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First Lady Laura Bush in a kind of Sunday talk farewell

December 28, 2008 |  8:39 pm

Time was, Laura Bush wasn't all that keen on media interviews.

Fact is, she may still not be keen on them. But she's become a real pro chatting with the media, without revealing any contempt she might feel for the abuse she's seen, read and heard heaped on her father-in-law and husPresident George W. Bush, Barney and First Lady Laua Bush arrive in Texas Dec. 26 for their last New Years vacation at their Crawford ranch as first familyband and brother-in-law over the years. Fairness is not a word she associates with the media.

Bush -- who has 23 days left as first lady before she gets to decorate another house in her favorite city, Dallas -- said she's excited about the new life but will miss the camaraderie of longtime staff. She called it going from 100 miles an hour to zero, or maybe five.

She joked that her husband is in trouble for saying he's not looking forward to her cooking but admitted after 14 years of staff cooking, she's lost the touch but will pick it back up.

Actually Laura Bush spent her honeymoon with her new husband way back when as he unsuccessfully ran for Congress in West Texas. So she's had politics throughout her married life.

Unnoticed by most, she's been somehow involved in every presidential election campaign for 28 years, except for Bob Dole's in 1996, when she was Texas first lady, presiding over Sam Houston's old house in Austin.

So there she was on Fox News Sunday, chatting comfortably with Chris Wallace in a sort of Sunday farewell, making jokes and talkin g about issues that would have made her uncomfortable only eight years ago. They talked about a bunch of things, one of them the shoe-fly assault on the president during his recent trip to Iraq.

She said, sure, she was offended by the hurled shoe, not surprised that her fit husband could so easily dodge it, and pretty sure that had Saddam Hussein been the target and Iraq not a free country, the offending reporter would not still be around to plead for release.

She was asked about her oft-reported distaste for her husband's "bin Laden dead or alive" comment years ago. "I don't know that I said, 'Tone it down darling,'" said the First Lady. "I might have said, 'Tone it down, Buster!'"

Here's the Fox News version of its taped first lady interview. Here's a partial Fox News transcript. And our blogging buddy Mark Silva has returned to the Swamp and has his take on the interview over here.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo credit: Evan Vucci / Associated Press