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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
February 2, 2007
Interview of Mrs. Bush by Entertainment Tonight
The W Union Square
New York, New York
8:24 A.M. EST
Q Mrs. Bush, this is our preparation to walk the runway for the big fashion show --
MRS. BUSH: You'll be walking the runway. I'll just be watching. (Laughter.)
Q Oh, come on, are you not going to do that? Oh, I was so hoping. (Laughter.)
MRS. BUSH: Thank heavens.
Q Neither am I. But you know what does impress me so is when you come into town for an event, it's not just one little event, it is one event after another. You never seem to get a break.
MRS. BUSH: Well, I do get a break. I got to go out to dinner last night with my daughter, and that was fun. But this -- of course, these two days are filled with, like the rest of the month will be, with all of the different Heart Truth events, getting the message out to women that heart disease is the leading cause of death among American women; that heart disease can be prevented if we all take the simple steps we know we should take to live a healthy lifestyle.
Q What got you involved in this program in the first place?
MRS. BUSH: Well, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute came up with this idea, the Red Dress Project, to get the word out to American women, because women didn't think of heart disease as a woman's disease. They thought it was something that only men got. And because of that, women did not get to the emergency rooms as quickly if they were having symptoms of a heart attack because they really just never took it seriously, never thought they would have a heart attack.
So the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute thought the red dress would be a great symbol, and asked me to be their ambassador. This is the fifth year of the Heart Truth Campaign. And the really good news is this awareness campaign has made many, many more women aware. Deaths are decreasing with heart disease, which is great. The last -- the data shows that there were 17,000 fewer deaths among women last year -- or 2004 -- than there were in 2000, when the campaign started.
The other news about it, though, is that those women are living with heart disease and they --
Q Surviving longer, doing better?
MRS. BUSH: Surviving longer, but also they need the support of women's groups. There's a great group called Women Health, that women who have heart disease can contact for a good support group.
Q How has this translated into your personal life and your family's lives? Because I am sure there must have been some alterations, changes in what you eat at the White House.
MRS. BUSH: That's right. Well, I was always very interested in healthy food, and have been for years, and made a real effort to feed Barbara and Jenna, when they were little, with healthy foods, and of course, fixed healthy food back in the days when I was the cook, which, of course, now I'm so lucky to have a wonderful White House chef. But she's also very careful. She chooses heart-healthy foods for all of us.
I work out, and I started doing that because my husband shamed me into working out because he always does, every single day. So I either walk or I lift weights, and that is healthy.
Q And of course, we know for women and preventing osteoporosis that weight lifting is extremely important, too.
MRS. BUSH: That's right. Really, all of these steps that prevent heart disease are also probably steps that would prevent cancer and just help people live a healthier life. They're exercising, eating healthy foods, watching your weight. Obesity is one of the high risk for heart disease. And it's also important for mothers and fathers to make sure their children have healthy foods, because the increase in childhood obesity now is worrisome for their future, for the future of children in our country.
Q Now, when you took this on, did your girls have a particular reaction to this? Were they terribly proud? Did they say, oh, now, you're going to be really watching what we eat, Mom?
MRS. BUSH: No, I think they're very interested in it. They also, like a lot of people, a lot of their friends and a lot of their generation, are interested in healthy foods and have been for a long time. They both are interested in cooking. I think cooking has become a very popular -- very popular among a lot of young people. And so I think they like it. They know to work out. They started working out as younger girls, I mean a lot earlier than I did, for instance. But women just didn't -- unless you played tennis, there weren't a lot of sports for women my age.
Q So now you have your walking routine. It's something you do religiously. But I know it is not easy to be on the road like you are so much of the year --
MRS. BUSH: That's right.
Q -- it's not even easy to find the right foods to eat. How do you deal with that? How do you make sure that you feel good about how you're exercising?
MRS. BUSH: I usually only exercise at home. So, you're right, if I'm in a hotel I seldom go to the gym. Other people who are with me will go to the gym, but that's always a possibility, always an opportunity for people who travel. And then when I'm in restaurants, I try to order foods that I think are healthy.
Q But you're also at so many formal dinners where you don't, probably, have a chance to say, I would really like to have chicken or fish tonight.
MRS. BUSH: No, that's right, at formal dinners, of course, especially in other countries where you eat what your host offers. But I think all of us just can remember that portion size is what really matters, and just have a little bit.
Q Has there been any time on this endless treadmill that you and your husband have been on that you've said, just stop it for just a moment so we can get back to a semblance of what our real lives were like before this?
