WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former first lady Laura Bush is defending President Obama's decision to address the nation's school children, telling CNN Monday that it is "really important for everyone to respect the President of the United States."
"I think that there is a place for the President of the United States to talk to school children and encourage school children, and I think there are a lot of people that should do the same," she told CNN's Zain Verjee, in an interview set to air Monday on The Situation Room. "And that is encourage their own children to stay in school and to study hard and to try to achieve the dream that they have."
The former first lady said she believed criticism of the speech had arisen because of the accompanying lesson plans. If parents are opposed to the address, said Bush, "That's their right. You know that certainly is the right of parents to choose what they want their children to hear in school… (But) I think it's also really important for everyone to respect the President of the United States."
Does she think it's fair to criticize Obama, as some have, by labeling him a socialist? "I'd have no idea whether it's fair, do you think I thought it was fair when President Bush was criticized - not really. So, I guess not," she responded.
(CNN) – Former First Lady Laura Bush - who has kept a low profile since her husband's administration came to an end - is speaking out on a cause she championed while in the White House: the ongoing situation in Burma.
In a Washington Post op-ed set to be published in the paper's Sunday edition, Bush draws parallels between the events in Iran and Burma (Myanmar), and urges the United Nations to press the ruling regime there to end human rights abuses.
"In the past 21 months, the number of political prisoners incarcerated by the junta has doubled," Bush writes in the op-ed. "Within the past 10 days, two Burmese citizens were sentenced to 18 months in prison. Their offense: praying in a Buddhist pagoda for the release of the jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. That is only the tip of the regime's brutality."
Suu Kyi, under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years, had been expected to be freed by the military junta last month, until the new subversion charge was filed. Suu Kyi is accused of violating her house arrest by offering temporary shelter to American John William Yettaw, who swam to her lakeside home on May 3. She said she doesn't know Yettaw, didn't know of his plans and didn't do anything wrong.
Related: Myanmar's Suu Kyi turns 64 in prison
Her supporters say the arrest is meant to keep her confined so she cannot participate in the general elections that the junta has scheduled for next year. President Obama urged for her release last month.
In her op-ed, Bush also says the ruling regime has forced tens of thousands of child soldiers into its army, closed churches and mosques, and imprisoned comedians and bloggers who take aim at the government.
"With U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon planning to visit Burma this summer, it is crucial that he press the regime to take immediate steps to end human rights abuses, particularly in ethnic minority areas," writes Bush. "There have been 38 U.N. resolutions condemning these abuses, yet the horrors continue unabated. Under the junta's brutal rule, too many lives have been wasted, lives whose talents could have helped all of Burma prosper."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former first lady Laura Bush said Monday she knows why former Vice President Dick Cheney feels the need to attack President Obama's policies, and publicly defend his own administration's legacy.
But she explained why her husband, former President George Bush, has not given any public interviews or commented critically on the new administration since leaving office in January.
"I think that's [Cheney's] right as a citizen of the U.S., and I think he also feels obligated, and so I understand why he wants to speak out," Laura Bush said in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America broadcast Monday. "On the other hand, George feels like as a former president that he owes President Obama his silence on issues, and that there's no reason to second guess any decisions that he makes."
BENTON HARBOR, Michigan (CNN) – Former President George W. Bush said Thursday that if Laura Bush hadn't been first lady, he isn't sure he could have counted on her vote.
"I can promise you that her life dream when she was growing up was not to be first lady of the United States," he told a Michigan audience in one of his first major domestic speeches since leaving the White House. "Frankly, I am not so sure that if we hadn't married she'd have voted for me."
Bush continued: "There's a lot of pressure in the White House as I'm sure you can imagine. Pressure sometimes can make a marriage stronger or weaker. In my case because of her patience and her enthusiasm, it made our marriage a really good marriage."
The pressure of the presidency, he said, weighs most on family members.
"It's much harder to be the son of the president than to be the president. And it's much harder to be the father of the president than to be the president," he said. "And I used to have to admonish him not pay attention to what they were writing on the editorial pages about his son. I had gone through the same agony myself. And so I am confident that the end of the presidency is a great relief because of our strong love."
(CNN) –- Just over a month since they left 1600 Pennsylvania Ave for a quiet Dallas neighborhood, former first lady Laura Bush said she and her husband are “back to our old routine.”
In her first post-White House interview, the former first lady told ABC News that she and former President George W. Bush were enjoying coffee together every morning, holding dinner parties with friends, and dealing with the hunt for furniture. “Life is great,” she said.
"We have very little furniture. We don't have a kitchen table or a dining room table," said Bush. "Friends loaned me a kitchen table, and the other night I had 16 people for dinner, and I had to borrow chairs from the Secret Service next door.”
Laura Bush says her husband is meeting the neighbors, making trips to the hardware store, and catching up on some reading via a Kindle. His latest read is a novel given to him for Christmas by former Vice President Dick Cheney.
