Monday, April 27, 2009

Liz Cheney Speaks Out

Liz Cheney Speaks Out

The political world is all abuzz about Liz Cheney's appearance on MSNBC, last week. In an interview with Norah O'Donnell, she defended her father, former Vice President, Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and the Bush Administration's interrogation tactics and claimed they brought about valuable intelligence. Cheney explained that memos on the matter expressed that it was important not to cross a line into torture and that everything that was done is often used on Americans for training purposes. Cheney also defended her father's legacy and spoke about the future of the Republican Party, but it was her willingness to stand up to the more-often-than-not biased reporter's accusations and asinine assumptions that have some blogs and websites posting headlines such as "Cheney '12" as headlines for the interview. You can watch the video here:

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

About Liz Cheney:

While most people know Liz Cheney as the oldest daughter of the former Vice President, they probably don't realize that Cheney served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State during the Bush Administration, that she is an attorney, or that she is the mother of five children.

Elizabeth Cheney Perry was born in 1966. She attended Colorado College and graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1996. Between college and attending law school, Cheney worked at the State Department and the consulting firm, Armitage Associates LLP. After law school, she practiced law privately for the firm White and Case, worked as international law attorney, a consultant at the International Finance Corporation, served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State for Assistant to the former Soviet Union, and as a USAID officer in U.S. embassies in Budapest and Warsaw.

In 2002, she would be appointed to the position of Deputy Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs but the appointment was not without controversy. Many claimed the position was created just for the daughter of the Vice President, but the State Department claimed she had been recommended by Colin Powell and that the position was just vacant at the time of her appointment. The London Times saw her appointment as "America is getting serious about Middle East Reform." As Deputy, Cheney was given control of the Middle East Partnership Initiative which was put in place to help create democracy and economic progress in the Middle East. Cheney left this position after two years to work for President George Bush's re-election campaign, often speaking to women voters, but would return to the U.S State Department in 2005. During that time, she oversaw the launch of Fund of the Future (a foundation that provides capital for small businesses) and Foundation of the Future (a group that promotes freedom of the press and democracy).

Since the Bush Administration left office, Cheney has continued her busy career in politics. In 2007, she worked as a co-chair for Senator Fred Thompson's Presidential campaign, and later went on to work for Governor Mitt Romney when Thompson dropped out of the race. That year, she also wrote a big editorial for the Washington Post, criticizing Hillary Clinton's position on the war in Iraq. She also speaks publicly about international relations and the role of women in democracy and has been rumored to be helping her father research for a book about his work in public service.

Liz Cheney is married to Philip Perry, the former General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security. The couple have five children: Kate, Elizabeth, Grace, Philip, and Richard.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Beyond the View

Elisabeth Hasselbeck
It's not easy being the lone voice of dissent, especially when your co-workers do not let you get a word in, but every day Elisabeth Hasselbeck manages to do it and keep her dignity. For those who don't know, Hasselbeck is one of the co-hosts of the controversial women's talk show, "The View." Each day, Hasselbeck stands up to her liberal co-hosts and speaks her mind about a range of issues from abortion to the war in Iraq, often making headlines, and winning the sympathy and admiration of conservatives across the country. But there is a lot more to Elisabeth Hasselbeck than "The View."

Elisabeth DelPadre Filarski Hasselbeck was born and grew up in Rhode Island where she was raised in the Catholic Church and attended Catholic schools. Eventually, she went to Boston College where she earned a degree in Fine Arts. Upon graduating from Boston College, she worked for Puma shoes, as a designer, before auditioning for and being cast in the reality show "Survivor." In her time between "Survivor" and "The View," Hasselbeck begin making a name for herself in the entertainment industry. She judged the 2001 "Miss Teen USA" pageant and in 2002 she began hosting "The Look for Less," a television show on the Style Network. But 2002 was a big year for Hasselbeck for another reason; on July 6, she married her college sweetheart, former NFL quarterback, Tim Hasselbeck. In 2003, she would begin guest-hosting "The View" from time to time and was eventually hired to replace Lisa Ling.

