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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 2, 2008

Interview of the First Lady by Brian Williams, NBC
Xcel Energy Center
St. Paul, Minnesota

9:10 P.M. CDT

Q We are back from St. Paul tonight, and we are joined by a woman who just addressed this crowd of delegates in introducing her husband, live via satellite from the White House -- First Lady of the United States Laura Bush. Mrs. Bush, thank you very much for being with us.

MRS. BUSH: Thanks, Brian. Good to see you.

Q Your husband has been the standard bearer of this party for two terms. Why isn't he -- as Andrea Mitchell put it on Nightly News, he has access to airplanes -- why isn't he here?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I think he was -- he was planning to be here on Monday night. And then after the hurricane and after going there, it was decided to do it this way.

Q You think it's best for everybody involved?

MRS. BUSH: I think he's sad because he would have loved to have been here in the hall and really seen what the response of the crowd is.

Q How does it feel for you? How does it feel for the extended Bush family? This is, in a way, your farewell as John McCain takes the baton.

MRS. BUSH: That's right. This is my eighth Republican Convention. I can't believe I'm that old --

Q You're not.

MRS. BUSH: -- that I would have been to that many. But, you know, we're looking forward to retirement and, at the same time, we're going to work as hard as we can up until January 20th.

Q Let's talk about Mr. McCain's pick, Governor Palin. Have you ever met her before?

MRS. BUSH: I have met Governor Palin. I've met her several times. In fact, George and I stopped in Alaska on the way to the Olympics. We stopped there to see our troops, and we were with Governor Palin.

I'm thrilled about the choice of Governor Palin. She's a reformer, she's been a mayor, she's been a governor. She has those two jobs that are real executive jobs. And I think she'll make a really, really wonderful vice president. I'm so proud that I'm going to get to vote for a Republican woman on this ticket.

Q People who might react negatively to some of the news coming out -- her daughter is about to become a teenage mother. Your view on what you've learned about her in the last few days?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I know a lot about her, and I think she's really terrific. And I will say that I think children are really nobody else's business and that that's not something that people should concern themselves with. She's a wonderful mother, and everyone can tell that from how close her family is.

Q You said on FOX News yesterday, the other side -- meaning the Democrats -- will have to be particularly careful. What were you talking about? What did you mean?

MRS. BUSH: Well, the question that was asked was, did I think there would be sexism. And I wonder if we aren't already seeing a little bit of it. But I think it's -- you know, when a woman runs, there are -- women are held to some different standard, I think, than men. No one would be talking about a man's children and how many children they had, or any other thing about their children. So I think it's really important that we treat Sarah Palin the same way.

Q I want to ask you about that. Do you see any examples of it? Is it -- the other side is also coming after her on the merits, countering the executive experience point by pointing out she was the mayor of a very, very small town, and Alaska's relative population.

MRS. BUSH: And I think that really sounds a little bit elitist, to act like because it's a small -- you could say Alaska is the largest state in the nation, which, of course, it is, geographically. But she's very experienced. Not only is she experienced, she's got really great judgment. And I think that's what's really important.

Q You think she's the best pick for Senator McCain --

MRS. BUSH: I think she is an absolutely brilliant pick for Senator McCain.

Q -- as they say, to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

MRS. BUSH: Absolutely.

Q And do you think the party will go through -- from what you've heard in this gathering, is their excitement? Have you sampled any trepidation?

MRS. BUSH: I think there's huge excitement. I think you could tell that when I spoke and talked about Sarah. I think there's huge excitement in the party.

Q Would you tell me if you'd sampled any trepidation among members of the party or your own family?

MRS. BUSH: I would tell you, sure. And not one person has said one thing to me but being really thrilled about it.

Q What are we to make of the pledge about you not having to give any speeches? (Laughter.) Is that just -- do you get anything in return for violating that?

MRS. BUSH: No, I'm not going to -- after January, I guess I won't have to give any more speeches.

Q Oh, you know you won't be able to stop. You've come -- you've become quite adept at it. And you certainly had the attention of this crowd tonight.

Mrs. Bush, thank you very much for coming by and talking to us.

MRS. BUSH: Thank you, Brian. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

END 9:15 P.M. CDT

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