And while Laura Bush lived and breathed politics for the last eight years, the former first lady said she did not watch President Obama's first address to Congress because she simply forgot.
(CNN) –- The White House said Wednesday President Bush will go directly to Midland, Texas after leaving Washington on Inauguration Day.
White House spokesperson Dana Perino said the President and First Lady Laura Bush will leave Andrews Air Force Base, and fly to Midland for a “welcome home event” in Centennial Plaza on the town square. They will fly on one of the jets he used as Air Force One during his presidency, though it will have a different designation that day.
Midland was the site of his send-off rally when he left for Washington before taking office in January 2001. The president lived in Midland as he was growing up, and it is the first lady’s hometown.
The President and Mrs. Bush will then fly to Waco, and go to their ranch in Crawford for the first night after leaving the White House.
(CNN) – First Lady Laura Bush has secured a book deal with Scribner to publish her memoir, which promises to include “intimate” details about her eight years living in the White House.
Mrs. Bush, the famously private First Lady, consistently remained popular among Americans even as her husband’s approval rating dropped lower and lower. Scribner did not announce how much it is paying Mrs. Bush for her book.
Scribner, a division of Simon and Schuster, won a bidding war among top publishers for the rights to publish her memoir. Scribner editor-in-chief Nan Graham, will edit the book, which is scheduled to be published in 2010.
“As a rare witness to the private moments of one of our country’s most consequential presidencies, and as a First Lady who has maintained a notable level of discretion, her memoir will provide a candid and personal perspective, and an enduring record, of the years that have already determined the course of the 21st century,” Susan Moldow, executive vice president and publisher of Scribner, said in a press release.
(CNN) - First Lady Laura Bush said that although she “wasn’t amused” when an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at her husband, she sees the incident as a sign that “Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves.”
Earlier this month, an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at President Bush during a news conference in Baghdad. Bush ducked, and the shoes, flung one at a time, sailed past his head.
“It was an assault. And that's what it is,” the first lady said in an interview that aired Sunday on “Fox News.”
“And the president laughed it off. He wasn't hurt. He's very quick. As you know, he's a natural athlete. And that's it. But on the other hand, it is an assault, and I think it should be treated that way,” she said.
During the incident, the shoe-thrower - identified as Muntadhar al-Zaidi – could be heard yelling in Arabic: "This is a farewell ... you dog!" Al-Zaidi is an Iraqi journalist with Egypt-based al-Baghdadia television network.
Hurling shoes at someone, or sitting so that the bottom of a shoe faces another person, is considered an insult among Muslims.
Asked if she thinks someone who attacks another person should be released, Bush said, “that’s going to be up to the Iraqis.”
“And they'll do whatever. But I know that if Saddam Hussein had been there, the man wouldn't have been released. And he probably wouldn't - you know, would have been executed.
“So it is - as bad as the incident is, in my view, it is a sign that Iraqis feel a lot freer to express themselves,” she said.
Muntadhar al-Zaidi goes on trial Wednesday (Dec. 31) on charges of assaulting a foreign leader. Conviction could mean a prison sentence of up to two years.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President and Mrs. Bush will be moving to Dallas after Mr. Bush leaves office, the White House announced Thursday. “The President and Mrs. Bush have purchased a home in the Preston Hollow neighborhood in Dallas, Texas,” Sally McDonough, Mrs. Bush’s press secretary, said in the statement.
The Bushes lived in Dallas from December 1988 through January 1995. They moved to Austin after Mr. Bush was elected Texas governor in November 1994. The president was partial owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team during part of their time living in Dallas.
During the latter part of Bush’s presidency, the first lady had made it known that Dallas would be their primary residence after leaving the White House, not the president’s beloved Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas.
“I like Crawford,” the president told a crowd at a Houston fundraiser in July. “Unfortunately, after eight years of asking [the first lady] to sacrifice, I’m now no longer the decision maker.” The Bushes will continue to spend some time at the ranch, according to the statement.
As to the specifics of their new home, the Bushes “do not have occupancy of the home, and therefore, no additional details will be provided,” McDonough said.
(CNN) – Republicans are rejoicing. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Democrats say goodbye to dreams of a filibuster-proof super-majority after losing the Senate runoff in Georgia. CNN’s Dana Bash breaks down the significance of Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss’s win, and its implications on a national level.
Plus: CNN International lands an exclusive interview with former President Bill Clinton, his first since his wife’s nomination to be Secretary of State. Hear what the former president had to say about Hillary Clinton’s reaction to the nomination and his involvement in her upcoming political decisions.
CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux reports on the Obama/Clinton relationship, and how it could play out in the upcoming administration.
Also: The festivities surrounding President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration could be the biggest Washington has ever seen. CNN’s Jim Acosta takes a look at planning of the historic event during difficult financial times.
Finally: Happy Holidays from the White House! First lady Laura Bush gives CNN a look at the presidential Christmas tree, and opens up about her meeting with Michelle Obama.
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