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Laura Bush

Laura Bush

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Laura Lane Welch Bush is the wife of the 43rd President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. She was the First Lady of the United States
First Lady of the United States
First Lady of the United States is the title of the hostess of the White House. Because this position is traditionally filled by the wife of the president of the United States, the title is most often applied to the wife of a sitting president. The current first lady is Michelle Obama.-Current:The...

 from January 20, 2001, to January 20, 2009. She has held a love of books and reading since childhood and her life and education have reflected that interest. She graduated from Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University is a private university in Dallas, Texas, United States. Founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, SMU operates campuses in Dallas, Plano, and Taos, New Mexico. SMU is owned by the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church...

 in 1968 with a bachelor's degree
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 in education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 and soon took a job as a second grade school teacher. After attaining her Master's degree
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 in Library Science
Library science
Library science is an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the...

 at the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

, she was employed as a librarian
Librarian
A librarian is an information professional trained in library and information science, which is the organization and management of information services or materials for those with information needs...

. She met George Walker Bush in 1977 and they were married later that year. The couple had twin daughters born to them in 1981.

Bush's political involvement began with her marriage. She campaigned during her husband's unsuccessful 1978 run for the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 and later his successful Texas gubernatorial
Governor of Texas
The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature...

 campaign. As First Lady of Texas, Bush implemented many initiatives focused on health, education, and literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

. In 1999, she aided her husband in campaigning for the presidency of the United States in a number of ways, most notably delivering a keynote address at the 2000 Republican National Convention
2000 Republican National Convention
The 2000 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States convened at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 31 to August 3, 2000. The 2066 delegates assembled at the convention nominated Texas Governor George W. Bush as the Republican candidate for U.S....

, which gained her national attention. She became first lady of the United States after her husband defeated Democrat Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

 in the controversial 2000 election
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

.

Polled by Gallup
The Gallup Organization
The Gallup Organization, is primarily a research-based performance-management consulting company. Some of Gallup's key practice areas are - Employee Engagement, Customer Engagement and Well-Being. Gallup has over 40 offices in 27 countries. World headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Operational...

 as one of the most popular first ladies, Laura Bush was involved in topics of both national and global concern during her tenure. She continued to advance her trademark interests of education and literacy by establishing the semi-annual National Book Festival
National Book Festival
The National Book Festival is an American event organized by the Library of Congress annually in Washington, D.C. Held in early autumn, the festival attracts tens of thousands of people each year . Over fifty nationally published authors, illustrators, and poets are invited for lectures,...

 in 2001 and encouraged education on a worldwide scale. She also advanced women's causes through The Heart Truth
The Heart Truth
The Heart Truth is a campaign meant to raise awareness of the risk of heart disease in women. The campaign is sponsored in the United States by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, an organization of the United States Department of Health and Human Services; a similar campaign is promoted...

 and Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, formerly known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, often referred to as simply Komen, is the most widely known, largest and best-funded breast cancer organization in the US....

. She represented the United States during her foreign trips, which tended to focus on HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

/AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 and malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 awareness. In May 2010, Bush released her memoir, Spoken from the Heart
Spoken from the Heart
Spoken from the Heart is a memoir by former United States First Lady Laura Bush....

, in conjunction with a national tour.

Early life and career


Laura Lane Welch was born in Midland, Texas
Midland, Texas
Midland is a city in and the county seat of Midland County, Texas, United States, on the Southern Plains of the state's western area. A small portion of the city extends into Martin County. As of 2010, the population of Midland was 111,147. It is the principal city of the Midland, Texas...