MRS. BUSH: Well, we have a real life. I mean, we really do. We have a very normal family life. It's hard to say that when we're in such a beautiful environment as the White House, with the furniture that we get to live with that belongs -- has belonged to other Presidents, and the art and all the things that are so lovely. But we do what everyone else does. We'll watch the Super Bowl this weekend. I think we will probably not have chili while we watch it, but --
Q Or at least not with sour cream and cheese. (Laughter.)
MRS. BUSH: Exactly. But we do all the things that everyone else does. We watch television at home, we read, we work on puzzles, we talk, we have our friends over. We have a lot of family -- a brother and a sister of George's live in the Washington area, so they come over quite often with their kids. We talk to our kids on the phone -- we don't get to see them that often.
Q And I know your in-laws are both doing very, very well.
MRS. BUSH: That's right, they're doing well.
Q And Barbara Bush still is exercising, isn't she?
MRS. BUSH: She's exercised for years, and she swims now. She's 81 years old -- she'll be mad at me for saying it on television, but she can swim a mile at a time. She uses a snorkel, which is a great way to do it so you don't have to turn your head with every breath. But she's tough. She really is.
Q I am so glad to hear that. And it's just so great to know they're doing well, too. But you have to share with me now, do you have a guilty pleasure? (Laughter.) You have to succumb to something.
MRS. BUSH: I would have to say chocolate, of course, is my guilty pleasure. I do like desserts, and so does the President. And when you actually have a pastry chef, it's really hard to --
Q Well, I was going to ask you about your wonderful pastry chef, because I know they want to have all of the best things available at your every beck and call. So how do you avoid that --
MRS. BUSH: Well, I try to just -- I totally avoid it and not have a dessert at all, but every once in a while I have to, of course, because what he has to offer is so great.
Q And you don't find the President sneaking down to the kitchen for a snack, do you?
MRS. BUSH: He doesn't go down for a snack, but he does have dessert almost every night. And of course, he also rides a bike or works out really hard, so he uses a lot of calories.
Q Well, I know you're both working hard. There are so many different things on your plate at all times, so many serious issues. As you look forward to no longer being in office, and you look at the upcoming race, I am just curious -- how do you feel about a woman possibly being in the White House?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I think America is definitely ready for it. Of course, I was hoping it was going to be Dr. Rice, but I think she doesn't want to run.
Q Oh, really? I haven't heard that definitively.
MRS. BUSH: No, I don't think she does. That's too bad. But I'm proud of women. I'm proud that women I'll see around the world -- Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia, the first woman President on the African continent -- I had the chance to go to her inauguration a year ago, and that's exciting.
Q Would you ever run for office?
MRS. BUSH: No, I never would --
Q No interest?
MRS. BUSH: No, I'm not really interested in it. I mean, obviously, I'm interested in politics. I live it. I get to live it every single day. But when George retires from this job in two years I think I'm looking forward to retiring with him.
Q What has been the toughest thing about this job?
MRS. BUSH: Well, of course, the toughest thing has been the war. I mean, September 11th and then what followed with the war on terror, and that's ongoing and probably will last a lot longer than my husband's presidency, just because it's what we're facing in the world, every country -- we happened to have Vaclav Havel for dinner this week -- he was the former President -- is the former President of the Czech Republic. He was a freedom fighter in Czechoslovakia, and had the opportunity to end up being President of a free Central European country, the Czech Republic. And he said to us, he said, you know, it's not America's war on terror, it's everyone's. No one in the world wants to live in a world with terror. No one wants that to -- terrorism to always be a factor and to be afraid of that. And all of us around the world need to say to the people who want to perpetrate those deeds, don't do this. We don't want to live like this; you don't want to live like this; people in your own countries don't want to live like this.
Q Mrs. Bush, do you ever -- I know it would be difficult to do publicly, but do you ever say, George, I don't agree with that?
MRS. BUSH: Sometimes I do, sure. Sometimes I'll tell him -- I won't tell you what issues they are.
Q I understand. Well, that's good to hear. (Laughter.) That is good to hear, that life is that normal.
MRS. BUSH: It's normal.
It's so nice to see you.
MRS. BUSH: Thank you, Mary.
Q Congratulations on all of your fine, fine work in helping all of us women be more aware of our health and taking care of ourselves.
MRS. BUSH: Thank you for getting the word out, as well, to people.
Q I'm glad to help.
MRS. BUSH: The heart truth.
Q And I'll see you at the fashion show.
MRS. BUSH: See you at the fashion show.
Q We may have to get you out on that runway. (Laughter.)
MRS. BUSH: No way. (Laughter.) But I'm glad you're doing it. Thanks, Mary.