tv The Presidency First Ladies in Their Own Words - Laura Bush CSPAN July 1, 2022 11:12am-12:04pm EDT
yourself as a traditional wife a traditional mother. what does that mean? well, actually i said that i >> laura bush, you have described yourself as a traditional wife, a traditional mother. what does that mean? >> well actually, i've said that i have always had traditional jobs. i've had jobs that were traditionally women's jobs. i was a schoolteacher, a school librarian. i was a public librarian for one year in houston. i think, in a lot of ways, i've been lucky. i've been very fortunate to have the opportunity to stay home with my children, after i had children, after i had twins. i stayed home taking care of them. i had a really great time being the wife of the governor of texas, first lady of our state. i've had the opportunity to work on issues that i've been interested in my whole life that had to do with education, and reading, and libraries. i love that. i think i've actually had the opportunity to make a little bit of an impact. i think that's been great.
i also think our country has benefited from the first ladies always. we've had two very revered first ladies in our, state my mother barbara bush, and lady bird johnson. i know people know about barbara bush's work with literacy. i think a lot of people remember how important lady bird johnson's work with the houston plant. she was -- in fact, now that a lot of our roadsides in the united states are now planted with wild flowers is really because of ladybird johnson's interest with that. i think, in the, and we've always come from the interest and passions of the first ladies. >> that was laura bush, first lady of texas, and wife of presidential candidate george w. bush and a spring 2000 c-span interview. the bushes moved into the white house the following january. you will hear laura bush, in her own voice, here in american history tv. how she experienced her first
years as first lady featuring footage from c-span video library. first, just eight months into their term, the former librarian and teacher was transformed into a wartime first lady by the terrorist attacks of september 11th 2001. she called with reporters on -- after visiting pentagon victims in the hospital. this is laura bush in her own words. >> the people behind me are some of the members of that emergency response team. so, besides having the chance to visit with three of the victims who were here at walter reed, whose lives will be changed forever, like all of ours, and by the, way who are all in very great shape, and look like they will recover fully. besides the chance to thank them for their service to our country, we give them their wishes for a very speedy recovery. i also have the chance to thank the emergency team members, some of whom are behind me.
some of these emergency team members were just in their last few days of a practical nurses course. they never expected to have to deal with a situation like this. it's the very end of their course. now, we have videos for them, just like for the patients in here as well. so really, thankful that i have the opportunity to thank them, and to wish my best to the patients. all of us now, as americans, have the opportunity to show our compassion, our resilience as a country, our courage. that's with these members of the team behind me showed america yesterday when they rushed to the pentagon to rescue people. it also gives us all the chances, as americans, to do it we can for our fellow americans, to donate blood in cities where they need more of an adequate
supply. certainly, if people want to wait a month or two, to replenish the blood supply in their own communities for some of the blood may be sent to new york or here. it's a really good thing to do. it's also just a way to think of how we can help each other and a way to think of a way we can reassure our young children that they are safe. this is time for parents to make sure their young children don't spend a lot of time in front of the television, to try to protect their young children and keep them from being fearful. this is just a good time for us to think about the message that our children are getting everywhere, to let them know that most people in the world are good, and that this is a rare and tragic happening. to let them know that they are safe and loved all over the country. i also want to thank the media
for the way you are covering all of this, the respect and dignity you are giving to the victims and people all over our country that have suffered. so, thank you for that. >> are there other victims, or do you have other plans to go to new york or to the pentagon? >> not right now, just these three. i might be visiting some others later. i am going to talk tomorrow about specific ways we can help children deal with the trauma of this. and, one thing all of us need to do also is help ourselves. if parents themselves are finding that they feel frightened and it needs some help, i know that churches, and clinics, and schools all over the country are supplying grief counselors, and this is a good time to unveil yourself of those services if you need them. to do the same thing for your children, on behalf of your children. >> you --
said >> tomorrow, i am going to talk about specific ways we can help our children. >> thank you all. thanks so much. thank you all so much. thank you very, very much. >> this is american history tv. you are listening to laura bush and her own words. just shy of two months after the 9/11 attacks, the first lady went to the national press club. there, she reflected on how the lives of americans have changed, and recalled how she experienced that terrible day. >> it seems that every american has their day of infamy that none whatever forget. for my parents generation, that date was december 7th 1941, when our nation was shocked by the early morning attack on pearl harbor. for my generation, that day was november 22nd, 1963, the day that president john f. kennedy