, as the only child of Harold Welch (1912–1995) and Jenna Louise Hawkins Welch (born 1919). Her father was a home builder and later successful real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

 developer while her mother worked as the bookkeeper for her father's business. Early on, her parents encouraged her to read, leading to what would become her love of reading. She said, "I learned [how important reading is] at home from my mother. When I was a little girl, my mother would read stories to me. I have loved books and going to the library ever since. In the summer, I liked to spend afternoons reading in the library. I enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie
Little House on the Prairie
Little House is a series of children's books by Laura Ingalls Wilder that was published originally between 1932 and 1943, with four additional books published posthumously, in 1962, 1971, 1974 and 2006.-History:...

books and Little Women
Little Women
Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott . The book was written and set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts. It was published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869...

, and many others... Reading gives you enjoyment throughout your life."

She attended James Bowie Elementary School, San Jacinto Junior High School, and Robert E. Lee High School in Midland. She graduated from Lee in 1964 and went on to attend Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University
Southern Methodist University is a private university in Dallas, Texas, United States. Founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, SMU operates campuses in Dallas, Plano, and Taos, New Mexico. SMU is owned by the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church...

 in Dallas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

 where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Alpha Theta , also known as Theta, is an international fraternity for women founded on January 27, 1870 at DePauw University, formerly Indiana Asbury...

. She graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 degree in education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

.

On the night of November 6, 1963, Laura Welch ran a stop sign
Stop sign
A Stop sign is a traffic sign to notify drivers that they must stop before proceeding.-Specifications:The Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals proposed standard stop sign diameters of 0.6, 0.9 or 1.2 metres. UK and New Zealand stop signs are 750, 900 or 1200 mm, according to sign...

, causing a fatal car accident that killed her friend in another car. The driver of the other car was her close friend and classmate Michael Dutton Douglas. By some accounts, he had been Welch's boyfriend at one time. Welch and her passenger, both 17, were treated for minor injuries. According to the accident report released by the city of Midland in 2000, in response to an open-records request, she was not charged in the incident. Bush's spokesman said, "It was a very tragic accident that deeply affected the families and was very painful for all involved, including the community at large." In her book Spoken from the Heart, she says that the accident caused her to lose her faith "for many, many years".

After graduating from SMU, she began her career as a second grade school teacher at Longfellow Elementary School in the Dallas Independent School District
Dallas Independent School District
The Dallas Independent School District is a school district based in Dallas, Texas . Dallas ISD, which operates schools in much of Dallas County, is the second largest school district in Texas and the twelfth largest in the United States.In 2009, the school district was rated "academically...

. She then taught for three years at John F. Kennedy Elementary School, a Houston Independent School District
Houston Independent School District
The Houston Independent School District is the largest public school system in Texas and the seventh-largest in the United States. Houston ISD serves as a community school district for most of the city of Houston and several nearby and insular municipalities...

 school in Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

, until 1972.

In 1973, Welch attained a Master of Science degree
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 in Library Science
Library science
Library science is an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and dissemination of information resources; and the...

 from the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

. She was soon employed as a librarian
Librarian
A librarian is an information professional trained in library and information science, which is the organization and management of information services or materials for those with information needs...

 at the Kashmere Gardens Branch at the Houston Public Library
Houston Public Library
Houston Public Library is the public library system serving Houston, Texas, United States. The library system has its headquarters in the Marston Building in Neartown Houston.-History:It can trace its founding to the Houston Lyceum in 1854...

. The following year, she moved back to Austin
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

 and took another job as a librarian in the Austin Independent School District
Austin Independent School District
Austin Independent School District is a school district that is based in the city of Austin, Texas, United States. It was established in 1881. Its current superintendent is...

 school Dawson Elementary until 1977. She reflected on her employment experiences to a group of children in 2003, saying, "I worked as a teacher and librarian and I learned how important reading is in school and in life."

Marriage and family


She met George W. Bush in July 1977 when mutual friends John and Jan O'Neill invited her and Bush to a backyard barbecue at their home. He proposed to her at the end of September and they were married on November 5 of that year at the First United Methodist Church in Midland, the same church in which she had been baptized
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

. Laura bought a tan, two-toned dress off the rack for the wedding. The couple honeymooned in Cozumel, Mexico.