Since becoming "The View's" youngest and most conservative co-host, Hasselbeck has continued to make a name for herself. She's appeared on a number of television shows from "Hannity" to "The Tonight Show" and even filled in on Fox News morning show "Fox and Friends." She's appeared on many magazine covers including the famed Fitness cover where she bravely donned a bikini just three months after giving birth. But Hasselbeck has always been known for her athleticism and competitive nature. She served as captain of the Boston College softball team, leading the team to back-to-back Big East championship titles. In 1999, she ran the Boston marathon. In 2004, she'd find herself doing even more running, but this time it would be to carry the Olympic torch through the streets of New York City.

Hasselbeck is also known for being a champion of several causes, whether they are political or charitable in nature. In the politial arena, she campaigned for Senator John McCain in the 2008 election. Before the election, she traveled with Governor Sarah Palin to several rallies in Florida and during the Republican National Convention, she hosted a luncheon for Cindy McCain. She gave a speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Hasselbeck has also worked with a number of charities, including the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Making Memories Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, The Wireless Amber Alert Program Initiative, Autism Speaks, and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. She has filmed a public service announcement encouraging breast cancer awareness and continues to support that cause.

So what's next for Elisabeth Hasselbeck? What else could she possibly add to her list of accomplishments? Recently, she created a clothing line for QVC. In May, her new cookbook "The G-Free Diet" will be released in May, focusing on gluten-free recipes. (Hasselbeck suffers from Celiac disease.) In May, she will also guest-star on the show "Ugly Betty." Despite all of this, Hasselbeck will take on her biggest project in August when she gives birth to her third child. The baby will join big sister, Grace Elisabeth and big brother, Taylor Thomas.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Women of the GOP Weekly Round-Up

Former First Lady Barbara Bush

Lots of great Conservative and Republican women in the news this week. Here is your weekly round-up!

- Former First Lady Barbara Bush appeared on "On the Record" with Greta Van Susteren this week to discuss a number of topics including her health (she recently had open heart surgery), a cause that's very dear to her: literacy, and why her family (particularly her most famous son) likes to "oink" at her. You can watch the video at Stay tuned, Women of the GOP will be profiling Mrs. Bush later this week!

- The usually brash Ann Coulter softened her tone this week to eulogize her mother, the late Nell Coulter. Mrs. Coulter died last week. After reading the piece, it's easy to understand who influenced Coulter's very political life and it seems as though the two women had a very deep admiration for each other.

- A few weeks after a fake website claiming to be Governor Sarah Palin's legal defense fund popped up, it looks as though an official website for the Governor Sarah Palin Legal Expense Fund is now available and taking donations. According to the website, the state of Alaska has spent over $1 million and the Governor has spent over half a million dollars defending herself against frivolous political attacks.

- Love her or hate her, Meghan McCain knows how to make headlines. This week, McCain filled in for Elisabeth Hasselbeck on "The View."

- Women of the GOP favorite Dana Perino has a new job. Public relations firm Burson-Marsteller hired Perino to be their "chief issues counselor." In that position, she will help the firm build their "media and issues capabilities and provide senior counsel to clients." In other Perino news, the former White House Press Secretary appeared on CBS News' "Washington Unplugged" on Friday to talk about the news of the day. The Chicago Tribune has the video.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Where is Condoleezza Rice?

Condoleeza Rice

When politicians began throwing their names into the race for the 2008 Presidential election, many people began to speculate about then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Websites such as began to pop up all over the internet, encouraging Secretary Rice to run. When it became obvious she wasn't going to, many Republicans hoped to persuade Senator John McCain to pick her as his running mate. But Rice made it pretty clear that she was not interested in running for any political office,

"I don't know how many ways to say no. I don't have any desire to run for president. I don't intend to. I won't do it...I know what it takes to run for president. I've watched it up close, one of these days very soon I am going to want to return to being an academic again and to get back to the California life, and the world of ideas."

It's been a few months since the Bush administration left office and many people have been left wondering what Secretary Rice is doing now, especially after she recently made headlines for writing a piece about the Masters entitled, "My Weekend on Tiger's Trail." Throughout her public life, Rice has been known for her love of sports and has even joked about wanting to become the next NFL commissioner. Turns out, she's also a fan of Tiger Woods. In the piece, she jokes,

"...when I was able to get tickets for my first Masters, I was really excited. I’ve been to Super Bowls, the Final Four, the U.S. Open Tennis Championships—nothing matched the anticipation of my first Masters. As the time approached, my assistant Anne said, 'They want to know who you want to follow.' Borrowing language from Anne’s generation, I said, 'Duh?' I know Tiger from our Stanford connection. I once sat with him at a Stanford-Duke basketball game. Stanford won on a buzzer-beater, and we stormed the court together. With that kind of bonding, whom else would I pull for?"