was assassinated on the street in downtown dallas. i was a senior than at robert e. lee high school in midland texas, and i was sitting in a classroom when we learned that the president had been killed. i remember feeling as if a blanket had been thrown over our school, suffocating all the usual sounds of chair scrapings, and classroom chatter. people cried. the horror was so sudden and so unimaginable. i went for lunch that day, and i remember my parents saying. this and like most american families, we spent the next few days watching television. i remember it as a terrible blow, almost too much to bear. a sudden reminder at a very young gauge of how fragile life truly is. now we've experienced another one of those days in our national life, a day so horrifying, that it will be permanently seared in the
hearts and memories of all of us who witnessed. i was on my way to meet with senator ted kennedy when a secret service agent told me that a plane had just hit the world trade center. we thought it was an accident at first, but as we approached capitol hill, the secret service said that another plane had hit the second tower. we knew then that it was terrorism. i remember thinking that nothing would ever be the same. senator kennedy, and his big dog splash, we're waiting for me when i got to the capital. words can't describe the depth of feeling that i had being with president kennedy's brother, as our nation was hit with another tragedy. senator chad greg, who is a very close friend of mine and my husband joined us. i felt like we were just going through the motions, pretending to be normal, when we all knew
that normal would never be again we knew it to be on september 10th. we walked out to express our prayers and our concern for the people of new york, and to tell the press that we were postponing the senate education committee briefing. senator greg insisted that we were merely postponing it, that we would reschedule because we wouldn't let the terrorists prevail. at that moment, larry mcclelland from usa today asked a question that was on the minds of many americans. he asked, what do you say to the children? what i said then, and what i've said in nearly every interview since is that we need to reassure our children that they are safe in their homes, and in their schools. as i've traveled around the country, i found that children still need to be reassured. when i visit classrooms,
children will settle up to me and whisper, what do you think of what happened? i will say, i am sad. they will not of their heads and say that they are sad, too. awe are a different country thn we were on september 10th, in ways the terrorists wouldn't have imagined. we will go back to our routines like we always do, but we will do so with a stronger sense of life and liberty. americans are willing to fight and die for our freedoms. but more importantly, we are willing to live for them. we will move on with our lives. but, we won't forget the images and the events, the photos in the front pages of the past two months. they are etched into our minds forever. some witnessed the moving images. others captured them. we all feel about power and the potential of this still unfolding drama. i've learned these things from my visits with people
throughout the heartland. we've all been watching and reading the news. i've seen people helping strangers. i've seen strangers becoming heroes. i've seen this country at its best. americans are proud, and we care about each other. that's what i see in the news. that's what i see in america. >> how has your routine changed since that date, and do you plan to travel around the country more for reassurance to the american people, and has your outlook on life changed? >> well, i think i said some of those answers in my speech. my routine has changed. we immediately canceled a lot of events that we had on our schedule right after september 11th. i did continue to do some of the events that were on my schedule that had to do with schools. i taught around america. i taught in five different cities, in baltimore, washington, atlanta baton rouge,
newark, new jersey, which was a really wonderful week. if only the teachers here know how comforting second graders are. but for me, i was really comforted around that whole week when i would be in a class, and second graders would have their letters ready for me to bring back to the president. the letters would say, do you mister president, i love you. i love the fireman, and i love the fireman's dogs. they were very, very reassuring. i also went to learning leaders, which is the big volunteer arm of the new york city public schools. it's bigger actually. there are more members than there are peace corps members. it's a huge volunteer arm, and i spoke there because i had the same message to say to them. these are the volunteers who work in public schools. that was for them to comfort those teachers. the teachers are comforting our children, but all of us, as
parents, school children, american, community leaders need to thank them for the care they are taking of our kids. but then, there are other things that have changed. there were no tours then of the white house. and a lot of, ways i think that's sad. you know, when i walk down stairs, just to even walk the dog's, i have to walk by a screen, take the dogs out on the lawn. but, now there are no tours. it's a lonely, and sort of quiet in there. i hope that will come back pretty soon. >> first ladies in their own words continues now on american history tv. in november 2001, laura bush delivered a radio address, usually reserved for the president. her topic, that brutality committed by our terrace and the taliban against afghan women and children. she talks about finding her own voice through this issue. >> laura bush, did it surprise you at first, when you first became first lady at the