The year after their marriage, the couple began campaigning for George W. Bush's 1978 Congressional candidacy. According to George Bush, when he asked her to marry him, she had said, "Yes. But only if you promise me that I'll never have to make a campaign speech." She soon relented, and gave her first stump speech for him in 1978 on the courthouse steps in Muleshoe, Texas
Muleshoe, Texas
Muleshoe is a small city in Bailey County, Texas, United States. The town of Muleshoe was founded in 1913 when the Pecos and Northern Texas Railway built an line from Farwell, Texas to Lubbock through northern Bailey County. In 1926, Muleshoe was incorporated. The population was 5,158 at the 2010...

. After narrowly winning the primary
Primary election
A primary election is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election....

, he lost the general election
General election
In a parliamentary political system, a general election is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are chosen. The term is usually used to refer to elections held for a nation's primary legislative body, as distinguished from by-elections and local elections.The term...

.

The Bushes had tried to conceive for three years, but pregnancy
Pregnancy
Pregnancy refers to the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, in a woman's uterus. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets...

 did not happen easily. On November 25, 1981, Laura Bush gave birth to twin daughters, Barbara
Barbara Pierce Bush
Barbara Pierce Bush is the elder of the sororal twin daughters of the 43rd U.S. President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, and the granddaughter of the 41st U.S. President George H. W. Bush, and his wife Barbara Bush, after whom she was named...

 and Jenna
Jenna Bush
Jenna Welch Bush Hager , is the younger of the sororal twin daughters of the 43rd U.S. President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, and a granddaughter of the 41st U.S. President George H. W. Bush. She and her sister, Barbara, were the first twin children of a U.S. President...

. The twins were born five weeks early by an emergency Caesarean section
Caesarean section
A Caesarean section, is a surgical procedure in which one or more incisions are made through a mother's abdomen and uterus to deliver one or more babies, or, rarely, to remove a dead fetus...

, as Laura had developed life-threatening pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia or preeclampsia is a medical condition in which hypertension arises in pregnancy in association with significant amounts of protein in the urine....

 (toxemia). The twins graduated from high school in 2000 and attended Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 and the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

, respectively, in 2004. To date, Bush is the only First Lady to give birth to twins.

George W. Bush credited his wife with his decision to stop drinking in 1986. She is also credited with having a stabilizing effect on his private life. According to People
People (magazine)
In 1998, the magazine introduced a version targeted at teens called Teen People. However, on July 27, 2006, the company announced it would shut down publication of Teen People immediately. The last issue to be released was scheduled for September 2006. Subscribers to this magazine received...

 magazine reporter Jane Simms Podesta, "She is the steel in his back. She is a civilizing influence on him. I think she built him, in many ways, into the person he is today."

Several times a year, Bush and her husband travel to their sprawling family estate, the Bush compound
Bush compound
The Bush compound , is the summer home of 41st President of the United States George H. W. Bush. Located adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean in southern Maine, in the town of Kennebunkport, the property has been a family retreat for more than a century.The estate was purchased in the late 19th century...

, better known as Walker's Point. Located in Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport, Maine
Kennebunkport is a town in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 3,720 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford metropolitan statistical area....

, the compound is where Bush family
Bush family
The Bush family is a prominent American family. Along with many members who have been successful bankers and businessmen, across three generations the family includes two U.S. Senators, one Supreme Court Justice, two Governors, one Vice President and two Presidents...

 gatherings have been held for nearly 100 years.

First Lady of Texas



Bush became the First Lady of Texas when her husband was elected as the Governor of Texas
Governor of Texas
The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature...

 and served as first lady of that state from January 17, 1995, to December 21, 2000. Asked about her interest in politics, she responded, "It doesn't drive me."

Though during her years in the Governor's Mansion
Texas Governor's Mansion
The Texas Governor's Mansion, also known simply as Governor's Mansion is a historic home for the Governor of Texas in downtown Austin, Texas...

