Laura Bush’s Advice for the Future First Gentleman

The former first lady thinks a first gentleman might have it easier than most spouses.

National Journal
Jack Fitzpatrick
See more stories about...
Jack Fitzpatrick
Jan. 30, 2014, 11:51 a.m.

{{third­PartyEmbed type:you­tube id:Tp­KhvM3nJ-Y}}

Laura Bush has ad­vice for a fu­ture first gen­tle­man, who­ever he may be: “Stand back and be quiet.”

That ad­vice may not be rel­ev­ant to the front-run­ner for first first gen­tle­man, Bill Clin­ton, an already-talk­at­ive former pres­id­ent. But Bush cri­tiqued the way the pub­lic views first ladies and the­or­ized that a first gen­tle­man might not face the same pres­sure, in an in­ter­view with C-SPAN Thursday.

Bush was crit­ic­al of the pub­lic’s “glam­or­ous” view of the first lady and said they are too ob­sessed with the shal­low parts of the role.

“Maybe we should be that way about the first gen­tle­man also, and really cri­tique the way they look all the time — their choice of tie or their hair­style or whatever,” Bush said. “Or maybe their weight.”

The bright side, Bush said, is that a first gen­tle­man might change some of those stand­ards. For ex­ample, a man might be less likely to quit his job after his wife is elec­ted, Bush said, which could set a pre­ced­ent for first ladies to keep work­ing after mov­ing in­to the White House. When asked if the first lady should re­ceive a salary, Bush said no, but that the more im­port­ant ques­tion is wheth­er she should give up her ca­reer.

“Cer­tainly a first gen­tle­man might con­tin­ue to work at whatever he did, if he was a law­yer or whatever,” she said.

Clearly, Bush was not as­sum­ing that the Clin­tons would end up back in the White House, or re­fer­ring to any spe­cif­ic can­did­ates.

In ad­di­tion to spec­u­lat­ing on fu­ture pres­id­en­tial spouses, Bush re­flec­ted on her own time in the White House, say­ing one of her biggest mo­ments was giv­ing the pres­id­en­tial ra­dio ad­dress after the 9/11 ter­ror­ist at­tacks, in which she fo­cused on the Taliban’s treat­ment of wo­men in Afgh­anistan. That, she said, was the mo­ment she real­ized how much in­flu­ence a first lady can have.

But much of be­ing a first lady is less ex­cit­ing than it seems, Bush said.

“It’s ac­tu­ally a very nor­mal life up­stairs on those two floors that are the White House res­id­ence,” she said. “First ladies prob­ably — and I know I did — ac­tu­ally lie on the couch and read a book.”

What We're Following See More »
AND VICE VERSA
Plurality of Trump Voters Just Want to Stop Clinton
14 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

"Nearly half of American voters who support either Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump for the White House said they will mainly be trying to block the other side from winning, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday." When Trump supporters were asked to give their primary reason for supporting him, 47% said to block Clinton from winning. In almost a mirror image, 46% of Clinton supporters said they were primarily out to thwart Trump.

Source:
IF HE’LL JUST LISTEN…
Many GOPers Still Think Trump Can Be Brought to Heel
31 minutes ago
THE DETAILS
INCLUDING CLINTON
Trump Finance Guru Has History of Contributing to Dems
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Like Donald Trump himself, the Trump campaign’s new national finance chairman has a long history of contributing to Democrats—including Hillary Clinton. Private investor Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s new campaign fundraising guru, has contributed more than $120,000" to candidates since 1995, about half of which has gone to Democrats.

Source:
AT LEAST NOT YET
Paul Ryan Can’t Get Behind Trump
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

Paul Ryan told CNN today he's "not ready" to back Donald Trump at this time. "I'm not there right now," he said. Ryan said Trump needs to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of. And we've got a ways to go from here to there."

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Trump Roadmapped His Candidacy in 2000
20 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Daily Beast has unearthed a piece that Donald Trump wrote for Gear magazine in 2000, which anticipates his 2016 sales pitch quite well. "Perhaps it's time for a dealmaker who can get the leaders of Congress to the table, forge consensus, and strike compromise," he writes. Oddly, he opens by defending his reputation as a womanizer: "The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn't become a national leader? Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don't we want people in public office who show signs of life?"

Source:
×