So, aside from blogging about her trip to Augusta, what else has Rice been up to? Well, just last week, she joined former President George W. Bush in a visit to Southern Methodist University for a meeting to discuss the George Bush institute. Afterwards she took pictures with students and faculty and then, along with several other former Bush aides and advisers, the Secretary had dinner at the former President's home.

A quick Google news search will tell you that the former Secretary of State has been invited to speak at many upcoming events and occasions. On April 30, she will speak at the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan, she'll return to Washington D.C. to speak at the Annual Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Lecture, and even as far ahead as January, 2010, Rice has been lined up to speak at the Marin Speaker Series.

But true to her word, Secretary Rice returned to academia in March. She is currently a political science professor at Stanford University. At Standford she also serves as a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution. Even so, people continue to speculate a future run for President and even Governor of California. For now, it looks like she's pretty content at Stanford, but who knows what the future will hold for Condoleezza Rice.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Women of the GOP "In the News" Round-Up

Lots of great Conservative and Republican women in the news this week, here is your weekly round-up!

- Condoleezza Rice's name has been in the headlines this week. What exactly has she been up to? Is she running for office? Returning to academia? Not exactly. Looks like she is writing about the Masters over at The Daily Beast. Not exactly what the world expected! (Stick around - tomorrow, "Women of the GOP" will have a profile on Secretary Rice, including everything else Rice is up to these days!)

- Did you attend your local Tax Day Tea Party on Wednesday? Thousands of Americans gathered in large cities and small towns to protest the government's misuse of our tax dollars! GOP Women from all walks of life were out in full force! Actress, Janine Turner, attended the San Antonio Tea Party. Georgia Secretary of State and candidate for Governor Karen Handel told a crowd at the Peachtree City Tea Party the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress are "in the midst of a full-on assault on the freedoms that this country was founded upon."

- Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has been making a name for herself and getting under the skin of many liberals, lately. Bachmann isn't hesitant to criticize current Democrats in office or their policies and this week, she has been making headlines for daring to speak out and warn against Americorp.

- Alaska Governor Sarah Palin told a "Right to Life" crowd in Indiana, this week, that she briefly considered having an abortion when she found out her youngest son, Trig, would be born with Down syndrome. She followed that idea by saying, "The moment he was born, I knew that moment my prayers had been answered." Despite the way the mainstream media has handled the story, those who attended the event say the speech made them love and respect the Governor even more. You can watch part of Palin's speech here:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Patricia Heaton: Celebrity Voice for the Pro-Life Movement

Patricia Heaton Conservative

The words "conservative" and "Hollywood" aren't usually compatible, but don't tell that to Patricia Heaton. Heaton is one of the few conservative A-list actresses who speaks openly about her politics, religious beliefs, and values. During the 2008 Presidential election, she attended fundraisers for Senator John McCain, supported Governor Sarah Palin, and has volunteered for President George W. Bush. She says she was raised as a Democrat but decided to switch parties when she felt there wasn't a place for "pro-life" members in the Democratic party.

Much of Heaton's activism centers around pro-life issues. She is the Honorary Chair of "Feminists For Life," which is an organization that opposes abortion and embryonic stem cell research from a feminist perspective. She spoke about the organization on an appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor,"

"The early feminists were pro-life. And really, abortion is a huge disservice to women, and it hasn't been presented that way. As Feminists for Life-what we're trying to do is support women, and so what we want to do is-reach women on campus-college campuses so that, when they get pregnant, they can find housing. They can find money they need to stay in school."

In 2005, during the media coverage of Terri Schiavo's last days, in an exclusive interview, Heaton told "Entertainment Tonight" that she was against taking Schiavo's feeding tube away and vowed to fast in her honor. In 2006, Heaton starred in a commercial along with several other celebrities opposing Missouri's proposed constitutional amendment regarding embryonic stem cell research. In a 2004 interview with Life News, Heaton was asked about her stance on abortion,

"I find it impossible to subscribe to a philosophy that believes that the destruction of human life is a legitimate solution to a problem that is mostly social, economic and psychological. In reality, most women 'choose' abortion because they believe they have no other choice."