, she did not hold a single formal event, Laura worked for women's and children's causes including health, education, and literacy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

. She implemented four major initiatives: Take Time For Kids, an awareness campaign to educate parents and caregivers on parenting; family literacy, through cooperation with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, she urged Texas communities to establish family literacy programs; Reach Out and Read, a pediatric reading program; and Ready to Read, an early childhood educational program.

She raised money for public libraries through her establishment of the Texas Book Festival, and established the First Lady's Family Literacy Initiative, which encouraged families to read together. Bush further established "Rainbow Rooms" across the state, in an effort to provide emergency services for neglect
Neglect
Neglect is a passive form of abuse in which a perpetrator is responsible to provide care for a victim who is unable to care for himself or herself, but fails to provide adequate care....

ed or abused
Child abuse
Child abuse is the physical, sexual, emotional mistreatment, or neglect of a child. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Children And Families define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or...

 children. Through this, she promoted the Adopt-a-Caseworker Program to provide support for Child Protective Services
Child Protective Services
Child Protective Services is the name of a governmental agency in many states of the United States that responds to reports of child abuse or neglect. Some states use other names, often attempting to reflect more family-centered practices, such as "Department of Children & Family Services"...

. She used her position to advocate Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

 and breast cancer awareness
Breast cancer awareness
Breast cancer awareness is an effort to raise awareness of breast cancer and reduce the disease's stigma by educating people about its symptoms and treatment options...

 as well.

Her husband announced his campaign for President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 in mid-1999, something that she agreed to. She did say, however, that she had never dreamed that he would run for office. In July, she delivered a keynote address to the delegates at the 2000 Republican National Convention, which put her on the national stage. In December 2000, her husband resigned as Governor of Texas to prepare for his inauguration as President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 in January 2001.

First Lady of the United States


As First Lady, Bush was involved in issues of concern to children and women, both nationally and internationally. Her major initiatives included education and women's health.

Education and children




Early into the administration, Bush made it known that she would focus much of her attention on education. This included recruiting highly qualified teachers to ensure that young children would be taught well. She also focused on early child development. In 2001, to promote reading and education, she partnered with the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 to launch the annual National Book Festival
National Book Festival
The National Book Festival is an American event organized by the Library of Congress annually in Washington, D.C. Held in early autumn, the festival attracts tens of thousands of people each year . Over fifty nationally published authors, illustrators, and poets are invited for lectures,...

. To promote American patriotic heritage in schools, she helped launch the National Anthem Project
National Anthem Project
The National Anthem Project was a public awareness campaign launched in 2005 as a major initiative of MENC: The National Association for Music Education...

.

Immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

; Bush spoke regarding America's children:

"[W]e need to reassure our children that they are safe in their homes and schools. We need to reassure them that many people love them and care for them, and that while there are some bad people in the world, there are many more good people."


The following day, she composed open letters to America's families, focusing on elementary and middle school students, which she distributed through state education officials. She took an interest in mitigating the emotional effects of the attacks on children, particularly the disturbing images repeatedly replayed on television. On the one-year anniversary, she encouraged parents to instead read to their children, and perhaps light a candle in memoriam, saying, "Don't let your children see the images, especially on September 11, when you know it'll probably be on television again and again — the plane hitting the building or the buildings falling."

Later in her tenure, she was honored by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, as the body named her honorary ambassador for the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

' Decade of Literacy. In this position, she announced that she would host a Conference on Global Literacy. The conference, held in September 2006, encouraged a constant effort to promote literacy and highlighted many successful literacy programs. She coordinated this as a result of her many trips abroad where she witnessed how literacy benefited children in poorer nations.

Women's health


Another of her signature issues were those relating to the health and well being of women. She established the Women's Health and Wellness Initiative and became involved with two major campaigns.