platform that you are given, and the voice you had? >> i knew it. i mean, i knew that. of course, i knew it intellectually. i saw the platform that she had to talk about literacy, which was her particular interest. i have seen lady bird johnson, and how she influenced me event, at home, here in texas, because of her interest in native plants. i didn't really know it until i made the president's radio address, presidential radio address in that fall of 2001 after the terrorist attack to talk about what's the way women and children were treated by the taliban in afghanistan. >> good morning. i am laura bush. i am delivering this week's radio address to kick off a worldwide effort to focus on the brutality against women and children by the al-qaeda terrorist network and a regime it supports in afghanistan, the taliban. that regime is now in retreat
across much of the country, and the people of afghanistan, especially women, all rejoicing. afghan women know through hard experience what the rest of the world is discovering, the brutal oppression of women is a central go of the terrorist. not only because our hearts break for the women and children afghanistan, but also because in afghanistan, we see the world the terrorists would like to oppose on the rest of us. all of us have an obligation to speak out. we may come from different backgrounds and faiths, but parents, the world over love their children. we respect our mothers, our sisters and daughters, fighting brutality against women and children is not the expression of a specific culture. it's the acceptance of our common humanity. >> that's the first time i really realized that people heard me. what's i said, people listen to
me. so then, i knew from then on, although i think you don't ever really know intellectually until maybe after you leave, and see what the platform is. >> this is american history tv, and you are listening to laura bush in her own words. as the war against terrorism continues in afghanistan and later in iraq, the first lady's attention also turned to the administration's domestic policies. education was a paramount concern for the former librarian. she spoke in the white house east room on the first anniversary of the no child left behind act. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states, and mrs. laura bush. the secretary of education, rod page. [applause] here today and senatr
>> thank you all. please be seated. thank you all very much, and thank you secretary page for being here today, and senator graham. thank you all for your leadership and inspiring reform in education through the no child left behind act. one year ago, when the president signed this historic legislation, he embarked on a mission with our leaders in congress, and mission to ensure that every child in america receives an excellent education. today, our students, teachers, parents, and communities are embracing these new standards with, unwavering determination. the no child left behind act provides our schools with unprecedented reform and resources. across america, students in schools are providing results,
and the reassurance that standards and accountability work. as i travel across the country, i see the promise of reform in americas schools. i see children excited and ready to learn. i see teachers who are committed to success, and principles who refused to accept failure. we are honored to have several of these very principles here with us today. thank you all very much for believing in the power of reform and for believing in our children. our children need our continued support. today, we have more children in school than ever before. more children who want the american dream, and you undeniably deserve it. to meet this challenge in the coming years, we will need more people to answer that call to teach. we know that our children's future depends on their education, and the quality of
their education depends on our teachers. strong schools and quality teachers are the presidents priorities, and i am proud to be part of the presidents work to achieve these priorities. our work to reform education is far from over. we faced many challenges. but already, we've made great strides. and, our resolve remains strong. together, we will bring the promise of an excellent education to every child in america, and no child will be left behind. ladies and gentlemen, the man who make sure we accomplish this, my husband, president george w. bush. [applause] first ladies in their own words continues now on american history tv. and late summer 2005, deadly hurricane katrina displaced thousands of gulf coast residents, including school aged children.
laura bush traveled to des moines iowa to meet with students and their families who have been given refuge by local schools. [applause] >> nice to see you. all nice to see you. my name is laura. laura bush. what's your name? so, you are all signed up in school now? good, great. do you have a family here? >> great. >> hello. good to meet you.
hi. >> her name is mary. [inaudible] >> hi, how are you. >> hey, we were just in the same class, too. is that fun? that's fun, isn't it? that was a very fun music. did you like it? that's a fun music class. you played the sticks, and that was fun. using america the beautiful. is that your favorite green book kid's song? good to see you. hi. great.
