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Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration Officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.

Today's guest: Mrs. Bush

Mrs. Bush
July 1, 2003

Mrs. Bush
Hello, I'm Laura Bush and I want to thank everyone for writing in with their questions and their comments. There are way too many for me to answer all of them so I'm going to choose some that have to do with what I'm most interested in.

Jim, from Bluefield, WV writes:
I am an education major in my first year of college and was wondering if you had any advice for a future teacher. Thanks for answering my question.

Mrs. Bush
Jim, I want to congratulate you for choosing teaching as a career. I think education and teachers play the most important roles in our society. I taught and I loved every minute of teaching. The most important advice I have for a future teacher is to make sure to spend everyday in the classroom helping each child and treating every single child with dignity and respect.

Kim, from Western Kentucky writes:
Hi Mrs. Bush, What an honor it is to have you hosting today! I will be graduating in a year in a library science program. I was wondering if you could impart some pearls of wisdom about how one can best inspire children to read--especially when children are so video game oriented these days. Thank you!

Mrs. Bush
Inspiring children to read is the most fun part of working in a library! The best way to inspire children is to read to them. This is great advice for all parents and grandparents. Children who have been read to learn to love to read, especially if the people who read to them are the people they love. All of us need to work together to surround children with books.

Stuart, from United Kingdom writes:
Hello Mrs Bush

I have always wondered does the White House have a library? We are looking forward to seeing you on your state visit to the United Kingdom in October with the President.

May god bless the President and the American people for making the world a safer place.

With kind regards


Mrs. Bush

Thanks for writing in. The White House does have a library. The collection centers on the lives of Presidents. It is a lovely room which was decorated by Jackie Kennedy and it is a room that I use quite often for interviews and meetings. President Bush and I are both looking forward to our visit to the United Kingdom this fall.

Eric, from Stuttgart, Germany U.S. military writes:
Mrs. Bush, first please let me thank you for putting emphasis back on the Troops to Teachers program. As I near retirement from the military, I'm excited that the program is back in the spotlight.

My question concerns the Troops to Teachers program. I understand and I could be incorrect that the program, under it's current policies will phase out in 2007. Do you expect there to be an extension of the program at that time? Additionally, do you believe there may be an enlargement of the program to include subjects besides math, science, and special education?

Thank you for your time in answering my question. May God bless you and the United States.

Mrs. Bush
Eric, thanks for this great question. This gives me the chance to let people know about the Troops to Teachers program. The Troops to Teachers program is funded under the No Child Left Behind Act and it is a program to encourage retiring military to teach back in their hometowns or wherever they want to retire.

And yes, I certainly hope it will be continued past FY 2007 and the way I understand it now, retiring military personnel can teach any subject that they are prepared for.

Congratulations for considering the Troops to Teachers program and thanks for your service to our country.

Elva, from West Virginia writes:
How would you feel if your daughters were serving in Iraq right now?

Mrs. Bush
I would be proud and anxious. I know the family members of our servicemen and women who are serving in Iraq and other places around the world are proud of their loved ones and are praying and hoping for their safe return home.

I've met many young women and men who serve our country in the military and I'm very proud of all of them.

Susan, from Durham NC writes:
Mrs. Bush: I admire how you can keep so calm and collected in times of great stress, particularly immediately after September 11th. How do you manage to handle your stress so well? Does exercise help you-how do you do it?

Thank you very much.
Durham NC

Mrs. Bush
I am very careful with my health. I do exercise as does the President. We both like to be outside and take walks together. We go to bed early and get up early. All of these things help us relieve stress, but our favorite stress reduction technique is playing with our animals - Barney, Spot and Willie (the cat), who seldom makes public appearances.

Wulf, from San Lorenzo, CA writes:
Mrs Bush, Almost every speech I have heard, the President mentions that you are doing a great job as First Lady. Well I agree. You are a great First Lady! We would like to see you in Northern CA during the campaign. What has been the most memorable event since you became Our First Lady?

Mrs. Bush
Certainly the most memorable event for me and no doubt all Americans was September 11, 2001. The anxiety and grief that we felt on that day will be something we'll remember our whole lives. The results of that day are something I'll also remember and that is the efforts made by so many Americans to help others, the flags that went up all over the United States, the money that was raised by children to help the victims of September 11 and the children of Afghanistan. The Sunday after September 11, the Psalm that was read at the Camp David chapel, Psalm 27:8, 13 "Thy face Lord do I seek, I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" expresses what I saw in America.