Bush first became involved with The Heart Truth
The Heart Truth
The Heart Truth is a campaign meant to raise awareness of the risk of heart disease in women. The campaign is sponsored in the United States by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, an organization of the United States Department of Health and Human Services; a similar campaign is promoted...

 awareness campaign in 2003. It is an organization established by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is a division of the National Institutes of Health, located in Bethesda, Maryland...

 to raise awareness about heart disease
Heart disease
Heart disease, cardiac disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart. , it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, accounting for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States.-Types:-Coronary heart disease:Coronary...

 in women, and how to prevent the condition. She serves in the honorary position of ambassador for the program leading the federal government's effort to give women a "wake up call" about the risk of heart disease. She commented on the disease: "Like many women, I assumed heart disease was a man's disease and cancer was what we would fear the most. Yet heart disease kills more women in our country than all forms of cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 combined. When it comes to heart disease, education, prevention, and even a little red dress can save lives." She has undertaken a signature personal element of traveling around the country and talking to women at hospital and community events featuring the experiences of women who live, or had lived, with the condition. This outreach was credited with saving the life of one woman who went to the hospital after experiencing symptoms of a heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

.
With her predecessor, former First Lady Nancy Reagan
Nancy Reagan
Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of former United States President Ronald Reagan and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989....

, Bush dedicated the First Ladies Red Dress Collection at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a performing arts center located on the Potomac River, adjacent to the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C...

 in May 2005. It is an exhibit containing red suits worn by former First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson
Lady Bird Johnson
Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor Johnson was First Lady of the United States from 1963 to 1969 during the presidency of her husband Lyndon B. Johnson. Throughout her life, she was an advocate for beautification of the nation's cities and highways and conservation of natural resources and made that...

, Betty Ford
Betty Ford
Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren Ford , better known as Betty Ford, was First Lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977 during the presidency of her husband Gerald Ford...

, Rosalynn Carter
Rosalynn Carter
Eleanor Rosalynn Carter is the wife of the former President of the United States Jimmy Carter and in that capacity served as the First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981. As First Lady and after, she has been a leading advocate for numerous causes, perhaps most prominently for mental...

, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush
Barbara Bush
Barbara Pierce Bush is the wife of the 41st President of the United States George H. W. Bush, and served as First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She is the mother of the 43rd President George W. Bush and of the 43rd Governor of Florida Jeb Bush...

, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush meant to raise awareness by highlighting America's first ladies. She has participated in fashion shows displaying red dresses worn on celebrities as well.

Bush's mother, Jenna Welch, was diagnosed with breast cancer
Breast cancer
Breast cancer is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas...

 at the age of 78. She endured surgery and currently has no further signs of cancer. Laura Bush has become a breast cancer activist on her mother's behalf through her involvement in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, formerly known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, often referred to as simply Komen, is the most widely known, largest and best-funded breast cancer organization in the US....

. She applauded the foundation's efforts in eliminating cancer and said, "A few short years ago, a diagnosis of breast cancer left little hope of recovery. But thanks to the work of the Komen Foundation... more women and men are beating breast cancer and beating the odds." She used her position to gain international support for the foundation through the Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas, an initiative that unites experts from the United States, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

 and Mexico.

In November 2001, she became the first person other than a president to deliver the weekly presidential radio address. She used the opportunity to discuss the plight of women in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

, saying, "The brutal oppression of women is a central goal of the terrorists." In May 2002, she made a speech to the people of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 through Radio Liberty, a radio station in Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

.

Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health



In August 2007, the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health
Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health
Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health within the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center was established in August 2007. LWBIWH began the effort to establish a multi-campus women's health institute across West Texas. LWBIWH has locations in Amarillo, San Angelo, El Paso, Lubbock and the...

 (LWBIWH) within the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center offers programs in Allied Health Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy. TTUHSC's main campus is in Lubbock, but campuses are also located in Abilene, Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso and the Permian Basin...

 was approved. This institute began the effort to establish a multi-campus women's health institute in Amarillo, El Paso, Lubbock and the Permian Basin. The institute seeks to integrate research, education and community outreach in a multidisciplinary approach to women’s health.

