All About Laura

She loves reggae, Bob Dylan, Ben Stiller and Dostoyevsky. She used to chain smoke, has a dark past and may have once been a pothead. She could have been somebody. Instead, she married George W. Bush. Laura Bush fun facts:

1. A former Democrat, Laura has been known to say she is "Republican by marriage."

2. In 2000, Laura reluctantly admitted she doesn’t necessarily think Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Asked about it since, Laura is quick to add that her opinion shouldn’t matter. She likes to say she is George’s wife, "not his adviser."

3. What would Laura bring with her if she were stranded on a desert island? Her husband says it would be a vacuum cleaner. Her daughters, who call her "OCD" (as in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), say "Windex."

4. Three months after they met at a friend’s backyard barbecue, George asked Laura to marry him. Of her first impression of him, she says, "I thought he was fun."

5. In Kitty Kelley’s recent book The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, Kelley claims that in college Laura was the "go-to girl for dime bags." Although she’s never admitted à la Clinton, consider this: According to the Bush twins, while rifling through their parents’ record collection they discovered Laura likes Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley. Case closed.

6. When Laura was 17, she was involved in a deadly car crash on the way to a party. Reportedly so busy talking to a girlfriend she didn’t see it coming, Laura drove through a stop sign and hit another car; a male passenger, Michael Douglas, was ejected and killed. His father, who was traveling in the car behind his, watched as his son went through the windshield and died.

7. Early in Laura’s relationship with W., one of the Bushes asked her, "What do you do?" To which she replied, in a fashion very Edna St. Vincent Millay, "I read, I smoke and I admire." Though Laura claims to have kicked the smoking habit in the early ’90s, numerous reports say she was sneaking cigs during the recent campaign. In Kitty Kelley’s book, a source calls Laura "a very nice woman who’s got a lot of problems and smokes constantly."

8. Laura recently told Jay Leno the following story about herself and her man. Her mother in-law had warned her never to criticize George W.’s political speeches, so she never did — until, as they were returning one night from an event where George had made a speech, George asked his wife what she honestly thought of it. Laura said, "Well, it wasn’t that good." The often-emotional George drove their car into the wall of their garage.

9. Laura loves the film Zoolander.

10. Laura consistently tells us how inspired she was by her mother, and that their regular trips to the library and reading aloud together are her most treasured recollections. As first lady, Laura started the first National Book Festival as well as the "Ready To Read, Ready To Learn" initiative. Her focus through her husband’s first term has been emphasizing the importance of reading aloud and with your young children. Her all-time favorite book is Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, and she is said to possess a worn copy held together by rubber bands.

11. Teresa Heinz-Kerry made the mistake of saying that she wasn’t sure if the first lady ever "had a real job." But "Laura-steady-as-she-goes" (as her father-in-law supposedly calls her), who worked for a decade as a teacher and librarian in a public elementary school, insisted she wasn’t offended. In fact, Laura is only the second first lady, after Hillary Clinton, to have earned an advanced degree, a masters in library science.

12. George W. calls Laura his "secret weapon," because according to Gallup polls she is more popular than he, with 73 percent approval.

13. While George W. has been busy weakening our global environment, Laura describes herself as a "preservationist." She loves gardening, bird watching and hiking, takes annual trips with her girlfriends to cool places like Belize and the Grand Canyon, and was instrumental in the "Preserve America" initiative — focusing on restoring and protecting "natural resources." Stuff like "monuments and buildings, to landscapes and main streets." The pride of Laura’s personal efforts is the restoration of 50 acres of the Bushes’ ranch to its original blue-stem prairie grass.

14. Laura once said about our president, "George is not an overly introspective person. He has good instincts, and he goes with them. He doesn’t need to evaluate and re-evaluate a decision. He doesn’t try to overthink. He likes action."

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