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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
December 3, 2008

Interview of the First Lady by David Gregory, "Today Show", NBC News
Cross Hall and Blue Room

8:23 A.M. EST

Q Good morning, and happy holidays, Mrs. Bush. It's great to see you. You have such a flair for decorating the White House at this time of year.

MRS. BUSH: Well, thank you very much.

Q And this only brings in the holidays. So let's walk through the Cross Hall here and talk about this theme for this year and how you arrived at it.

MRS. BUSH: Well, the theme this year is "A Red, White and Blue Holiday." We thought it was the perfect theme for -- a patriotic theme for our last year here, as well as for an election year.

Q Right.

MRS. BUSH: And so it was easy to bring out all those red ornaments and recycle them and use them again. And then --

Q Well, let's talk about the ornaments inside.

MRS. BUSH: -- add the red, white and blue, which I think look so pretty.

Then this, of course, is the magnificent Christmas tree, and it's covered with ornaments. Each -- we asked each congressman and senator to designate an artist from their district, and so they did, and we have -- so we have all 50 states and territories -- some territories represented.

Q Eighteen-and-a-half feet, right, from North Carolina, this fir?

MRS. BUSH: That's right, isn't it beautiful?

Q It's really lovely.

MRS. BUSH: It's a Fraser fir and it's so fresh; you can really smell it in here. It smells like the holidays.

Q Do you have a couple of favorites here on the tree, some of these balls?

MRS. BUSH: We have some very interesting ones. I like -- this one, I think, is really a great one. It's Indiana and you can see the fly away that Indiana is with all the birds that are there. And as we move around the tree, I'll show you a couple from Texas that I think are pretty terrific. The famous jackalope from Texas is here.

Q Oh, that's beautiful.

MRS. BUSH: Here are some animals running -- just running through.

Q Yes. (Laughter.)

MRS. BUSH: This is our youngest artist, an eight-year-old from Virginia who did the Virginia state bird, the cardinal. She -- her name is Katie Schools and she has a brain tumor, so her sight is affected, but you can see she's still a wonderful artist.

Q Let me ask you. This is -- as your days wind down in the White House, this has to be kind of a bittersweet holiday season, not just you personally but because of the economy so many families are in such pronounced need around the country.

MRS. BUSH: That's right, absolutely. And we're -- I'm very aware of that, of people worrying about the economy and worrying about their own jobs and their families and their children and wanting their children to have a happy holiday.

But I do want to encourage people to realize what really matters at the holidays, and that is being with your family and your friends, and I think can we get a lot of emotional comfort from our friends.

Q We've got to go. Mrs. Bush, thank you. We're back in just a moment.

MRS. BUSH: Thanks a lot.

END 8:25 A.M. EST

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