Named for Bush's mother, the Jenna Welch Women’s Center of the LWBIWH, opened in Midland, Texas, on August 10, 2010, to deliver expert medical care for women and their families. Operating in partnership with LWBIWH, the Jenna Welch Women's Center strives for excellence in research, education and community outreach.

Popularity and style


Laura Bush's approval ratings have consistently ranked very high. In January 2006, a USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

/CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

/Gallup poll recorded her approval rating at 82 percent and disapproval at 13 percent. That places Bush as one of the most popular first ladies. Former White House Press Secretary
White House Press Secretary
The White House Press Secretary is a senior White House official whose primary responsibility is to act as spokesperson for the government administration....

 Ari Fleischer
Ari Fleischer
On May 19, 2003, he announced that he would resign during the summer, citing a desire to spend more time with his wife and to work in the private sector...

 said, "She is more popular, and more welcome, in many parts of the country than the president... In races where the moderate
Moderate
In politics and religion, a moderate is an individual who is not extreme, partisan or radical. In recent years, political moderates has gained traction as a buzzword....

s are in the most trouble, Laura Bush is the one who can do the most good."

She disagreed with Fox News' Chris Wallace
Chris Wallace (journalist)
Christopher "Chris" Wallace is an American journalist, currently the host of the Fox Network program, Fox News Sunday. Wallace has won three Emmy Awards, the Dupont-Columbia Silver Baton Award, and a Peabody Award. Wallace has been with Fox News since 2003...

 in 2006 when Wallace asked why the American people were beginning to lose confidence in President Bush, saying, "Well, I don't think they are. And I don't really believe those polls. I travel around the country, I see people, I see their response to my husband, I see their response to me. There are a lot of difficult challenges right now in the United States... All of those decisions that the President has to make surrounding each one of these very difficult challenges are hard. They're hard decisions to make. And of course some people are unhappy about what some of those decisions are. But I think people know that he is doing what he thinks is right for the United States, that he's doing what he — especially in the war on terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

, what he thinks he is obligated to do for the people in the United States, and that is to protect them... When his polls were really high they weren't on the front page."

During the January 2005 second inauguration ceremonies for her husband, Laura Bush was looked highly upon by People
People (magazine)
In 1998, the magazine introduced a version targeted at teens called Teen People. However, on July 27, 2006, the company announced it would shut down publication of Teen People immediately. The last issue to be released was scheduled for September 2006. Subscribers to this magazine received...

magazine, The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

, and others for her elegance and fashion sense. At the inauguration she wore a winter white cashmere dress and matching coat designed by Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta is one of the world's leading fashion designers. He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1973.-Career:...

. Following the inauguration were the inaugural galas, to which Bush wore a pale, aqua lace gown, sprinkled with crystals, with long sleeves in a silver blue mist. The tulle gown was also designed for her by de la Renta. According to The Washington Post, "[I]t made her look radiant and glamorous."

Foreign trips




During President George W. Bush's second term
George W. Bush's second term as President of the United States
George W. Bush's second term as President of the United States began at noon on January 20, 2005 and expired with the swearing-in of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, at noon, Washington, D.C...

, Laura was more involved in foreign matters. She traveled to numerous countries as a representative of the United States.

As First Lady, she took five goodwill trips to Africa. The purpose of these has mostly been to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

, but Bush has also stressed the need for education and greater opportunities for women. She has taken many other trips to other countries to promote and gain support for President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 relief; these countries include Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

 (2007), Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 (2007), Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

 (2007), Senegal
Senegal
Senegal , officially the Republic of Senegal , is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north...

 (2007), and Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 (2008).