Nitin, from Buffalo,NY writes:
What message would you like to give to the kids?

Mrs. Bush
Read as many books as you can. Reading well requires practice so the more you read the easier reading will become. People who have read widely do better in school and on all standardized tests. But most important, reading can fill your life with interest.

The President tells children to be sure to listen to your mother and as a mother I think that is really good advice.

William, from Dayton writes:
Dear Mr. President and Mrs. President, my name is William. I'm 8 and live in Dayton Ohio. I have a brother named Henry. He is 7. My dad says you will be in Dayton July 4th. We are having a cookout and you are invited. My Dad said that is a good plan. My Dad will give you his email address. Can you come ?

Mrs. Bush
Dear William,

We wish we could come and I know President Bush will love being in Dayton for the anniversary of flight. But I'll be at the White House so I can surprise President Bush when he gets home with his birthday party. I've invited friends for his party and to watch the fireworks from the Truman Balcony. It is a surprise, shhhhhhhhh.

Thanks for the invitation and I hope you have a happy fourth!

Steve, from Abilene, TX writes:
Please accept my thanks for providing a forum such as this to ask the questions that nobody seems to know where to get the answers from

My question concerns something I heard several years ago about getting a presidential certificate acknowledging special marital achievements such as a couples 50th wedding anniversary.

If such a program does indeed exist, could you please tell me who I need to contact to have such an acknowledgement for my parents who will be passing that magic mark January 16th, 2004?

Thank you again for you time.

Mrs. Bush
Steve, to ask for an anniversary card for your parents you may refer to the White House web site ( and go to the contact page which provides very specific questions or submit a question in writing by fax to 202 395 1232 or by mail to:

The White House
Attn: Greetings Office
Washington, DC 20502-0039

If you send the request by mail, make sure to send it very early.

Donna, from Jacksonville writes:
As are many Americans, I thank God and pray daily for the President, as well as for you. He has expressed how comforting and humbling it is to know that we are lifting him and his family in prayer. Have you found the same comfort?

My friends and family are so proud to have George W. Bush as our President, because he is a man of honor, courage and integrity. Can you express the feelings of pride you must feel in your husband, the President?

Thank you and please tell the President we love him in Jacksonville, FL.

Mrs. Bush
Dear Donna,

I love your nice note and yes President Bush and I are both comforted by the knowledge that so many people pray for us. Thank you for your prayers.

I am so proud of my husband. He's not only shouldered the burdens of the last couple years with a lot of strength but he has also remained a wonderful husband and a great father to our girls.

Lauren, from Porterville, CA writes:
who is your favorite president besides you husband?

Mrs. Bush
That's easy, my father-in-law President George H.W. Bush and of course my favorite First Lady is my mother-in-law Barbara Bush.

Laura, from Iowa City, Iowa writes:
Hello, Mrs. Bush, thanks for answering our questions. I am a big fan of yours.

My question today is: What kind of responsibilities do you have as First Lady?

Thanks again!!


Mrs. Bush
Dear Laura,

I have no official duties as outlined in the Constitution, but I want to be as constructive as I possibly can be for our country. And because I was a teacher and a school librarian I talk to people a lot and work on the issues that have to do with education.



Virginia, from Rocky Mount, Virginia writes:
Will you be traveling with the President when he visits Africa next week and isn't this considered rather dangerous considering the recent events going on there?

Mrs. Bush
President Bush and I are looking forward to our trip to Africa next week. I'm going to have the chance to meet my counterparts -- the spouses of the Presidents and to visit hospitals and to talk about HIV/AIDS, and the President's plans for AIDS relief in Africa.

We'll also visit an animal preserve and see some of the most fabulous animals in the world.

For more information on the Africa trip, make sure to log-on tomorrow to "Ask the White House" at 2:30pm.

Victor, from Moorhead,MN writes:
Does you husband plan on participating in Ask the White House?

Mrs. Bush
Victor, I'm certainly going to recommend to the President that he participate in "Ask the White House." I've enjoyed reading and answering your questions. Thanks to everybody who wrote in with a question. Happy Fourth of July!

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