>> he's shy. >> it's nice to see you. hi. you want to sing? >> go ahead and talk a little bit. you all can leave, and i can actually visit them a little bit more. margaret, secretary spellings and i have been traveling. today, i had a back to school event on my calendar before the hurricane. i was going to des moines iowa, which is where i went this morning. it was a great event. of, course those children in des moines, iowa, were very concerned about the children here. they sent a little box of one
rooms worth of supplies to give to the children here with their love. des moines actually has about, i think, they said about a dozen students who had come up from the gulf coast who are in school they are now, not at the school that i happened to visit, but at other schools in the des moines school district. ed so really, around the country, and almost every state, children who have been displaced because of hurricane katrina are starting school this week. it's really important for parents to make sure their children go to school. it's important for their children to have a normal life, to have the structure and the routine of going to school. and, especially since many children have suffered really have seen and suffered a lot of really terrible things, so it's important to have the safe structure that a school gives you. i want to thank all of these parents. i want to thank them for putting their children in school here, and for letting
their children have a normal life. each day, more and more things happen, so know that the gulf coast and new orleans are going to return. things will be rebuilt. people will be able to go on with their lives, as they were, at some point. i want to thank all of the people who have worked on that, specifically the school districts around the country that are taking and students all over the country. some cities, as you know, are taking in a large number of students, incorporating them into their school districts. i want to thank the people here in this school district, in sunny dale, for taking and students, and then the others that are doing it around the country. i also want to encourage anybody who is affected by hurricane katrina to make sure that their children are in school, that they are safe and school, and that they have all the support that they needed to weather this time that is going
to be difficult for them. any questions? >> well, i wanted to come here because this is a school district that has kids in it from mississippi and from the new orleans area that couldn't go to school in their home school district. i am going to later visit, as you know, a shelter that is here. i wanted to visit another shelter. i've visited several so far. all have them have been organized and been run very well for the benefit of people who are having to be sheltered, who are choosing that. so, that's why i really picked this county to come to. [inaudible] >> that's a very good question for secretary spellings. [laughs] the government well. i happened to sit in a meeting with the president and secretary spellings talking about the ways to get money right away to school districts that have a large population because of the hurricane.
>> that same year, 2005, the first lady took a stark turn at the annual white house correspondents dinner in washington d.c.. first ladies in their own words continues now on american history tv. >> so, the city soccer asked of the old guy how to get to the nearest town. >> forget that old joke. not again. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, i've been attending these dinners for years. just quietly sitting there.
well, i've got a few things i want to say first. [applause] this is going to be fun because he really doesn't have a clue about what i am going to say next. george always says he is delighted to come to these press dinners, baloney. he's usually in bed by now. i'm not kidding. i said to him the other day, george, if you really want to end its tyranny in the world, you are going to have to stay up later. [applause] i am married to the president of the united states, and here is our typical evening.
