The Mirror

Laura Bush says first ladies don’t deserve salaries

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Former first lady Laura Bush doesn’t believe first ladies deserve to be paid.

“There are plenty of perks, believe me,” she said in a wide-ranging interview with C-SPAN to be aired Monday night. “A chef. That was really great. I miss the chef.”

The special for their series, “First Ladies: Influence and Image,” will air at 9 p.m. on C-SPAN, C-SPAN 3 and C-SPAN Radio.

Bush said the more interesting question is should they be able to work at a salary at the job they may already had? “That’s what we’ll have to come to terms with. … Certainly a first gentleman might continue to work at whatever he did.”

Hmmm … could she have been hinting at a potential first gentleman Bill Clinton? Her advice to a future first gentleman?

“Stand back and be quiet,” she said, noting that reporters should cover every inch of how they look, what they wear, and maybe even their weight.

On normal life in the White House: “I think the American public sees the first lady in very glamorous circumstances. … I think what they may not imagine looking at the White House from the outside is that it’s actually a very normal life upstairs. … The first lady probably, and I know I did, lays on the couch and reads a book. In my case, my cat would always curl up next to me.”


Bush also spoke of what it was like delivering the White House Correspondents’ Dinner speech one year.

“Obviously you work with joke writers, everyone does. … So George stands up and makes some joke, tries to make some sort of lame joke and I jump up and push him out of the way and say no, no not that old joke again. …People that were sitting by me gasped. They were shocked. I mean, I think they thought something was wrong.”

After that dinner, she said world leaders would ask if she was really a Desperate Housewife.

“Ladies and gentleman, I am a desperate housewife,” she said during the speech. “If those women on that show think they’re desperate, they ought to be with George.”