that.

I'm worried particularly about schools, because I've spent so much of my time on the Gulf Coast with the rebuilding of schools and the rebuilding of school libraries. And it worries me about students once again being dispersed across the country as they have evacuated. And I hope people will be able to get right back home and get their children right back in school.

Q Of course, the major focus today is looking and watching what's happening with Hurricane Gustav. The Republican National Committee has said we're going to put away any political rhetoric today. But let me ask you just a little bit about politics if I could.

MRS. BUSH: Sure, that's fine.

Q When you were on with us last year you said you're looking forward to voting for the first woman candidate for President on the Republican side --

MRS. BUSH: I'm so excited about getting to -- my wish in getting to vote for a Republican woman for vice president. I'm thrilled.

Q Now, when we had Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison on on Friday, she said she didn't know much about Sarah Palin. Do you?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I do know Sarah -- Governor Palin, because she's been to the White House for the National Governors Association a couple of times and I've met with her there, and George and I just stopped in Alaska on our way to -- we were flying to Asia for the Olympics. We stopped at the -- to see our troops there and Governor Palin was there with us then. I know how strong she is. I know, you know, what that kind of life in a state like Alaska is and the kind of women that state produces. And I'm very thrilled that she's on our ticket.

Q What about these questions of experience?

MRS. BUSH: I'll tell you what, I think she has a lot of experience that none of the other three people who are on either ticket have, and that is she has the experience of being a mayor, which I think is very important. I think mayors across the country will tell you that running the city or running the town is a totally different experience from any other kind of government. Your constituents are right there.

Q So is that a suggestion that at some level she has more experience than Senator McCain?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I think she has a different experience. She's the mother of five kids. She's doing that while she's worked. She was pregnant when I was last with her at the National Governors Association and since had that baby. I just have a lot of admiration for her, and I think she brings a judgment and a common sense to this that is just terrific.

Q Well, Mrs. Bush, it's good to see you again.

MRS. BUSH: Thanks, John.

Q We'll let you go because you've got a busy schedule. We look forward to you speaking some time this week.

MRS. BUSH: Thanks a lot. I hope I'll get to.

Q Many times I've seen you before, particularly at the White House Correspondents Association dinner -- you bring the house down. Appreciate it.

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much.

Q Thank you so much.

END 6:31 A.M. CDT

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