In mid-2007, she took a trip to Burma where she spoke out in support of the pro-democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 movement, and urged Burmese soldiers and militias to refrain from violence. Later that October, she ventured to the Middle East. Bush said she was in the region in an attempt to improve America's image by highlighting concern for women's health, specifically promoting her breast cancer awareness work with the US-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research
US-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research
The U.S.–Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research is a public-private initiative that was launched in June 2006 by the US Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative. The Partnership unites leading breast cancer advocates in the U.S. and the Middle East...

. She defined the trip as successful, saying that stereotype
Stereotype
A stereotype is a popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. The concepts of "stereotype" and "prejudice" are often confused with many other different meanings...

s were broken on both sides.

Views on policy


Bush is a Republican and has identified herself with that party since her marriage.

When asked about abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 in 2000, Bush said she doesn't believe that Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade, , was a controversial landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion,...

should be overturned. She did not comment on whether women had the right to an abortion. She did say, however, that the country should do "what we can to limit the number of abortions, to try to reduce the number of abortions in a lot of ways, and that is, by talking about responsibility with girls and boys, by teaching abstinence
Abstinence
Abstinence is a voluntary restraint from indulging in bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure. Most frequently, the term refers to sexual abstinence, or abstention from alcohol or food. The practice can arise from religious prohibitions or practical...

, having abstinence classes everywhere in schools and in churches and in Sunday school
Sunday school
Sunday school is the generic name for many different types of religious education pursued on Sundays by various denominations.-England:The first Sunday school may have been opened in 1751 in St. Mary's Church, Nottingham. Another early start was made by Hannah Ball, a native of High Wycombe in...

."

Bush responded to a question during a 2006 interview concerning the Federal Marriage Amendment
Federal Marriage Amendment
The Federal Marriage Amendment H.J. Res. 56 was a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution which would have limited marriage in the United States to unions of one man and one woman...

 by calling for elected leaders not to politicize same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

: "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously. It requires a lot of sensitivity to just talk about the issue... a lot of sensitivity."

On July 12, 2005, while in South Africa, Bush suggested her husband replace retiring Supreme Court
Supreme court
A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, instance court, judgment court, high court, or apex court...

 justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

 with another woman. On October 2, during a private dinner at the White House with Laura, President Bush nominated Harriet Miers
Harriet Miers
Harriet Ellan Miers is an American lawyer and former White House Counsel. In 2005, she was nominated by President George W. Bush to be an Associate Justice of the U.S...

 to replace O'Connor. Later that month, after Miers had faced intense criticism, Laura Bush questioned whether the charges were sexist
Sexism
Sexism, also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is the application of the belief or attitude that there are characteristics implicit to one's gender that indirectly affect one's abilities in unrelated areas...

 in nature.

On May 11, 2010, during an interview on Larry King Live
Larry King Live
Larry King Live is an American talk show hosted by Larry King on CNN from 1985 to 2010. It was CNN's most watched and longest-running program, with over one million viewers nightly....

, Bush was asked about same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

. She said she views it as a generational issue and said she believes it will be made legal in the future. Bush offered support for the issue by saying, "...when couples are committed to each other and love each other...they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has." Bush referred to her 2000 interview, reaffirming her support for Roe v. Wade: "I think it's important that [abortion] remain legal. Because I think it's important for people - that for medical reasons and, and other reasons."

Awards and honors


During her tenure as the First Lady, Laura Bush received a number of awards and honors. In October 2002, the Elie Wiesel
Elie Wiesel
Sir Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel KBE; born September 30, 1928) is a Hungarian-born Jewish-American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor. He is the author of 57 books, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna, and...

 Foundation for Humanity honored her in recognition of her efforts on behalf of education and the American Library Association
American Library Association
The American Library Association is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members....

 honored her for her years of support to America's libraries and librarians in April 2005. The Progressive Librarians Guild opposed her being honored, because of her support of the USA PATRIOT Act
USA PATRIOT Act
The USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001...

 and her cancellation of a poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 forum due to concern that some of the poets would express opposition to the war in Iraq.

