'Candid' Laura Bush Tells Her Story

Met with historians to discuss her little-known legacy
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 24, 2009 10:14 AM CDT
Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura Bush, right, wave to a crowd of about 30,000 people at a welcome home rally Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in Midland, Texas.   (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam)
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(Newser) – Shortly before the election last November, Laura Bush sought to shape her somewhat hazy legacy. The former first lady spoke to historians, reporters, and other DC insiders in a 3-hour “legacy lunch,” at which she was called “candid,” “funny,” and “open” as she answered questions, Politico reports. “No first lady has ever reached out to historians to talk about what she'd done. It was a first,” said a historian.

Bush was well-liked but low-profile during her husband’s presidency, regarded as a traditional first lady; the meeting aimed to “fill in the blanks” of her accomplishments, Nia-Malika Henderson writes. She discussed her visits to 77 countries in 8 years, her work on global literacy, and her fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan. “She has her own ideas. She just chooses to not be as public about it,” said a former Bill Clinton press secretary.