9:00, mr. excitement here is sound asleep. i am watching desperate housewives. [applause] with lynne cheney. ladies and gentlemen, i am a desperate housewife. [applause] >> this is american history tv, and you are listening to laura bush in her own words. the first lady's voice was often heard on international forums. in 2003, she went to paris to speak to a gathering of unesco, the united nations educational scientific and cultural organization. the u.s. withdrew from the global body in 1984 over questions of mismanagement, but rejoined in 2003. mrs. bush said, she saw an
opportunity for unesco to help defeat terrorism. >> no nation, we have learned, is 1 million. we have seen terrorism in the middle east, africa, and southeast asia. my own country was a target on the terrible september morning two years ago. since that day, acts of terror have robbed innocents of their lives in jakarta, pakistan, and riyadh. and last month, terrorists attacked the very symbol of the civilized world, striking that united nations headquarters in baghdad, killing those who had come to deliver humanitarian help and hope to the people of iraq. among the 22 people killed was sergio mellow who had advocated his work -- and understanding between nations. many of you knew sergio well. in his honor, we will take up
the noble cause that he lived and ultimately died for. unesco, an institution borne of yearning for peace that survived years of war cannot help achieve peace by spreading the values that helped defeat terror, and lead to a safer and better world. education, tolerance, respect for all human lives, and respect for each other's differences. these are our common dreams for our children, and these are the charge of unesco. now, more than ever, the nations of the world, the peoples of the world, must affirm the stated purpose of this organization, to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law, and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which were affirmed for the peoples of the
world, without distinction of race, sex, language, or religion. important work, and it is our work, all of us, here at unesco. as a former public school teacher and librarian, i believe education is our up most urgent priority, and it should have the first and highest call on our time and resources. education is vital to developing nations and generations. from the moment they are born, our children's lives are shaped by the education we provide them, education expands eager young minds. a lack of education stifles and limits them. the chance to learn, and to read and write, should never be only the privilege of a few, royalty, or the rich, the first born, or sons.
education is the birthright of every human being, all the world's sons, and all the world's daughters. >> first ladies in their own words continues now on american history tv. it is rare for a first lady to take to the podium in the white house press briefing room. but, as she prepared for her daughter janice wedding in may of 2008, that's exactly what laura bush did. a devastating cyclone in myanmar formally cause, called burma, caused her to speak publicly about the humanitarian and political plight of the people there. she explained, when questioned by a reporter, why she felt compelled to take that stage. >> thank, you everybody, for coming up. i just want to make a few comments about burma. on saturday, cyclone nor just swept through burma. the storm affected more than 2 million people. and according to the burmese media, killed thousands. the aftermath has left cities paralyzed, families separated,
and houses and businesses destroyed. americans are a compassionate people, and we are already acting to provide help. the u.s. has provided financial assistance through our embassy. we will work with the un and other non government organizations to provide water, sanitation, food, and shelter. more assistance will be forthcoming. the united states stands prepared to provide an assistance team and it much needed supplies for burma, as soon as the government accept our offer. the government of burma should accept this team quickly, as well as other offers of international assistance. prayers of mas they cope with t, the men and women of burma remain in the thoughts and prayers of many americans. it's troubling that many of the burmese people learned of this impending disaster only when news outlets such as radio free
asia, and voice of america sounded the alarm. although they were aware of the threat, burma's state-run media failed to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm's path. the response to this cyclone is just the most recent example of the buddhist failure to meet its people's basic needs. the regime has dismantle systems of agriculture, education, and health care. this once wealthy nation now has the lowest per capita gdp in southeast asia. despite the havoc created by this weekend's cyclone, as far as we can tell, burma's military leaders plan to move forward with the constitutional referendums scheduled for this saturday, may 10th. they've orchestrated this vote to give false legitimacy to their continued rule. the proposed constitution was drafted in a flawed process that exploited opposition in
some key ethnic groups. it would effectively give the military a veto over any constitutional changes. the constitution would prohibit democracy activist who are current or former political prisoners, including sushi from taking office. to ensure the constitution becomes law, the regime has been intimidating voters and using force against dissidents. public gatherings have been banned, and printed materials may not be distributed without governmental approval. as the date of the referendum draws near, there has been an increase in arrests of opposition party members and activists. this continues to take place, despite a call from the international community, and most recently, from the united nations security council. for burma's government to ensure its referendum is free, fair, and inclusive.