She received an award in honor of her dedication to help improve the living conditions and education of children around the world, from the Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

-American Foundation in March 2006. She accepted The Nichols-Chancellor's Medal
The Nichols-Chancellor's Medal
The Nichols-Chancellor's Medal is an annual medal that is awarded by Vanderbilt University. The Medal carries with it a cash prize of $100,000. The Nichols-Chancellor's Medal is awarded to those persons who define the 21st century and exemplify the best qualities of the human spirit...

 on behalf of disaster relief workers around the world in May 2006 from Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Founded in 1873, the university is named for shipping and rail magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided Vanderbilt its initial $1 million endowment despite having never been to the...

.

Four learning facilities have been named for her: the Laura Welch Bush Elementary School in Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

, the Laura W. Bush Elementary School in the Leander ISD just outside Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

, and the Laura Bush Education Center at Camp Bondsteel
Camp Bondsteel
Camp Bondsteel is the main base of the United States Army under KFOR command in Kosovo. Located near Uroševac in the eastern part of Kosovo, the base serves as the NATO headquarters for KFOR's Multinational Brigade East . The base is named after Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient United States...

, a U.S. military base in Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 and the Laura Bush Middle School in Lubbock, Texas. She was awarded the 2008 Christian Freedom International
Christian Freedom International
Christian Freedom International is an American human rights organization based in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, whose stated mission is to "help those who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ." CFI operates as a 501 nonprofit organization and relies on voluntary, private support from...

 Freedom Award.

She is portrayed by Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell , known professionally as Elizabeth Banks, is an American actress. Banks had her film debut in the low-budget independent film Surrender Dorothy...

 in Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone
William Oliver Stone is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. Stone became well known in the late 1980s and the early 1990s for directing a series of films about the Vietnam War, for which he had previously participated as an infantry soldier. His work frequently focuses on...

's film W.
W. (film)
W. is a 2008 American film based on the life and presidency of George W. Bush. It was produced and directed by Oliver Stone, written by Stanley Weiser, and stars Josh Brolin as Bush, with a cast that includes Ellen Burstyn, Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Scott...



Curtis Sittenfeld
Curtis Sittenfeld
Elizabeth Curtis Sittenfeld is an American writer. She is author of three novels: Prep, the tale of a Massachusetts prep school, The Man of My Dreams, a coming-of-age novel and an examination of romantic love, and American Wife, a fictional story loosely based on the life of First Lady Laura...

's bestseller novel "American Wife" is based on much of Laura Bush's life.

Further reading

  • Felix, Antonia. Laura: America's First Lady, First Mother. The first biography on Laura Bush. ISBN 1-58062-659-9
  • Gerhart, Ann. The Perfect Wife: The Life and Choices of Laura Bush. A biography. ISBN 0-7432-4383-8
  • Gormley, Beatrice. Laura Bush: America's First Lady. A biography. ISBN 0-689-85366-1
  • Kelley, Kitty
    Kitty Kelley
    Kitty Kelley is an American journalist and author of several best-selling unauthorized biographies of celebrities and politicians. Her subjects have included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan, the British Royal Family, the Bush family, and Oprah Winfrey...

    . The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty. ISBN 0-385-50324-5
  • Kessler, Ronald
    Ronald Kessler
    Ronald Borek Kessler is an American journalist and author of 19 non-fiction books. He is chief Washington, D.C. correspondent of the conservative news and commentary website Newsmax.com.-Personal life:Kessler was born in New York City in 1943...

    . Laura Bush: An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady. A biography. ISBN 0-385-51621-5
  • Montgomery, Leslie. Were It Not For Grace: Stories From Women After God's Own Heart; Featuring Condoleezza Rice, First Lady Laura Bush, Beth Moore & Others. Laura Bush shares her story about how God has had his hand on her life. ISBN 0-8054-3178-0

External links




Laura Bush Interview About Life After The White House, Reinvention Convention Broadway.tv Blog