“I’m watching with great interest how Mrs. Obama has been very focused on the projects that she engages in – she will always be known for 'Let’s Move' and for childhood obesity,” Anita McBride explained during a first ladies talk at the National Press Club Wednesday. “Whereas Laura Bush was doing so many things, it’s harder to identify a single thing that she was involved in.”
Bush, for those who don’t recall, founded the National Book Festival, did work for the National Park Foundation and traveled abroad to talk about breast cancer and HIV/AIDs. She visited communities affected by Hurricane Katrina and did outreach after 9/11.
“But when you do so many things, it’s harder for people to understand exactly where you have the greatest impact,” McBride said.
Then again, press access didn’t always help. McBride told of one particular trip to Saudi Arabia when Laura Bush was given, as a gift, a black headscarf decorated in pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness.
“They covered the fact that she was given an abaya made by Saudi women,” McBride said. “That somehow she was showing a greater sensitivity to Muslims than she should be – that was really startling for us.” That particular coverage was spearheaded by a columnist from The Jerusalem Post, who called the gesture an “embrace of tyranny.”
Which is why she’s very excited for the first first man.
“The Smithsonian … will hold the inauguration suit,” McBride said.