Patricia Heaton is best known for her role as "Debra Barone" on the show "Everybody Loves Raymond," a role for which she won two Emmys. She was born in Bay Village, Ohio and attended Ohio State University. Heaton has been married to British actor David Hunt for almost twenty years. They have four sons, Sam, John, Joseph, and Daniel.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Elizabeth Ames Jones - Texas Railroad Commissioner

Elizabeth Ames Jones - Texas Railroad Commissioner
When you think of Republican women holding a political office, "Railroad Commissioner" is probably not the first position that comes to mind, but you haven't met Elizabeth Ames Jones, yet. Ames Jones was appointed to be the Railroad Commissioner of Texas in 2005 by Governor Rick Perry, and in 2006, she was elected to serve a six year term in office. She is only the second woman to serve the Commission in its 118 year history. This comes after being elected three times to the Texas House of Representatives.

While serving the Texas Legislature, Ames Jones served as one of three Texas appointees to the Southern States Energy Board and Chairman of the Budget and Oversight for the Energy Resources Committee. She also served on several other committees such as the Appropriations, Local and Consent Calendars, and Select School Finance. She led the way to establish the Texas Cord Blood Bank in San Antonio which stores and provides umbilical cord stem cells to treat various diseases. In December, Ames Jones spoke at Valley Baptist Medical Center, which has collected over 3,000 cord blood donations, about the importance of cord blood,

"This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart," Jones said. "I've had family and friends experience medical tragedies in their lives with life-threatening cancers. Some did not survive. In honor of those, I've worked very hard...It is the ultimate recycling project - one that saves lives."

The other cause that is important to the Commissioner is becoming less dependent on foreign energy sources. On her the Texas Railroad Commission website, she promises to protect Texas' natural resources and foster the growth of domestic energy sources. In August, 2008, Ames Jones wrote an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal entitled "How Texas Struck it Rich Beneath Suburbia." In it she talks about how politicians are blocking the way for the United States to become energy independent,

"If there is an energy crisis in this country, it is because too many states and too many lawmakers in Washington are too timid about allowing entrepreneurs to bring to the surface what is buried right below us. In Texas, we’re not timid. Thanks to longstanding public policy encouraging responsible production, 18% of all the oil and 30% of all the natural gas produced onshore in the U.S. is produced in this state. That makes us the No. 1 energy-producing state in America."

Ames Jones considers herself a "rock-solid" conservative. As a member of the Texas House, she worked to ensure a budget that cut state spending for the first time since World War II and overcome a ten billion dollar revenue shortfall. All of this was done without raising taxes. She has been a champion for homeowners' rights, and played an important role in creating property appraisal reform legislation and lowering homeowners' insurance premiums. She has won several awards for her work ethic, been called a "Fighter for Free Enterprise," and has been recognized for her contributions to Texas law enforcement.

Elizabeth Ames Jones is a sixth generation Texan from San Antonio and a graduate of the University 0f Texas, Austin. She and her husband, Will, have two children. You can read more about Commissioner Ames Jones (including her Wall Street Journal Op-Ed) at her official website: EAJ: Home.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sharron Angle to take on Harry Reid?

Sharron Angle to Take on Harry Reid

It looks like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may have some competition in 2010. Former Nevada state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle is contemplating running against the Senator. Angle is reaching out to former supporters, hoping to raise $100,000 by May. In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Angle said,

"I need to know what kind of support I have for a run like this. That's what the exploration is all about."

The Nevada Appeal has called her "one of Nevada’s most conservative voices." The Mineral County Independent has called her "A known proven fighter for taxpayers..." And the Las Vegas Sun claims she, "…has been a consistent ‘no’ vote on spending increases in the Legislature.”

According to her website, Angle is focused on several key issues such as limited taxation, developing domestic oil sources, supporting a military force of superior strength, securing the border, a business-friendly and free market environment, reforming Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security, defending the property owner rights, self-defense, family values, protecting life, and education. She says her overall political philosophy is,

"... that government properly exists only by the consent of the governed and must be restrained from intruding into the freedoms of its citizens. In the Nevada State Legislature, I have consistently fought for smaller and more efficient government, traditional values, lower taxes and the right of the people to vote and petition."

