Tales from the Trail

Bush to welcome New Year with sunrise ranch stroll

CRAWFORD, Texas – President George W. Bush, in the sunset of his presidency, plans to welcome in the New Year with a sunrise stroll accompanied by wife, Laura, at their Texas ranch. 
“It’s something they’ve always enjoyed doing and look forward to doing tomorrow,” White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.
Some New Year’s Eve revelers might struggle at the prospect of waking up at dawn after partying past midnight, but not Bush since he’s an early-to-bed kinda guy.
“I think he’s more likely to be an early riser for the first of the New Year rather than to see the old year out,” Johndroe said.
Bush will return to Texas for good after handing over the  White House keys to Barack Obama on Jan. 20. He plans to live in Dallas, but was also expected to spend time at the Crawford ranch on weekends and holidays.
In his final New Year’s Day presidential message, Bush said 2009 was an “exciting time for our country” as it prepares for a peaceful transfer of power.
“As my time in office comes to a close, I thank the American people for trusting me with the honor of serving our great country. It has been a tremendous privilege, and together we have accomplished a great deal,” Bush said.

“Earlier this year, I promised that I would sprint to the finish of my time as president,” he added. “We are working hard to keep that promise.”

For more Reuters political coverage, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (President and Mrs. Bush arrive in Waco Dec. 26)

Laura Bush: Shoe-throwing incident sign of ‘freer’ Iraq

The video of an agile U.S. President George W. Bush ducking two shoes thrown at him during a news conference in Baghdad has been fodder for jokes on late-night television and a big hit on the Internet.

Even Bush laughed off the Dec. 14 incident. But his wife was not amused by an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at Bush, narrowly missing the president.

“It was an assault,” Laura Bush said in a Fox news interview broadcast on BUSHSunday. “And I think it should be treated that way.”

Bushes buy a house in tony Dallas neighborhood

WASHINGTON – Moving day is less than seven weeks away for President George W. and Laura Bush and they have finally settled on a house in the upscale Dallas, Texas neighborhood of Preston Hollow.

The neighborhood is about a 2-hour, 20-minute drive from their 1,600-acre (648-hectare) ranch in Crawford, Texas (according to Google Maps) which they also plan to keep.

“The President and Mrs. Bush do not have occupancy of the home, and therefore, no additional details will be provided,” said Sally McDonough, a spokeswoman for the first lady. She declined to say whether the Bushes plan to take advantage of a drop in mortgage rates to buy the new digs.

Mom wants them to make their beds, but…

The Obama girls had other ideas during their first visit to the White House since their father was elected the next president of the United States. Aided and abetted by President George W. Bush’s daughters, Barbara and Jenna, Malia and Sasha Obama did a little bed jumping during their visit.

First Lady Laura Bush told the story ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday.

“It wasn’t the Lincoln Bedroom,” she explained. “It was another bedroom with a very tall bed that we usually put a step out for people to step into when they stay in that room. But instead the little girls did the running jump, and Barbara and Jenna of course aided and abetted that jumping.”

Details for Obama White House tour on Monday emerge

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush and wife Laura will greet their successors Barack and Michelle Obama at the South Portico of the White House at 2 p.m. EST on Monday before giving them a tour of their new home.

They will tour the White House and Bush and the president-elect will stroll over to the Oval Office along the Colonnade between the White House residence and the West Wing. Their wives will have their own private meeting in the White House Residence.

“We are gratified by the invitation. I’m sure that, in addition to taking a tour of the White House, there’s going to be a substantive conversation between myself and the president,” Obama said during his first news conference as president-elect.

Celebration at the White House — an election and birthday

WASHINGTON – It is a celebratory night at the White House this election night, and not just because President George W. Bush learns who will be his successor — it is his wife Laura’s birthday.

The first couple hosted a private dinner with friends and senior staff in the Old Family Dining Room at the White House and Bush gave his wife earrings to celebrate her 62nd birthday, according to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

The president gave a toast at the start of the dinner thanking everyone for their work and friendship, Perino said. He concluded by saying: “And may God bless whoever wins tonight.”

Cheney to do a little last-minute campaigning in Wyoming

UPDATED – Adds Laura Bush event

WASHINGTON – Vice President Dick Cheney will take a different approach than his boss to the presidential campaign this last weekend before election day — he will spend it at a public rally in his home state.

Cheney will attend a Get-Out-the-Vote rally in Laramie, Wyoming on Saturday, a rare public sighting on the campaign trail by Cheney or his boss, President George W. Bush. Both have attended numerous fundraisers around the country this election cycle but with their job approval ratings hovering around record lows, they have almost all been closed-door affairs.

Unlike Cheney, Bush is spending the last weekend of the 2008 campaign season secluded at the Camp David presidential retreat.

Dear Laura, Thanks, from Michelle

michelle1.jpgNEW YORK - Michelle Obama wrote a thank-you note to Laura Bush after the first lady spoke up in defense of the wife of the Democratic presidential candidate, Obama said on Wednesday.

Obama, who is married to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, created a controversy on the campaign trail in February when she said, “For the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country.”

After critics questioned her patriotism because of the remark, Obama has frequently said she is proud of her country.

Laura Bush defends Michelle Obama

rtx6hp9.jpgMichelle Obama has a new defender from those who say she isn’t patriotic enough — First Lady Laura Bush. In an interview with ABC News, Bush said that Obama’s February remark that she was proud of the United States “for the first time in my adult life” was misconstrued.

“I think she probably meant ‘I’m more proud.’ That’s what she really meant,” Bush said from Afghanistan.

“You have to be really careful in what you say because everything you say is looked at and in many cases misconstrued,” she said.

Jenna Bush demurs on 2008 White House race

rtr1ztb9.jpgWASHINGTON – Most of the Bush clan have already thrown their support behind the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, with one new notable exception — President George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna.

The president rolled out the red carpet at the White House last month to endorse McCain’s candidacy after he clinched the delegates for the Republican nomination. The White House hosted a lunch and Rose Garden photo-op for the Arizona senator.

When interviewed on CNN’s “Larry King Live” Wednesday night to promote a children’s book she wrote with her mother Laura, Jenna left the door open to possibly backing another candidate.