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

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

Interview of the First Lady by ABC News, "Good Morning America"

7:07 A.M. CDT

Q Always a pleasure, Mrs. Bush, to spend some time with you.

MRS. BUSH: Thanks, Robin.

Q We heard Martha Raddatz talk about your husband is heading to Texas to be able to spend some time with evacuees and emergency responders. Have you had a chance to talk to him this morning on how he feels preparations are going?

MRS. BUSH: I didn't -- I haven't talked to him this morning, but I did obviously talk to him last night. After I got here, I called him. And I think everything is going very, very well. I think we really learned a lot of lessons from Katrina, and the coordination between the local, state and federal government is going to be a lot better, which is really going to be great. There are supplies prepositioned around the hurricane area. That's one reason the President is going to Texas today, to Austin and San Antonio, where some of these supplies are prepositioned; to be able to get help as soon as possible, as soon as we really know what the damage of the hurricane is going to be.

But what you said earlier is right. This time, people evacuated. And I think that's going to make a huge difference to keep people safe.

Q That was the biggest lesson learned by some of the people who stayed there. What do you think is the biggest lesson that your husband took away from Katrina?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I think really the importance of being able to coordinate each level of government with each other. I think that's -- one of the big failings from Katrina was that local, state and federal were not that coordinated, and that was a problem. And this time I think they really will be. And so I think we've learned a lot of lessons that will serve the United States very well for any sort of disaster, not just this hurricane. But I'm so sad for the people on the Gulf Coast. I know your family is from Pass Christian --

Q Yes, ma'am.

MRS. BUSH: -- I hope they've evacuated. And it's just so sad for them because so many things are now rebuilt. I'm worried about the schools. I've spent a lot of time in schools across the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina, and so many schools were back up and running and doing so well. And so I hope that people won't have to be away very long, that they'll be able to get right back home and get their children right back into school.

Q Yes, and the folks down there really appreciate the time that you have spent there on the Coast.

You are not going to speak tonight. No one is really speaking; just doing business that needs to be done. People can understand the changes to the schedule. So what -- are you going to meet with Louisiana delegates? What is your plan today?

MRS. BUSH: That's right. I'm going to meet with -- Cindy McCain and I are going to go to the Louisiana delegation breakfast in just a little while and meet with them. Some of them have gone home; some of them chose to go on home when they heard about the hurricane. But I will meet with them. I hope to meet with other delegates. I know the delegates are disappointed. We have the whole backdrop here behind me of the convention, and I know everybody was hoping they could have the big celebration that they wanted to have around the nomination of Senator McCain and Governor Palin from Alaska.

But on the other hand, everybody understands. All the delegates understand, and everyone's eyes are on the Gulf Coast, from across the country, and hoping for -- hoping for the best, and hoping that the damage will not be too severe, and that people will be able to get right back to their homes there.

Q You've had a chance to meet Governor Palin in the past.

MRS. BUSH: That's right.

Q Tell us what you know about her, and what you think she brings to the ticket.

MRS. BUSH: Well, I'm thrilled that she's on the ticket. I'm getting my wish -- I'm going to get to vote for a Republican woman for vice president this time, and I'm so excited about it.

She brings a wealth of experience, different experience from any of the other three people who were on the two tickets. She has been a mayor, which I think mayors across the country will appreciate very much. She knows really what it's like to run a local government, to run a government when your constituents are so close to you. She also has been a reformer as a Governor, and I know that's very important to Senator McCain and to other people who are supporting Senator McCain and Governor Palin.

And then, of course, she has the experience of raising five kids while she has had these jobs, and I think for a lot of people, a lot of women especially, we look at her and we admire her, the way she's lived her life. She comes from a state where people are strong, and a Western state, that state of Alaska, that produces really strong women, particularly. And I like her good, sound judgment and her good, common sense. I think that's what she brings to this ticket.

Q Well, people are looking forward to learning more about her. And I feel bad -- you had a speech all planned tonight, and now --

MRS. BUSH: That's right, I had a speech all planned, but --

Q You have an audience here, Mrs. Bush. What's your message? You've got the GMA audience.

MRS. BUSH: That's right. I was going to talk a lot about Senator McCain and talk about Cindy McCain, who is so accomplished and has already done so many things. She was just recently in Tbilisi, Georgia, with the World Food Program, delivering supplies there. And I admire her very, very much. I was also, of course, going to talk about my husband. This is the eighth Republican Convention I've been to. Obviously, I wanted to make just a few rebuttals to some things that were said at the last convention that I think are important.

So I'm going to still visit with delegations today and get to see people who are here. The Republicans, obviously, have to meet. They have business that they have to take care of, legal business, to make the nomination a fact.

Q Still work to be done. Mrs. Bush, if we don't get a chance to speak before you leave office, thank you for the service that you have done. We really do appreciate you.

MRS. BUSH: Thank you so much, Robin.

Q You take care.

END 7:14 A.M. CDT

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