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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 12, 2008

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Senate Spouses Luncheon
State Dining Room

12:00 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH:  Welcome, everyone, to the Senate Spouses luncheon.  I always look forward to this very special occasion, and I have a special welcome for my mother-in-law, Barbara Bush, who has joined us for this Senate Spouses luncheon.  (Applause.)

When President Bush, my father-in-law, was President of the Senate, as Vice President, Bar was very active with the Senate Spouses.  She loved her time with everyone there -- for all of you who were around then, I know you remember.  So she wanted to come to this last one.  This is the only one of the eight that I've hosted that she's been able to come to.  And so I want to welcome the grandmother of the bride.  (Applause.)

I will admit that when we scheduled this for the -- right after the wedding weekend, we did discuss it at great length, and I think maybe it sounded like a good idea at the time.  (Laughter.)  We are tired.  But it was really terrific.  I thought you all -- one of the reasons I thought it would be fun to have this lunch right after the wedding is for me to be able to tell you a few things about the wedding.

It was just perfect.  It was exactly the way Jenna wanted it.  She was absolutely beautiful.  If you've seen any of the pictures, you can tell how pretty she was.  And the ranch was absolutely beautiful.  We had wildflowers blooming.  They weren't quite at the peak, but there were lots of flowers blooming everywhere, and it was so green and pretty. 

And we did have a little -- one setback on Friday night.  While we were off in another town at the rehearsal dinner there was a tornado.  (Laughter.)  So we had all the -- all the catering ovens were turned over and the sides were ripped off the tent.  But everyone worked wildly and you couldn't even tell the next night.  It was just perfect, everything was great.

We had -- I know you all have heard that the President had this beautiful limestone cross built on this peninsula in our lake, and that's where they got married, in front of this limestone cross that is the same limestone that our house is built from.  So that was very perfect.  And just as they said their vows, the sun dropped and the moon came up.  So it was really, really lovely, and the way we wanted it to be. 

You know that Henry asked Jenna to marry him at the very first place you can see the sun -- sunrise in the United States, at the top of Cadillac Mountain in Maine, and got her up real early to hike up to the top of this mountain.  (Laughter.)  She said she was very grumpily hiking up, and her legs were cold, everything.  And then they were there for sunrise.  So that was great that they were -- got to get married at moonrise.

So we had a really wonderful time.  It was a great weekend of family and friends.  It was all of George's brothers and sister and their family, Barbara and Jenna's cousins that they're both very close to, and my mother -- and then, mainly, friends of the couple, which made it really fun.  So there was a lot of wild dancing until 3:00 a.m.  (Laughter.)  But I can assure you none of us, of the older people, made it that long.  (Laughter.) 

Well, I wanted to tell you what I want to give a contribution to in your honor.  This is a nostalgic Senate Spouses lunch, because it's the last one, and I've enjoyed all of them very much and enjoyed my friendship with each of you.  So thank you all very much for that.  But I thought it would be great to make a contribution in your name to the American University of Afghanistan.  I got to go when that university was first announced, and it's a great example of how the United States and Afghanistan are working together to help Afghan people rebuild their lives.

Since 2002, the United States government -- these are your spouses that have approved this -- has provided $343 million in funding for Afghan education initiatives, and an additional $85 million has been requested in the 2008 budget.  Organizations like U.S.-Afghan Women's Council are adding to this support by giving individual citizens the opportunity to invest in the Afghan people.

So I've seen the great results of this on my trips when I've been there.  I haven't been there since American University opened, but I've met with the President of the American University of Kabul a couple of times.  And I can tell you, from meeting with women from Afghanistan, it's so important that we help them really build the country they want.  After all we've been through together, both countries, if we have setbacks and don't complete this, and make sure girls and women always have the right to be educated in Afghanistan, then we will have missed a really wonderful opportunity.

So thank you all for coming today.  I hope you enjoy your lunch, and it's great to have you.  (Applause.)

END         12:05 P.M. EDT

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