in response to the regime's continued repression, president bush has instructed the u.s. treasury department to freeze assets of a burmese state owned companies that are held in u.s. banks. this adds to actions last year to expand u.s. sanctions against ramos regime, and to tighten sanctions against its top leaders. we think that european union, canada, and australia for joining the united states in imposing similar restrictions. we appeal to china, india, and burma's fellow asean members to use their influence to encourage a democratic transition. burma's ruling generals have had their chance to implement the good government they promised to their people. if it proceeds under current conditions, the constitutional referendum they had planned should not be seen as a step toward freedom, but rather as a confirmation of the
unacceptable status quo. thank you all very much for giving me a chance to speak. i am going to leave tomorrow for crawford, for janice wedding, and i wanted to be able to make a statement about burma before i left. i am happy to take questions. now thoug>> mrs. bush, can yous any specifics yet about the scope of the u.s. disaster relief package? >> right now, at the earliest part of the relief is money that the embassy already has, that is already there, that we can distribute to other ngos, the world food programme, other groups that are on the ground. if they will let our team in, then we will be able to assess what else we can do. we do have other supplies and commodities in the area, not in burma, but close in the area that would be available soon. for our help, if our d.a.r.t.
team can get in and see what they can do. >> do you have any concerns about that ruling government there? are you also worried that aid in from the usa might not get to the people? >> i'm or they might not accept usaid. i urge the government to accept u.s. aid, and from the entire international community right now while the needs of their people are so critical. >> mrs. bush, is there any evidence that the sanctions the u.s. and other nations have imposed on the leaders in myanmar or burma have had an effect? >> only anecdotal. we have heard, and can't really confirm about some of the leaders who are targeted. actions that they've taken that make us think they don't like those targeted sanctions on the leaders themselves. >> madam, do you have any strong message for the dictatorship in burma, and for this democracy and foreign
concern? do you think they will have a change of heart and mind because of this? >> i hope so. i hope there will be one good thing that comes out of such huge destruction, and that would be the government realization that that people of burma need help, and they need more help than we can give them. >> mrs. bush, why such a historic interest? this is the first first lady to come to this podium and talk about this. why such a historic? interest >> you know, i've been interest it in burma for a long time. it started with -- just the story of a nobel prize winner who's been under house arrest for so long, whose party was overwhelmingly elected in an election, and then never able to take office. so, it started with an interest in her, and then just more of seen, the more critical i see the needs for people in vermont, for the world to pay attention
to the people of burma, and for the world to put pressure on the military regime. >> first ladies in their own words continues now on american history tv. as laura bush's time at 1600 pennsylvania avenue came to an end, she talked again with c-span, sitting in the white house she'd called home for the past eight years. she reflected on her life, there and the role of first ladies. >> i think each of, us because we are sort of been a club, the women who have lived here in this house, and served while our husbands served can learn a lot from each other. >> what about you though? how has it changed how you view the job, and really how you view the world? >> well, i am much more obviously aware of problems in the world than i was when i grew up in texas. even when i lived in the texas governor's mansion. i am very, very aware of problems in the world, aware of problems that women face in
afghanistan for instance, or other parts of the world where women are oppressed. i am aware of pandemic diseases now, and the hunger in the world. i've had the chance to visit so many parts in the world, and also all the things that the president works on every day. i know the issues that he deals with. so, i am aware of what those problems are. i think, everyone that comes to this job comes with a special interest. i was a teacher and a librarian. that's really where i focused a lot, especially at first on developing the national book festival, and helping the president with the no child left behind act. that was my expertise. that was my career, and what i had been interested in my whole life. but, i will say that sometimes first ladies are trivialized by what we call a hit project. in fact, our contributions to the united states from first ladies, in many many cases, are much more profound then in that
term. >> so, let me conclude by asking you if you are ready for the next chapter in your life and the president's life? >> i am ready. i am trying to encourage him to start grilling again. no, i really am ready. i mean, eight years is a long time. it's been an unbelievable privilege to represent and serve the people of the united states. i've loved every minute of it. you know, i really loved it. but, i also understand. of course, all the time that you live here, you know that you are here for a four-year term, or if you are reelected, for eight years. so, i think it's something that you accept. you don't wish you could stay longer. i think, when the time comes, it's the right time. >> this is first ladies in their own words on american history tv. we've listened it to laura bush talk about several issues that were important to her, but one of her most lasting legacies is the national book festival, which he started in 2001, and