Angle served four terms as a Republican Assemblywoman in Nevada's 26th district, serving from 1999 - 2005. During her time in the Nevada Assembly, Angle served on the Committee on High-Level Radioactive Waste, the Legislative Commission, the Information Technology Subcommittee, the Commission on Substance Abuse Education, Prevention, Enforcement, and Treatment, the Committee on Education, the Committee on Elections, Procedures, and Ethics, the Committee on Health and Human Services, and the Nevada Commission of Aging among others. She was the author of the Property Tax Reform Initiative (Prop 13) and has tried to get a property tax limit placed in the Nevada State Constitution.

Angle has a number of other achievements under her belt. She's published a novel, Prairie Fire, and has long been very involved in education. She served a term on the Nye County School Board of Trustees, spent five years as an instructor at Norther Nevada Community College, spent 25 years as a substitute teacher, worked as a lead teacher at World of Light Christian Academy, and served as a tutor and service supervisor for Nye County Juvenile Probation. Her other accomplishments include helping to establish the Ely Hot Line Crisis Call line for troubled teens, Winnemucca Fine Art Gallery, and the Tonopah Life Center for Family Fitness. She has been a small business manager for 22 years and has served as a sexual harassment investigator for 13 years. She is a member of the Republican Women of Reno and the Sonrise Church.

Sharron Angle was born in Klamath Falls, Oregon in 1949 and has lived in Nevada for over 50 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has been married to Ted Angle for 35 years and they have two children and ten grandchildren. In her spare time, she paints, writes, swims, skis, and lifts weights.

You can learn more about Angle at her website: Sharron

Sarah Palin in the News

Sarah Palin in the News

Ever since Senator John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate for his 2008 run for President, the country has been captivated (both for better and for worse) with the Governor of Alaska. Some five months after the election, people are still trying to make a name for themselves through Palin.

The latest example comes from the group, Free American Citizens. Earlier this week, the group set up a website claiming all donations would go to help pay Palin's legal fees from the "Troopergate" investigation, but the Governor sent out a statement via her spokesperson saying she was not affiliated with the group,

"The continuing generosity of Alaskans and Americans is overwhelming as many reach out to assist Governor Sarah Palin and her family with their legal bills.However, the official legal defense fund for Governor Sarah Palin has not been formed and the Governor cannot accept monies for those obligations from any other entity than the one in formation. Numerous federal and state laws to need to be abided by and the official legal defense fund will have very strict donation guidelines.We thank everyone interested in helping the Governor. The best way to assist her will be through this official fund which will launch later this month."

Today, the website is still taking donations but now claims they are for Palin's "war chest" for a 2012 run for President. The group claimed they meant no harm and that all funds would indeed be sent to Palin to help pay for her legal defense but Palin cannot legally accept the money. The Governor owes over $500,000 in legal fees from what she calls "partisan, false and frivolous" ethics investigations.

In other Palin news, it seems as though the Governor is weighing in on Secretary of Defense Robert Gates's proposed $1.4 billion reduction of the Missile Defense Agency’s budget. In a letter to Gates, Palin says that a global missile defense shield "is more important now than ever" citing technology development of North Korea and Iran. Palin says she fears North Korea has the potential to reach Alaska, Hawaii, and the West Coast with a nuclear armed warhead and mentions Alaska's own Fort Greely as an ideal spot to continue with training and development.

You can read the entire letter to Gates at the
Governor's Official Website.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dana Perino Goes to Africa

Dana Perino Goes to Africa

Just one day after we profiled Dana Perino, the former White House Press Secretary writes an article for The Washington Post: "Americans Answer a Call to Help."

Perino says that many people asked her what she planned to do once her boss, President George W. Bush, left office. At first, she didn't have an answer, but that changed in February 2008 when she accompanied the President on a five country trip to Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Liberia. While on this trip, Perino states that her "mission became clear" and she knew she'd eventually "return to Africa and try to help in some small way."

And return, she did. Perino and her husband volunteered at Living Hope, a "faith-based organization that leads several programs for people affected by all aspects of AIDS and HIV." Perino explains that the program is just one part of President Bush's much-celebrated Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. In the piece, she talks about the people she helped while working there and the inspiring American volunteers she met.

