LAURA BUSH by Ronald Kessler


An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady
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The Bushes are wonderful; the Clintons are not.

Kessler—once an investigative journalist (Washington Post, Wall Street Journal), now a White House apologist (A Matter of Character, 2004, not reviewed)—tells the authorized story of Laura Lane Welch, who married George W. Bush in 1977. Quoting authorities ranging from childhood friends to political allies to the Lone Ranger (really), the intrepid author discovers that Laura wears Cover Girl makeup and Oscar de la Renta gowns. At 17, she ran a stop sign and killed a classmate, but she wasn’t speeding, and the sign wasn’t all that easy to see, you know? She grew up in segregated communities and attended segregated schools. So what? Some of her best friends are . . . you know. An ancestor was named Wiseman. Sounds Jewish but probably isn’t. (Whew!) She used to smoke (still cheats occasionally). She is pro-choice, but on policy matters, she defers to Bushie (her down-home hypocorism for GWB). Bushie himself is like Lincoln, or maybe even Ronald Reagan, and if he’d been president way back whenever it was, the Holocaust wouldn’t have been all that bad. Bushie drank a lot, once, but so do a lot of other people. Laura has read just about every book there is. (Jacqueline Kennedy, by comparison, was a dilettante.) The Clintons ran the White House like a fraternity—greasy old pizza boxes everywhere, people staying up late, wearing jeans. And both Clintons were unkind to the help. Bushie didn’t like Peter Jennings (he was so critical), but the president prayed for him anyhow. Laura—unlike Hillary—keeps her influence quiet and has much better taste in interior decoration. At age 22, the Bush twins were “knockout gorgeous and outrageously charming.” Sure, Jenna drinks a little and used someone’s else’s ID once. Big deal. John Kerry lost on the character issue.

Why sully or smash icons when it’s so fun to make new ones out of Silly Putty?

Pub Date: April 4th, 2006
ISBN: 0-385-51621-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2006


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