which continues today as a major washington event. here she is in 2001 at the inaugural national book festival. >> first lady laura bush, is the state you expected? >> it is. i am so thrilled in excited to be here, and i want to thank c-span for covering the national book festival. we have a beautiful sunny day, and i hope the camera shows behind me how huge the crowds are. i am so excited about that. >> now, we've talked a lot over the last several days that this idea came from the texas book festival. but, where did the idea for the texas book festival come from? >> well, it actually came from the kentucky book festival. an el paso writer came to me right after my husband was elected, and that he had been to a book festival in kentucky, and he knew that texans were so proud of our stories that he thought texans could put on a big, great festival. so, we researched a lot of festivals, a lot of people who worked on the texas book festival worked on the tennessee festival, for instance. we saw what they were, like and
then we started ours. >> texas, i think this year is the third weekend in november? will you be back for that? >> i'll be back, fred and i'm looking forward to it. one thing that i like about both this festival, the national book festival, and the texas book festival, is that they are right here in the capital. we are right now on the steps of the library of congress with the united states capital behind us. i love the whole idea and the symbolism of books, and the ideas in books, with our national government and our democracy. the ideas in books are really what is so important to our democracy. >> last night in the gallery, you quoted -- >> why? >> i love that quote of hers. her mother took her to the library, and told her to introduce herself to herself to the librarian. she is nine years old. she has my permission to check out any book on the shelves. so, then eudora wrote -- she wrote this in her biography. she went to the library as
often as she could. she wrote home on her bicycle with her books in her bicycle basket, and then she read. she said, she knew that was bliss. >> is that someone to your experience? >> absolutely. i love to read. i went to the library and midland texas when i was little. it was in the basement of the midland county courthouse. the library was in the center of town, and the courthouse was in the center square of my town. that showed me how important reading and libraries work to everyone in the town of midland. to name>> when we interviewed n july, we ask you that hypothetical question about the people you would ask to be around your dinner table, if you could, to the rioters. you said, mark twain, tolstoy, and -- is there anybody want to add to that table today? >> well, we've got a lot of great people here at this table, and i hope everybody who sees this today on c-span, who is anywhere near the area comes down. they could meet david mccullough. they can hear him read from his book, john adams, his new book
which he read from last night. i love the idea of americans reading about our american heroes. his new book about our second president. it's so interesting to all of us. so, i hope people will read that book, and i also hope they will read a lot of other american history books. we have great children's writers here today. chris curtis, who was the first african american to win the new very award is here reading from his book. we have a number of storybook characters. they said i could, they could tell i was from the south. i said, you can get your picture taken with clifford the big red dog. i hope people come out into that. >> as we close, out our look at laura bush. she unveils her official portrait at the smithsonian's national portrait gallery. this was only weeks before the bushes left washington to return home to texas. >> so, if the first lady would please join me in the unveiling of her portrait for the national portrait gallery.
[applause] >> you're ready? [applause] >> visiting the smithsonian's museum, and particular this must billions art museums has been one of my favorite pastimes here in washington. so, it's on a special honor to have my portrait displayed in these halls. , and thanks for working to unveil these portraits early while president bush is still in office. upstairs, i saw that dolley madison's portrait is praised for offering a glimpse of the aging mrs. madison. that's exactly the type of compliment i was hoping to avoid.
when your images captured from prosperity, my motto is, the sooner the better. with so many familiar faces here today, it gives me the opportunity to thank all of you for your support, and friendship over the past eight years. president bush and i have had such a special privilege of being able to represent the people of the united states. we will return to texas with cherished memories of our friends, our staff, and our time at the white house. thank you for joining us at this moment of reflection and celebration. may god bless you all. [applause] thank you for joining us on american history tv for laura bush in her own words. next week, michelle obama, a lawyer, mother of two daughters, and the nation's first african
american first lady. first ladies in their own world is also available as a podcast, and you can find it wherever you get your podcasts. ♪ ♪ ♪ american history tv, saturdays on c-span two. exploring the people and events that tell the american story. at 2 pm eastern on the presidency, and honor of nancy reagan's birthday, we look back at the first's legacy, her years in that white house through photography, staff members, and a new postage stamp honoring mrs. reagan, which was unveiled by first lady jill biden.