Perino says she chose Africa because "the need is so great" and "an American dollar can be stretched so far." She also reflects on her own childhood and the days when her mom and dad were "always doing something for other people."

You can read the rest of Perino's article here: PERINO: Americans answer a call to help - Washington Times

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dana Perino

DanaPerino White House Press Secretary

In 2007, when the late Tony Snow stepped down from his position as White House Press Secretary, President George W. Bush appointed then Deputy Press Secretary, Dana Perino, to the position. Perino accepted the job, becoming only the second woman to ever hold the position. For a year and a half, we watched her handle Helen Thomas and the White House Press Corps with dignity and confidence. Her intelligence, beauty, and youth captured the nation as she served the remainder of President Bush's term. Here is a look at the life of the woman beyond the White House briefing room:

Dana Marie Perino was born on May 9, 1972 in Wyoming. Her family moved to Denver when Perino was two years old and not long after that, Perino had already decided on a future in politics. According to an interview with The Rocky Mountain News, at the age of six, Perino told her parents, "I'm gonna work in the White House." At the age of eight, Perino and her father were having debates about the day's news stories at the dinner table. By high school, she had joined the debate team and while attending college at The University of Southern Colorado, she took a job as a radio disc jokey at a country music radio station.

After college, Perino moved to Illinois to work on her Master's degree and while there, worked as a television news reporter for a year but decided journalism wasn't what exactly she wanted to do. "I think if I’d been good at that, I would have recognized it and stuck with journalism. But really, I wasn’t very good at it." Perino has said of reporting. Eventually she would make the move to Washington D.C. to work as an assistant for Republcan Congressman Scott McInnis. After several months of answering McInnis' constituent complaints, she was offered a job as press secretary for Congressman Dan Schaeffer.

Eventually, Perino would leave Washington to get married and spend several years away from our nation's capitol. She met her husband, Steve McMahon, in 1997 and moved to London where McMahon worked as a businessman. The couple soon moved to San Diego and Perino worked for a public relations firm but according to friends, she wasn't happy there. Which is probably why Perino returned to DC shortly after September 11, 2001. She took a job as communications director for the White House's Council on Environmental Quality and eventually joined the White House Press Staff in 2005.

2006 was a busy year for Perino. Not only did President Bush name her Deputy Press Secretary, but Perino became a step-grandmother when her step-daughter gave birth to twins. In 2007, she filled in for then Press Secretary, Tony Snow, as he left to undergo cancer treatments and in August, 2007, when Snow resigned for good, the President appointed Perino to the position saying,

"What I look for in somebody like Dana is somebody to walk in that Oval Office and give me sound judgment and good advice, and I've found that over the course of the time I've known her she's capable of doing that."

Perino is known for staying on message and being a staunch supporter of President Bush. In the now infamous incident involving an Iraqi journalist throwing a shoe at the President, Perino was injured when a microphone stand fell into her eye. When asked about the incident, Perino joked, "Sure I would take a shoe for the President." Currently, she can be seen on cable news stations including Fox News and C-Span providing political commentary on current events.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Laura Bush Part 2: Life Before Washington DC

Laura Bush at a School
Laura Lane Welch Bush was born in Midland, Texas, on November 4th, 1946, to Harold and Jenna Welch. An avid reader and advocate for literacy, some of her fondest memories from her childhood come from reading with her parents. Mrs. Bush has said,

"I learned [how important reading is] at home from my mother. When I was a little girl, my mother would read stories to me. I have loved books and going to the library ever since. In the summer, I liked to spend afternoons reading in the library. I enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie books and Little Women, and many others... Reading gives you enjoyment throughout your life."

Mrs. Bush grew up in Midland and attended Southern Methodist University. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Education and went on to teach elementary school in Dallas and Houston. She would later earn a degree in Library Science from the University of Texas and work as a librarian. She has often said her time as a teacher and librarian helped her realize how important reading truly is.

George and Laura Bush Family

The future first lady would not meet her husband until 1977, at a barbecue. They were married later that year and their twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna arrived four years later, in 1981. She would spend the next few years raising her daughters, campaigning for her father-in-law, President George H. W. Bush, and volunteering to work with babies with AIDS.

