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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
December 3, 2008
Interview of the First Lady by Gretchen Carlson, "FOX & Friends," FOX News
7:43 A.M. EST
Q Good morning to you, Mrs. Bush.
MRS. BUSH: Good morning. How are you, Gretchen?
Q I'm doing just fine. Well, so many people have been waiting for the announcement this morning. I'm seeing a lot of red, white and blue behind you. Please tell us what the theme is for 2008.
MRS. BUSH: That's right, it's "A Red, White and Blue Holiday" here at the Christmas -- at the White House. We're very excited about it. This is a theme that a lot of Americans have suggested to me over the years. The only theme that's ever been suggested in letters was to have "A Red, White and Blue Holiday," so that's what we're having this year for the election year and also just for a very patriotic -- a last Christmas for us here, so we're really thrilled about it.
Q You talk about the fact that we have the blessings of freedom that we should enjoy, and that this will renew our sense in what is important in our lives right now. And one of the things, of course, is where the Christmas tree came from. Tell us a little bit about it, because I understand it came from North Carolina.
MRS. BUSH: That's right, the Christmas tree came from North Carolina. The Christmas tree growers there at River Ridge Farm gave it to the White House. They were picked by the National Christmas Tree Association as the master Christmas tree growers this year.
So, it's a beautiful Fraser fir; you can see it behind me. And we have to remove the chandelier from the Blue Room, because the tree goes all the way to the ceiling.
Q And the 369 ornaments -- extra special this year.
MRS. BUSH: That's right.
Q I understand that you asked members of Congress to get local artists from their community. And there's one ornament in particular that you'd like to show me.
MRS. BUSH: I thought you might want to see this one. This is a young artist; she's only eight years old. She has a brain tumor, she's suffering with a brain tumor, and her vision is affected by that. But she still could see well enough to do this beautiful ornament of the Virginia state bird, the cardinal. And her congressman, Congressman Eric Cantor, was the one that designated her to decorate the ornament for the Christmas tree. And yesterday was the party for the ornament decorators, all the Christmas tree decorators, and she was here. And it was great to see her.
Q That must have been a very special moment for her, as well. I want to move on to the gingerbread house, because this thing took two months to put together, and this year 350 pounds of white chocolate.
MRS. BUSH: Isn't it unbelievable. It's so -- it's really architecturally very exact. It's one of the most exact Christmas tree -- I mean, of gingerbread houses we've ever had. And I think it's really so beautiful in the white chocolate.
Q And then we have the replicas of the former Presidents' homes. Tell us a little bit about that.
MRS. BUSH: Those are back from Christmas 2001 here, when the theme was "Home for the Holidays." Like many, many other families in the United States, we go to the attic and we bring back our decorations from Christmas past. And so this year, because of the patriotic theme, we thought the presidential homes would also be great for people to see again in the Cross Hall downstairs.
Q In the East Room, we have the traditional crèche, the Nativity scene.
MRS. BUSH: This is a beautiful crèche that was given to the White House, and it's been here in this place of honor every single Christmas since it was given in 1957*. And it really is quite lovely.
Q And maybe my favorite display so far this year, Mrs. Bush, are these poinsettias. Explain to us -- 250 of them, but they're displayed in a particular way.
MRS. BUSH: That's called a dazzler tree, and it is a dazzler, isn't it? It's a beautiful, layered, red and white candy-striped poinsettias, and I think it's so pretty. It's in what's called the Palm Room that goes from the White House Residence into the Oval Office, into the West Wing. And you can see that by those dazzlers is Mount Vernon. We thought it was a perfect place for our first President's home.
Q Of course, on January 20th you will be leaving the White House after eight successful years there as a very popular First Lady. I know you've said in interviews past that you're going to continue with some of your missions. I saw in an interview, though, that you did with your husband recently, where he was asked -- you were asked about your accomplishments, and he answered for you. And it made me wonder how tough is it on a President and a First Lady to be in the White House, and how much of a relief will it be in your relationship to be back at home?
MRS. BUSH: Well, I think it's going to be actually great for our relationship to be back home. I'm hoping that George will take over grilling again -- (laughter) -- he hasn't done that in the last eight years.
But we leave here obviously with mixed feelings. We've loved every minute of it. It's just such a huge privilege to be able to serve the people of the United States and represent them, like I've been privileged to do, around the world.
But we also go home to our home state. We're happy to be going back to a more normal lifestyle. And so we look forward to that, as well.
Q Another member of your family, George Bush's mother, Barbara Bush, just released from the hospital in the last day. A lot of people across the country are wondering how she's doing.
MRS. BUSH: She's doing fine. We talked to her last night, and she's recovering very well. And we're very, very grateful.
Q Well, it's a patriotic theme at the White House this year. Thank you so much for sharing that theme with us this morning, Mrs. Bush.
MRS. BUSH: Thanks again.
Q And we hope to see you again before you do leave the White House.
MRS. BUSH: Okay, we'll see you. Thank you very much. Happy holidays.
Q To you, as well.
END 7:48 A.M. EST