Laura Bush: 'First Gentleman' Might Alter View of Presidents' Spouses

Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 11:37 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The public has a skewed and narrow view of first ladies — but a future first gentleman might change all that, Laura Bush says.

In an interview with C-SPAN, excerpts of which were made public Thursday, the former first lady lamented how the public often focuses on the physical image of a White House spouse.

"Maybe we should be that way about the first gentleman also, and really critique the way they look all the time—their choice of tie or their hairstyle or whatever," Bush said in a segment reported by The National Journal.

"Or maybe their weight."

Story continues below video.



And a man might not be so quick to ditch his job if his wife were elected to the nation's highest office, said Bush, who has a master's degree in library science.

"Certainly a first gentleman might continue to work at whatever he did, if he was a lawyer or whatever," she said.

“The real question is should they be able to work for a salary at the job that they already had,” Bush said in the talk that will air Feb. 3 as part of C-SPAN's "First Ladies" series.

"That’s what we’ll have to come to terms with: Should she have a career during the years her husband is president in addition to serving as first lady?” she said in an excerpt reported by The Washington Post.

The Post noted that Michelle Obama, Ivy League-educated with a pre-White House job as a health care executive, now calls herself "mom-in-chief" and has focused on raising her two daughters and selecting signature issues, childhood obesity.

Not that the life of a first lady doesn't have its perks as well.

“There are plenty of perks,” Bush said. “The chef. I miss the chef.”

But for the most part, life in the White House is more ordinary than people realize.

"It's actually a very normal life upstairs on those two floors that are the White House residence," she said. "First ladies probably — and I know I did — actually lie on the couch and read a book."

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