When George W. Bush decided to run for Governor of Texas in 1994, Mrs. Bush originally resisted, insisting she was not interested in politics. But Mrs. Bush's transition to First Lady of Texas was seamless. She dove into the role, becoming a champion for several important causes. She was an advocate for literacy and several children's causes. She began "Take Time For Kids" an awareness campaign to educate parents and caregivers; she urged the people of Texas to establish family literacy programs. She established "Reach Out and Read, " a pediatric reading program and "Ready to Read," an early childhood education program. Mrs. Bush raised money for public libraries and established the Texas Book Festival. She focused on helping abused and neglected children through the establishment of "Rainbow Rooms" and the "Adopt-a-Caseworker" Program. She also helped raise Alzheimer's and breast cancer awareness.

In 1999, when then Governor George Bush announced that he would run for President, Mrs. Bush has said she joked to her husband that it was okay as long as she never had to give a speech. Fortunately, she wasn't true to her word. At the 2000 Republican National Convention, Mrs. Bush gave a speech that would put her in the national spotlight and give the country a glimpse at the elegant woman from Midland, Texas. Laura Bush would go on to become, not just First Lady, but a leader and role model for women and people all over the world.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Laura Bush Part One: First Lady with Class

First Lady Laura Bush

For eight years, we watched First Lady Laura Bush's every move. Whether she was at her husband, President George W. Bush's, side or involved in her own endeavors, we watched a woman with class, style, and grace become a role model for women all over the world. Here is a brief look at her time as First Lady of the United States.

It's no surprise that Laura Bush left Washington DC with one of the highest approval ratings of any first lady (82%). A champion of health and education issues, both here in the United States and abroad, it seemed as though Mrs. Bush was well received anywhere she went, by people from all walks of life. She has been praised for her humanitarian efforts, admired for her positive attitude, and credited with helping make President Bush into the leader he has been for the last eight years.

A former teacher, librarian and avid reader, Mrs. Bush began work on various education and child development initiatives almost as soon as her husband was elected President.She served as honorary ambassador for the United Nations Literacy Decade and has spoken at lengths about the importance of reading and literacy. Through her position with the U.N., she traveled to poor nations to witness and become an advocate for how literacy helps fight poverty. Together with the Library of Congress, she started the annual "National Book Festival" After September 11th, the First Lady spoke out to families to help them parent through the tragedy and composed open letters to students,

We need to reassure our children that they are safe in their homes and schools. We need to reassure them that many people love them and care for them, and that while there are some bad people in the world, there are many more good people.

Mrs. Bush didn't take her role as one of the most powerful women in the world lightly. She became an important advocate for many women's issues, especially health issues. Working with The Heart Truth campaign, she lead the federal government's effort to inform women that heart disease is not just a "man's disease."
She also became an advocate for breast cancer, working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and by helping Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas gain international support. Mrs. Bush's involvement with women's and health issues didn't stop at the border. She often traveled abroad, spreading HIV/AIDS awareness. In November 2001, she gave the weekly presidential radio address, taking the opportunity to speak up for the women of Afghanistan and in 2002, spoke directly to the people of Afghanistan on behalf of women's rights

White House Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer once said that Mrs. Bush is "more popular and welcome in many parts of the country than the president." But Mrs. Bush always stood behind her family, including her twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, and her husband. In 2006, in an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace, Mrs. Bush disagreed that people were losing confidence in her husband,

Well, I don't think they are. And I don't really believe those polls. I travel around the country, I see people, I see their response to my husband, I see their response to me. There are a lot of difficult challenges right now in the United States... All of those decisions that the President has to make surrounding each one of these very difficult challenges are hard. They're hard decisions to make. And of course some people are unhappy about what some of those decisions are. But I think people know that he is doing what he thinks is right for the United States, that he's doing what he — especially in the war on terror what he thinks he is obligated to do for the people in the United States, and that is to protect them...

Mrs. Bush has also said that "history" will be the judge of her husband's legacy, but I think we can all agree that history will not be the judge of Laura Bush's legacy. Mrs. Bush's tenure as first lady will be and already has been proven more accomplished and has been carried out with more class than any previous First Lady in recent history.

Check back tomorrow as Women of the GOP takes a look back at Laura Bush before she became First Lady.